Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that low-income people with diabetes were more likely to seek medical help at the end of the month because food budgets were tighter and they couldn’t afford food that kept their blood sugar levels balanced. The study, published in Health Affairs, showed that low-income recipients far more often sought medical help at the end of the month than any other time. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that diabetes is extremely common in the United States, with 28.5 million sufferers, or 8.3% percent (18.8 million diagnosed, 7.0 million undiagnosed).
Grocery stores have specials all the time, but they never seem to have the specials you need and when you need them. But that’s okay, because if you’re smart about it, you can make the specials last for you and for a lot longer.
Next time you load up on food, use the leftovers to keep making meals for the rest of the week. Anything else you don’t use, toss it in a freezer—either raw or prepared—and save it for when prices go up next week.
Generalizing, food stamps recipients tend to work more hours than their higher-income counterparts, and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for food preparation. Meals like stews, casseroles and salads can either be prepared quickly, or put in a pressure cooker and left to cook while you’re at work.
Time saving also applies to the shopping trip, and one handy tip is to plan out everything you’re going to buy ahead of time. Take your list to the grocery store with the amount of money just for that, and you’re much more likely to both spend less time and money there. Sometimes, all the sales you need won’t be at one grocery store, so try and pick a block of land that contains the stores in closer proximity to each other.
And for a rarely spoken of tip in getting organic or really fresh food, such as that from a farmer’s market, head there when they’re just about to close. Farmers markets are increasingly accepting EBT cards, and going there at the end of the market means you may get more reduced food because they’re trying to clear their inventory.
Coupons sometimes get a bad rap because they’re perceived as something only poor people do, but here’s a different way of looking at them: one characteristic of rich people is they don’t spend money unnecessarily, and couponing is a way to do that.
But if you’re not comfortable with couponing, then you can still save a lot of money by going to ethnic food stores. Far more often than not, they have food staples, like grains and rice, available for much less than brand name stores.