How to Shop On a Budget with an EBT Food Stamps Card

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Grocery shopping is challenging in many ways -- from the long lines at the checkout to seemingly aisle after aisle of screaming kids. However, for many Americans,it's most challenging when it's done on an ultra tight budget, funded by an EBT food stamps card.

Things You'll Need

  • EBT food stamps card
  • calculator

Take a close look at your finances and work out how much you can spend on food for your family each day. The easiest way to do this is to use a calculator. Divide the amount of food stamps that are transferred to you weekly by seven. This will give you the daily amount you have to work with.

Before you head to the grocery store, draw up a menu for the week ahead. Try to include as many homemade meals as possible as these can be cheaper to create.

Lean toward buying non-meat options, such as macaroni and cheese or spinach canneloni, which can help you avoid spending large amount of money on meats.

Whole foods are good for your health and your food stamps, too. Beans and lentils, for example, can be incredibly inexpensive, filling and packed with vitamins.

Doing this as part of a family discussion might take some time in the short term, but it will avoid arguments in the long term.

Draw up a shopping list based on the menu you have created above.

To help you determine your budget, mark any items that cannot be paid for by your EBT food stamps card. This includes items like alcohol, cigarettes, medicine, pet food, soaps, make up, laundry detergent, paper products and any other general household stuff.

If there are items in the non-EBT which you can't afford, remember to look into homemade solutions. When it comes to cleaning products, for example, items like lemons, vinegar and baking soda have been used for years to clean around the house. Lemons are excellent for shining a tap while vinegar is a natural grease cutter. And baking soda can be used in nearly every area of a house.

Using your calculator, add up your total for your EBT card items, like fruits, vegetables, meats, pastas, deli items and snacks. Basically, anything you can cook with. Most importantly, these cannot be hot foods. As tempting as it is to indulge in a pre-made hot meal from the supermarket, it isn't good for your budget and will have to be paid by cash.

Check to see if you have any coupons relating to your list to avoid any impulse shopping based on thinking you'll save. Chances are you have coupons for foods and items you'd never even think about using, so doing it this way can avoid waste and overspending.

When you get into the grocery store, stick to your list. You will probably see lots of "offers," but think twice before spending money to save money with any deal. If the item was that essential, it would be on your list already.

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