- Personal Finance
How To Eat Well On Food Stamps
Tips and Tricks to Eat Well on Food Stamps
I was reading an article today that identified over 47 million Americans who are dependent on the Food Stamps Program. With so many American families using the meager amount of Food Stamps to feed their families, I believe that many could use some tips to live on smaller amounts of grocery monies.
1. This is the most important, learn to cook! Without cooking your money will not go very far. Nutritious home cooked food will be so much better for your family, as well as a whole lot cheaper. Basic recipes like bread, biscuits, pasta, casseroles, pancakes, cakes and many other basic recipes should be learned. Cooking really is not so complicated, start small and go from there. Don’t try a new French recipe if you have never cooked before, find a recipe you and your family will enjoy.
2. Don’t buy your meat from Wal-Mart. I say this for many reasons, mainly quality and cost. Also, Wal-Mart does not really discount meat very much and when it does, it is usually way beyond optimal consumption. Try your smaller grocery stores for your meat, not only are their prices better (sales) but early in the morning you can catch Manager Specials with high markdowns. Don’t fear the impending spoil date, when you get home freeze it and it stops the process of deterioration. Take the meat out the day before and set in the fridge and cook it when you get home.
3. Pick your meat wisely. Many people feel that hotdogs are a good type of meat, however you can easily get many cuts of meat for the same price, around a dollar a pound. Split cut chicken breast, as well as thighs and legs are easily on sale all the time for about a dollar a pound. To save more on chicken, buy 5 pounds or more at a time for a better price, then go home and freeze in your family size meals. Cheap cuts of pork and beef can also be used by cooking for a couple hours in a crock pot making delicious soups and stews for your whole family to love.
4. Learn to grow food. A lot of people may not realize this, but you can buy seeds with Food Stamps. Considering how easy things like spinach, peppers and tomatoes are to grow, even in a five gallon bucket, there really is no reason to spend a large portion of your grocery money on these types of products in the Spring, Summer and even Fall. For the colder winter months, consider buying frozen instead of the high dollar fresh that is shipped in from hundreds of miles away and will not have as much nutrients as frozen will. Also consider a small indoor green house that you can container grow spinach and other smaller plant life that is edible and healthy.
5. Don’t cook more than you need and if you do, freeze it. To many times we hastily throw left-overs in the fridge, where in days we will have to throw it away. Say you make a big pot of soup or stew, best thing to do is throw it in a freezer bag for later. It will stay viable for over a month and it is ready to be taken out when time is short for a healthy meal on the run. Paired with a salad or some bread, you have a very cheap meal that takes little to no time to make. Very few people want to eat the same thing day after day or even several days later, so freeze it and don’t waste it.
6. Never buy premade frozen meals! They are expensive crap to be honest and almost every dish can be made cheaper. In thirty minutes time you can cook most things, so having no time is really not an excuse. Take a moment and look at what is actually in your frozen meal and you may just change your mind.
7. Rethink your Drink. I read a study conducted in America concluded that more than 30 percent of a person’s grocery bill is set aside for drinks, namely soda. Sure it is good, but it is highly expensive and really no nutritional value. So learn to love tea, coffee or better yet water. A generic box of tea can be had for a dollar and can make over 16 gallons of drink. Sugar or substitute sweetener paired with can give you 16 gallons of tea for less than five dollars, quite a bit cheaper than any kind of pop. Not to mention, tea is full of nutrients and antioxidants that your family needs.
8. Learn your local prices, so when you see “deals” in your local paper, you will know if it really is a deal. Below are a few ideas and products that can stretch your grocery money even further.
Rice- Pretty amazing food and for the price, very few will actually beat it. Tip: It cost a little over a dollar a pound, however you can get 20 pounds for half that price, sometimes things really do cost less in bulk.
Beans-Most beans will cost you a little over a dollar a pound (dried) and they are full of vitamins, minerals and protein.
Oatmeal-Another grain that is fairly cheap and with so many uses, you really can’t go wrong. Not only can it spread your meat further, it also is a slower carbohydrate that can keep you fuller longer.
Cereal- Cereal may get a bad rap sometimes, however it is fairly cheap (generic) however it is chocked full of nutrition. Yes some varieties have a bit more sugar than necessary, however they really are a super food.
Canned and Dehydrated Fruit- Don’t waste your money, that simple. As far as nutritional value, there is very little, you really are better off drinking some Tang. Applesauce is cheap enough to justify the dietary fiber in it, however most of the other types, really aren’t worth it.
So what do you do to save money on groceries? I always like to find new tips and tricks!