Food stamps are intended for those that have low incomes to help them purchase food. How do they survive on food stamps when no matter how large the family and how small the allotment? The intention of the food stamp program isn’t to purchase all of the food for a family but to supplement the amount already being spent on food to ensure that everyone that qualifies has the option for healthy foods. Surviving on food stamps is not an easy task especially if you have seen the cost of food lately. It is easy to spend $100 during a trip to the grocery store and barely survive the week.
According to Houston County Alabama’s Department of Human resources those that meet financial and other requirements can receive anywhere from a maximum of $176 monthly for one person and up to $1,058 monthly for a family of eight. For a family of eight the maximum food stamp allotment allows for $132.25 per person each month. That’s not a lot of money when you think about it. So how do you survive on food stamps? While there is no tax placed on items that qualify for food stamp purchases it still requires skill to survive on them.
Surviving on food stamps especially when you are forced to use them as your only means of purchasing food can be rather tricky, time and effort are required to ensure you get the most out of your food stamp purchases. There are some things that cannot be purchased with food stamps such as prepared food intended to be eaten at the facility, items required to store purchased foods, minerals and pet food. While you can’t purchase canning jars you can purchase pectin to can foods and seeds that you can plant at home.
Purchasing a few packs of seeds to plant at home during your trips to purchase groceries is a good way to make food stamps stretch. Depending on the size of the seed pack and where they are purchased there is the possibility of getting a few small seed packets for as little as a dollar. With careful attention to your garden, no matter how small you will be pleasantly surprised at the results. One seed packet when carefully tended can produce enough to feed a small family for sometime when portions are kept in mind. Another thing that few people actually realize is that you can utilize manufactures coupons with food stamps and that dollar stores are now taking both manufactures coupons and food stamps. This fact expands the options available for grocery shopping to those with food stamps.
Watching the prices will go a long way when it comes to surviving on food stamps. Fresh vegetables will go farther for large families and any extra can be frozen to eat later. Meats normally go on sale on a rotating basis; purchasing the most quantities of a particular meat when it’s on sale will help to stock the freezer of more than one type of meat. Checking the price per pound on the meat and figuring how many meals you can produce from it will help to make the determination of which meat purchase is the proper one for you and your family.
Remember that you can use coupons with food stamps. Planning your coupons so that they don’t expire and they’re combined with the sales will stretch them further.
Ingredients used in baking can be purchased with food stamps as well. Purchasing these items and actually learning to cook from them will help to stretch out the food stamp allotment as well. When you compare the cost of purchasing pre-packaged biscuits, cakes or pies to the cost of making your own with ingredients that are in the home and can be used to make other items as well you will find that the cost is a bit lower in the end. The ingredients to bake these items also last longer than the pre-packaged items that are purchased.
If you have dietary restrictions you have to be extra careful with your food stamps since some of these items can cost a great deal more than regular items. Changing your eating habits to exclude foods that you aren’t allowed will give you room to purchase the items that you can. Reducing the amount of snack foods that you buy and replacing them with fruit or raw vegetables will make you feel better and you’ll be less likely to eat just because you’re bored.
Portion sizes can drastically effect how long your food stamps last. Cutting down on portion sizes will go a long way to making food last longer. Sadly you may just find that you have to ration food out in order to make it last through the entire month. Serving corn bread, rice or potatoes with meals can make them go further. You can leave the meat off of a meal or two to save. Meat takes up the majority of most people’s budgets and reducing the amount you eat at one time can make it last a lot longer.
Even with the smallest of food stamp allotments surviving on them is possible with careful planning and patience. Purchasing seeds to grow your own food, learning to bake from scratch and taking advantage of sales and coupons in addition to purchasing generics can help to stretch the allotment ensuring there is food in the home even after food stamp qualifications are no longer met.