10 Surprising things you can buy with EBT|Food stamps 2024

By Published On: February 1, 2024

Did you know that you can use food stamps to buy things other than groceries?

Food Stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is America’s most well-known anti-hunger action plan. As of 2021, it has provided food security to over 40 million people. Check below surprising things you can buy with ebt.

Where Can I Use My EBT card online?

So, in this article, we will be talking about 10 Surprising Things You Can Buy with Food Stamps. If you want a list of items that you can buy with EBT on Amazon please read “Crazy things you can buy with EBT on amazon

More freebie – Amazon has a program called Amazon direct shipping. Amazon direct shipping is a way you can receive free goodies at your doorstep

Surprising things you can buy with EBT

01. Restaurant Meals

This does not mean that you can dine in at a restaurant you like with a food stamp. What about fast food outlets, then? Well, you can only buy from fast food chain outlets like McDonald’s, Subway, and Taco Bell and not from wherever you like.

Another thing to remember is that it does not apply to all food outlets or all people.

You should be eligible for the Restaurant Meals Program, which was created to help homeless, elderly, and disabled people who are unable to make their own food at home.

Although this is a part of the Food Stamp Act, not all states participate in this program. And in states that participate, a choice is given for each county whether to join it or not.

surprising things you can buy with food stamps

Restaurents accepts EBT

So do some research on what restaurants/food chains are participating in this program in your local area.

States that Operate a Restaurant Meals Program

Arizona / California / Illinois/ Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / New York / Rhode Island / Virginia

You can buy Restaurent meals with EBT in california

02. Seeds and Plants – Grow your own foods using EBT benifits

Now if you are going to buy seeds and plants with a food stamp, they should be vegetable seeds and food-producing plants such as tomatoes and green pepper. Other plants include cooking spices such as mint, spearmint, cilantro, basil, oregano, and sage.

But you should remember that some species of sage do not meet the eligibility criteria because they are highly ornamental.

seeds you can buy with food stamps

Seeds you can buy with food stamps

Seeds and plants that you buy with a food stamp should only be used for consumption/ growing at home and not for selling purposes.

The idea behind this is that you should learn to grow your own food with SNAP.

You can get seeds and plants at local retailers accepting food stamps, including farmer’s markets.

03. Live Lobsters – Another Crazy things you can buy with EBT

Another surprising things you can buy with EBT!!!

Yes, you heard it right! Live Lobsters. You can also buy shellfish and crabs with your food stamp card. These are the only types of live animals that you can get with a food stamp. It is entirely legal.

crazy things you can buy with ebt - live lobster

Live Lobster

However, you should be careful about buying live lobsters because they are very expensive! We are not telling you to avoid lobsters entirely. If you have a craving, well, I say go it for about once a month.

But don’t get into the habit of buying live lobsters or other seafood types. Or else you will run out of your food stamp benefits while spending it all for just a single meal.

Top Seafood Places That Accept EBT Near Me & Food Stamps

  • Boston Public Market, Location: Boston, Massachusetts, Website
  • Saltwater Seafood Market and Fry Shack, Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, Website
  • Portland Fish Market, Location: Portland, Oregon, Website
  • John Yi Fish Market, Location: Inside the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Website

Surprising things you can buy with EBT

04. Snacks

I am pretty sure that you know that you can buy groceries and other household items like bread, eggs, cereal, milk, vegetables, fruits, and meat with food stamps.

But another one of the surprising things you can buy with food stamps is snacks! It includes all kinds of snacks like cakes, brownies, doughnuts, muffins, potato chips, crisps, popcorn, candy, chocolate, churros, marshmallows, and even ice cream.

You might be wondering why unhealthy choices like snacks have been included in the food stamp. It is because sometimes snacks can uplift your mood, especially on a bad day.

So, treating yourself once in a while with a nice chocolate bar or an ice cream tub is all possible with a food stamp.


Launch Baltimore’s Farmers Market by Lance Cheung

Surprising things you can buy with EBT

Can you buy energy drinks with food stamps?

05. Energy Drinks – Can you buy red bull with food stamps?

Yes, you can buy energy drinks and Red Bull, too, with food stamps. Quite surprising right?

But it all depends on the brand of the energy drinks. In simpler terms, there are two types of energy drinks – food-type energy drinks and supplement-type energy drinks.

can you buy energy drinks with ebt

You can use your EBT card to buy energy drinks

The food-type energy drinks have nutritional facts label on them. Some examples are Red Bull, Monster, and Mountain Dew Brands. They can be bought with a food stamp card. The supplement-type energy drinks have supplement facts labels on them. Some example is 5-Hour Energy Shots, Celsius Sparkling, and Pureboost Clean Energy Drink.

You have to look at the container. If the labeling includes “nutritional information” (NOT “supplement” info) it is allowed.

Energy Drinks – SNAP EBT Eligible – Amazon.com

Supplements and vitamins do not go under food items, which is why you can’t buy them with a food stamp.

06. Gift Baskets

Are you worried about not being able to get a gift for your kid for their birthday?

EBT Eligible Gift

EBT Eligible Gift

Well, the good news is that you can also buy gift baskets from your food stamp! The only condition is that at least 50% of the gift basket price should be edible. Still did not get the idea?

Let me explain that to you with an example. You can buy a gift basket with a nice teddy bear and a candy box. But the price of the candy box should be higher than that of the teddy bear.

So, it means that you can buy a big candy box and a small teddy bear gift basket and not vice versa.

Another example is for valentine’s day. You can buy a basket of heart-shaped chocolates for your significant other, but you cannot buy a basket full of flowers with a food stamp.

For Christmas, too, you can buy large tins of popcorn with a food stamp.

Crazy things you can buy with EBT

07. Hunting and Fishing Gear – You can use your SNAP benifits to purchase hunting and fishing gear.

Another surprising things you can buy with food stamps is hunting and fishing gear.

But that does not mean everyone can do it.

fishing in Alaska

You are only eligible for this if you live in a rural area and hunt and fish for food all year round.

That being said, not all rural areas qualify for this. For example, it primarily applies to people living in Alaska. This is because people in Alaska do not always have access to grocery shops where they can buy other food items.

Some states also give access to hunting and fishing gear because it is believed that they can make it to most of their budgets. By hunting or fishing gear, it does not mean they can buy guns and other stuff. Only basic things like nets, rods, harpoons, lines, and knives can be purchased with a food stamp.

Sometimes you can also get a hunting or a fishing permit based on your food stamp.

08. Coffee and Tea

You can also buy coffee and tea with your food stamp.

But this does not mean that you can go to Starbucks and grab your favorite hot Caramel Macchiato because most corporate-owned companies do not accept food stamps.

In short, you can’t buy coffee or tea that is readily available to drink. List of EBT-Eligible Tea & Coffee

It should be packaged coffee beans or grounds that you can use to make your own coffee at home, including those in Keurig-style K-cups. The same rule applies to tea. It should be packaged and unbrewed. However, there is an exception that most people don’t know about; It does not apply to cold coffees.

So, for all those cold coffee lovers, this is good news. That means you can buy a complex, ready-to-drink Iced Latte (not a hot one) from a store that accepts food stamps.

surprising things you can buy with ebt at walmart

EBT WALMART by Mike Mozart(CC BY 2.0) – SNAP EBT Card Food Assistance Walmart

More surprising things you can buy with Food stamps…

09. Birthday Cakes

Do you have your kid’s birthday coming up? Don’t worry. Your food stamp can cover the birthday cake!

However, you should remember that you cannot buy every kind of cake that you see in the local store.

All SNAP EBT eligible birthday cakes availablle on Amazon

Best seller SNAP EBT eligible birthday cakes availablle on Amazon


best selling ebt snap cake amazon

Best selling EBT SNAP cake in Amazon

At least 50% of the birthday cake’s price should be edible compared to its decorations. So, if the birthday cake that you have your eyes on has just one cake topper and only edible flowers, then you can buy that.

Fancy wedding cakes, however, are a big no because the decorations will cost more than the actual cake that is underneath them.

So, what I am trying to say is that as long as you keep the birthday cake simple, you can buy it with a food stamp.

10. Produce from a Farmer’s Market

You can always go to the farmer’s market to buy fresh produce with your food stamp. It includes fruits and vegetables, bread, grains, handmade pasta, cheese, meat, poultry, dairy products, and fresh greens. You can also buy jam, honey, and maple syrup with your food stamp.

things you can buy with ebt

Produce from a farmer’s market

However, you cannot buy hot liquid food like soups and alcoholic beverages like beer or wine with a food stamp.

Pet food, soaps, fresh flowers, and medicines are also a big no because they don’t fall under produce/food items.

Some farmer’s markets have something called the Match Incentive Program. This means the market will match every dollar you spend with a food stamp up to a maximum amount of $10. This means that you can take goods that are worth about $20 for only $10 of your food stamp benefits.

But you should remember that not all farmer’s markets participate in this program. Make sure to do some research and ask around to see if your local area farmer’s market is a part of it.

If so, you are in for a luck!

crazy things you can buy with ebt

What Can You Buy With An EBT Card In California

Surprising things you can buy with food stamps california

Retailers in California Accepting SNAP Payments Online : Read more

Surprising things you can buy with ebt at walmart

SNAP & EBT cash accepted online – Read more

So, these are the ten surprising things you can buy with food stamps. We hope this article helped you understand what to buy and what not to buy with your food stamp too!

If you are living frugal life and looking for a cash back often, Target Cash back is one of the easiest way to do that.

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Written by : Racheal Meullenix

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