When you’re buying food with an EBT card, you need to make the most of it. There are several ways you can keep your grocery bills down, and still feed your family well.
I’m going to highlight a few ways to save money on your groceries here, but if you want more detailed information, check out my other Budget Living 101 articles.
One big way to stretch your EBT dollars is to avoid instant and microwave meals. Many of them are high cost, low nutrition, and have small serving sizes. When you cook meals, cook extra and freeze the leftovers so you have your own microwavable meals. This allows you to save money, control portion size, and ensure nutritious meals.
Buy in bulk to save even more. Buying large packages of meat and family size packages of other food can save a lot of money. Check the tags on your grocer’s shelves and look at the per-unit price. Most often, bulk packages will be cheaper than smaller portions. Take your bulk purchases home and use storage containers or zipper bags to freeze off more manageable portions.
Look for sales. Keep an eye on store advertisement papers or in-store signs to see if products you normally buy are on sale. Stock up while prices are low if it’s dry goods or something that can be frozen. And don’t be afraid to use coupons. If there are no good ones in the weekly paper, or you can’t afford the newspaper, there are many sites online that will allow you to print manufacturer coupons for free. I have even gotten coupons for free food from some companies.
Make a grocery list before you shop. Having a list will keep you from buying impulse items that you don’t really need. When people walk into a store without a list, they very often end up buying things they don’t need, or buying things that cost too much. Always know what you need before you enter your supermarket.
Don’t forget that you can buy vegetable seeds and plants with your EBT card! Most people aren’t aware of this, but several years ago, in an attempt to help people on Food Stamps eat better, the government made seeds and plants available for purchase with EBT. You can buy seeds and young plants to start your own garden. This can be especially good for herbs and tomatoes, which can be very expensive in stores. Many herb and vegetable seeds are $1.00 or less at your local Wal*Mart, and produce quite a bit. Even if you can’t plant a garden, many herbs and veggies can be grown in pots on your porch or by a sunny window.