Budgets And Saving

Surviving on Food Stamps

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Can you survive on food stamps? Yes, you can.  There is so much negative media coverage on the fact that people can't surive on food stamps that the simple fact of food stamps being a supplement to your food supply and not your only source of food has become grossly distorted.  Here's how you can get by on your monthly food stamp allotment.


For a single person the maximum that you can currently receive in food stamps is 200.00 dollars a month due to the stimulus package that President Obama signed in the spring of 2009. This is for someone that has very little or no income.  Keep in mind that this amount for a single person household is sometimes more then a person who is working gets to spend on food with their own money.  Just like those who have less money for food you have to learn how to make your food stamps stretch and don't expect to be able to eat meat or other pricey items at every meal.


Always be on the lookout for sales at the grocery store. This is a great way to get fruits and vegetables. However, this means that you will not be able to impulse buy whatever you feel like at the time. If you feel like apples but oranges are cheaper you are going to have to settle for the oranges. Also keep your eyes out for sales on meat.

Get a club card at the store you shop at, like Safeway or Albertsons for example. This way you won't have to cut out and carry around any coupons and you will still be able to take advantage of the sales prices.


Getting meat on clearance will save you quite a bit of money. But, again you can't impulse buy or be picky. The clearance meat is usually located in the meat department or in the cooler with the deli items. The product is still good they are just getting too close to the sell by date and the store needs to get rid of them. If you decide to purchase these items you will either need to use them immediately or put them in your freezer.

Look for other items around the store that they are putting on clearance because the items are either discontinued or it are getting ready to expire. The clearance racks are usually located in the back of the store near the door to the back room. Also check the bakery, they sometimes have clearance racks and you may be able to find yourself a treat for the week.


If you do find a perishable item on clearance or on sale, buy a number of these items and put them in your freezer for later. There are certain items that freeze really well such as; milk, butter, meat and bakery items. By buying and freezing these items, you may have used more food stamps at the beginning, but you will spend less later as you will already have the items you need waiting for you in your freezer.


Some grocery stores offer bulk packaging or bins of certain foods. They are usually foods that will store well for a good period of time and they are usually cheaper per serving in bulk. You can usually get items such as noodles, beans and rice in bulk. If you get creative with how you serve these items you will save a lot of money and not get bored. For example, if you were to buy bulk spaghetti noodles, you could use a different sauce for each time you prepared it. One night could be a marinara sauce and the next night you could cook it with just butter and garlic. You will pay less per serving by doing it this way as compared to have completely different meals each night.


If you have a discount grocery store such as Rainbow Outlet or a dollar store of some type where you live, shop there. They of course will not have everything that you need but, they can save you money on the items that they do have. Just be sure to watch the expiration dates on the items that you buy in these stores. No matter how cheap they are, if the product is bad and expired you just wasted your money as you won't be able to eat the product now.


When on food stamps never ever throw food away, unless of course it is not edible. You will need to learn that every bit of food makes a difference now and that waste is no longer an option. The leftovers that you have from dinner tonight are now tomorrow's lunch. If you get bored with the leftovers, learn how to alter them a bit. For example last nights left over sloppy joes can be cooked with some macaroni and cheese tonight and now you have a completely different meal and you have used up your leftovers.

While you are not meant to survive on food stamps alone it can be done. You will have to learn that you can no longer impulse shop anymore and that you will have to learn how to get as much as you can for as little as possible. No one is saying that it will be easy, but it is something that you can learn how to do.

More about this author: Michele Wilmonen

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