A few years ago it was nearly impossible to use SNAP benefits at stores such as Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and other dollar store chains. In the past few years, as the number of recipients has increased, so have the number of stores allowing SNAP. This has made it easier on families who are trying to make ends meet and stretch their benefit dollars as far as they can. Before you begin using the local dollar store as a resource, there are a few things you should know.
If you plan on shopping at a dollar store, remember the selection will be limited. You may be able to purchase staples such as sugar, juice, flour, rice, and cereal. Meats and other items may or may not be available at the location.
Dollar stores tend to carry smaller sizes of certain items. For example, cereal will only be available in standard box or bag sizes. Larger and bulk sizes will not be available in most dollar stores. If you choose a Dollar Tree store, you will notice single serving and smaller serve items are the primary option. This means you will have to buy more of an item to feed a family of 3 or more. If you are single and on SNAP or if you are elderly and on SNAP benefits, this may be the perfect option for you.
The truth is the dollar store prices are appealing. However, you may not be saving as much money as you think. In fact, for larger families you will be paying more money for the food items instead of less. Before you plan a shopping trip, check out the local prices on the items you want. Also, note the sizes of the food items. Take, for example, a box of cereal. A standard box of cereal at Wal-Mart, Publix, or other major chains usually is slightly larger than a box at the dollar stores. You will see a higher price, but you are also getting more food.
Dollar stores are extremely helpful to those individuals on limited SNAP benefits or who are single. If you have a larger family, there are some items that are cheaper and some that are much more expensive. Remember to do your comparison shopping and research before your shopping trip in order to stretch every benefit.