10 Surprising Things You Can Buy With Food Stamps
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.
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"
Amazon has a program called Amazon direct shipping. Amazon direct shipping is a way you can receive free goodies at your doorstep
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.
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.
Amazon adds to a list of states where SNAP benefits may be used online
So do some research on what restaurants/food chains are participating in this program in your local area.
02. Seeds and Plants
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.
The idea behind this is that you should learn to grow your own food.
You can get seeds and plants at local retailers accepting food stamps, including farmer's markets.
03. Live Lobsters
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.
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 mentioned before. Or else you will run out of your food stamp benefits while spending it all for just a single meal.
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.
05. Energy Drinks
Yes, you can buy energy drinks, 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.
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.
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?
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.
07. Hunting and Fishing Gear
Another surprising thing you can buy with food stamps is hunting and fishing gear.
But that does not mean everyone can do it.
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.
In short, you can't buy coffee or tea that is readily available to drink.
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.
09. Birthday Cakes
Do you have your kid's birthday coming up? Don't worry. Your food stamp can cover the birthday cake!
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.
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!
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!