Food stamps come with a very short user manual. Basically, you're not really told until check out if something is going to pass the food check, although you can look things up online and check out the limited food list on USDA.gov. However, there are just some things that don't make it onto the food stamp allowance list. There's also an issue that affects the way you use coupons. So how do you maximize your benefits without getting checked by the cashier or coupon nuances? Here's some tips when you're checking out with food stamps.
In some cases, you'll end up using more of your food stamp money if you don't apply coupons correctly. This is because of the way that items are rung into the cashier system and the way that coupons take off different amounts. First, once everything is rung in and you're given a total, hand over all of your food-based coupons. Then, use your EBT card to pay. When the leftover amount shows, hand over non-food coupons and pay your final balance. Why does this happen? The coupons at some stores are actually only taken off non-food items, even if you have coupons for food items.
Separate Ring Ups
If that way is too messy, you can always separate your food and non-food items in order to use coupons and save money, but you end up paying more in taxes with two separate transactions. There are some stores that are accommodating to this process, but it's a shame that many stores are not in the know about how this process works and making a friendlier system to food stamps users.
Timing Your Coupon Use
Big coupon sales come out on Sundays for manufacturers, but local grocery stores will have daily and weekly sales that you can pick up usually on Monday or Sunday. You can also shop for what is on sale and pair store sales with the coupons that you have. For example, if toilet paper is on sale this week at a store for $2.99 and you have a $2 coupon, you're only going to pay .99 cents. You also want to find sales for frozen items as these will last longer.
Join Coupon Sites
You can get a lot of coupons online now, and there will be constant notifications in your email box to let you know about the newest sales. This is a good way to make meals for the week and save money by doing so. You can also print the coupons from your computer and use in the store. If you do have a favorite grocery store, you can look online for their website to see what the weekly deals are ahead of time to prepare a shopping list.