Guide to using Food Stamps

Food stamps are great for those with low-incomes that find they are having difficulty purchasing food. All that has to be done is to apply and meet the required guidelines. Once the application is approved you will receive an EBT card and a pin number through the mail that can be used to purchase food, use of the card is rather simple.

The EBT card can be used to purchase either all or most of the food you and your family consume in a month. Each month the amount of food stamps you have been allotted will be placed on your card, any amount remaining at the end of the month will go forward to the next month. When you’re in need of food stamps you’re in need of making your allotment stretch as far as it can in most cases because you’re trying to ensure that you don’t have to tell your children they can’t eat even one day out of the month.

Food stamps are used to purchase cold deli type foods that are intended to be taken home and eaten, ingredients for baking, condiments, meats, vegetables and pectin used in canning. They can also be used to purchase seeds that are taken home to plant. Food stamps can’t be used to purchase fast food, hot foods intended to be eaten on sight, alcohol, tobacco or other non-food items.

Food stamps can not be redeemed for cash and should not be sold as this is a criminal offense. They aren’t to be traded for alcohol or drugs; conviction of these actions can result in permanent termination from the program. Food stamps should be used with integrity and respect for the laws governing them. Prior to going to the grocery store you should know the balance on your EBT card; this can be checked online or by calling the 1-800 number provided to you.

Once your food stamp balance has been obtained you can begin to plan your shopping trip around the balance by making a list of the foods your family normally consumes and the items you will require to make their meals. Check for coupons on items that you normally purchase and try to match these with sales to stretch your allotment. Purchasing the largest size your family requires of an item can save you money if you normally go through four or five of them a month. Checking the store and generic brand prices can make food stamps go even further.

Shop with care when using food stamps; you can purchase fresh vegetables and fruits for your family along with the items required for baking. Remember you don’t have to spend your entire allotment in one trip but can return to the store at a later date to prevent having a large amount of perishables in your refrigerator that might go to waste prior to your family using them.

When you get ready to check out be sure to tell the cashier that it’s going to be an EBT purchase to ensure that they remove the tax from your purchase in case the registers don’t perform this function automatically. Always do the food stamp portion of your transaction first since tax is removed and you’ll have to pay for other items out of your own pocket. Any errors should be pointed out to the cashier as they are ringing up your purchase in order to allow them to fix them immediately. When your receipt is printed out you will be able not only to see how much you have spent during the trip but your EBT balance will also print so that you’re aware of how much is left for the remainder of the month.

Remember to only purchase qualifying items with food stamps and keep track of your balance to ensure they last as long as you need them to.