Couponing rules are changing daily. Shows like Extreme Couponing show ways that you can save money, maximize coupons, and get great deals. Unfortunately, the deals they find are not great if you are trying to feed a family for a month or even a week. They also are deals that are causing stores to change their policies. Policies such as double coupons, triple coupons, and coupon stacking are going to the wayside. So, how do you still use couponining with your SNAP benefits and help make ends meet?
Shop What You Know
Extreme couponers will tell you to shop the sales and shop different stores to get the best deals. The truth is you may not be in a position to do that. You may have little to no reliable transportation or you may have to work out rides with other family members. In this case it is best to shop what you know. Pick a store that you can shop every time. Find out their coupon policies and get a print out for your records. The deals with coupons at the same store are still deals. They still cut down the costs of your grocery bill, even when that bill is paid for with your EBT card. By shopping what you know, you will know the policies, sales, prices, and best time to buy fresh foods.
Figure the Cash
Couponing with SNAP is a bit different than couponing while using cash. You can still use the coupon and you can still get a good deal. However, most stores will charge you the taxes due on the product. If you buy a box of minute rice, and use a coupon, you will pay the taxes on that coupon even if you use SNAP. You will need to know the state and local food taxes in order to prepare yourself properly for the cash balance due. You will pay the taxes on any coupon you use and only on the coupons. If you use five coupons and purchase 100 items, your SNAP benefits will cover all 100 items, but you will pay out of pocket for the taxes on the 5 items that utilized coupons.
Stocking Up with Coupons as a Goal
The major benefit of couponing with SNAP is the ability to get off SNAP. With proper planning you can stock up on food, create a 3 to 5 year stockpile of food for you and your family, You can use your SNAP benefits, coupons, area sales, and storage in your home to meet the goal and leave SNAP for good. There are hundreds of ways to do this. You can create a food budget, menu plans, shop BOGO sales, and use coupons to get free products and items. Put the extra in the freezer, can it, dehydrate it, or store it in the pantry. Coupons can give you BOGO options, help you buy more of an item with your benefits, and help you buy the items you need to preserve food.
Couponing with SNAP may seem impossible, and if you watch couponing shows, it may be. If your goals are to stock up on dozens of one item instead of stocking up on the food you need for the month and in the future, then you need to rethink your goals. Couponing can be beneficial, help with short and long term needs, and may be the very thing that helps you provide for your family while moving off of the SNAP program.