This is an oldie but a goodie…my better half – AKA – Julie Parrish – AKA – hotcouponmama, my fellow business partner and co-owner of HotCouponWorld was filmed on her local news station KATU in Portland OR, back in 2/2010. This clip was a really great clip that she did on how to stretch your grocery money when you are on government assistance.
According to the Wall Street Journal blog 1 in 7 people in the U.S. receive food stamps (SNAP) so I think this video is relevant. Also back in 2004 my own family was receiving food stamps. My husband was in a serious accident at work and both of his hands were crushed in a coal bed methane drill rig. Weeks prior we had just learned that were were expecting twins (children 4 &5) which was a unexpected surprise to us as well. Using coupons and smart shopping strategies helped us stretch our Food Stamp dollars, turning the $125-$150 a month we received into $400-$500 worth of food and built us a stockpile to get us through the rough patch where you no longer qualify for assistance yet your income is not quite where it needs to be to thrive on.
If you are on government assistance in the form of Food Stamps or WIC (Women, Infants & Children) you can use coupons to make those funds last longer. Here are some of my tips:
- Watch the sales flyers to see what is on sale at your local grocery stores. If possible visit multiple stores to take advantage of the best deals at each store or go to just one store that price matches other stores, such as Walmart.
- Find and use coupons on those items that are on sale to cut your costs even more.
- Pay attention to the cost per unit to make sure you are getting the best deal possible.
- Build a stockpile of grocery items your household uses frequently purchasing those items at the lowest price point possible by using coupons. Build your stockpile up slowly a few items at a time staying within your Food Stamp budget. Stockpile with the end goal of having a few month’s worth of commonly used grocery and household items in your home on hand to get you through the leaner time when you no longer qualify for Food Stamps and/or WIC yet your income is not quite enough to get you by….this is a reality situation since Food Stamps are meant to help you for a short time period there will come a time when you no longer qualify to receive them.
- Take advantage of Catalina coupon deals to to get high value coupons good on your next order. These coupons are good on almost anything and are a great way to save money on nutritious food that otherwise may not have coupons for such as meat and produce or to help buy non-food items that are still needed such as toilet paper and diapers.
- Many items such as toothpaste, razors, deodorant, toothbrushes, shampoo, hair spray, toilet paper and cleaning supplies are all items that experienced couponers can get for FREE or almost free. These items are not allowed to be purchased using Food Stamps or WIC but are still needed items by most households.
- Learn how to cooknutritious foods from scratch avoiding processed foods as much as possible (unless those items are free after coupon and you want a treat).
- Sign up for your store’s shopping card and any additional savings programs. For example some stores have a baby club, so if you have a baby and purchase baby items such as diapers, formula, baby food and diaper wipes you can earn points for those purchases, once a certain points level has been reached some store baby clubs issue a high value coupon good on anything in the store. Your Food Stamp and WIC baby purchases would qualify and earn you points.
- Take advantage of mail in rebates to further maximize your savings. For example if peanut butter is one of the items on your monthly WIC voucher or EBT card, look for any mail in rebates that may be out there for brands of peanut butter that are qualifying brands. Purchase your peanut butter with your WIC voucher or card, send off for your mail in rebate and when the rebate check comes in you can use that money for items that otherwise might not be covered yet needed for your household like laundry detergent or toilet paper.
- Grow your own fruits and vegetables Food Stamps can be used to purchase vegetable and fruit plant seeds so you can grow your own nutritious foods at home.
By using coupons, store discounts, mail in rebates, growing your own fruits and veggies, and learning to cook nutritious foods you can make those Food Stamps and WIC funds stretch even further. Hopefully this is just a set-back period in your life and things will turn around for the better soon. By being proactive in how you use the government assistance funds you have the ability make real changes in your household’s budget!