Secret Tricks to Maximize Your EBT-Foodstamp Benefits

It’s no surprise that families are spending their grocery money on bills, leaving little or nothing for food. As a result, more people are filing for food stamp benefits at astonishing rates. However when some people receive their foodstamp benefits, they don’t know how to use them or make them last. Well, I know how to make $300 last all month for a family of four.

How?

Easy;
1. Meal Planning
2. Coupons
3. Sales Papers
4. Stocking Up
5. Co-Oping
6. Invest in a deep freezer

Meal Planning
When you sit down and plan your meals for the month you know what you’re going to have everyday and can shop accordingly. As you plan your meals, be sure to try new things, keep your menus fresh and for Goodness sake, don’t try to cook everyday. Write out your grocery list for each week and STICK TO IT! Instead of buying cupcakes, salty and sugary snacks, buy whatever fresh fruit is on sale. Don’t try to buy your food for the whole month; it’ll be eaten faster and some of it might spoil. Get you some recipe books, surf the web for new, easy recipes and try more fresh veggies. You don’t HAVE to have meat everyday. If you plan your meals right, you should have leftovers that you can serve the next day or even put in the freezer for another time. On the weekends we have “leftover buffet” which is everything we’ve had all week, warmed up and set out buffet style. It’s fun (sometimes) and we don’t waste food.

Coupons
Ok, my Mom calls me the coupon queen. I match up my coupons with the sales papers every single week. At first I was only saving like $5-$6 per shopping trip. Then I got so good at it that I left the grocery store with $300 worth of groceries for $160! I felt like I hit a lick! I then came to the realization that I AM THE SHIT at grocery shopping. This is what you do; go through the Sunday paper for the coupon section, go to websites and print off coupons, even look for in-store coupons. But the best, best, best thing is double and triple coupon offers. Check to see if your grocery store offers these because this is where you save the most. For example; a loaf of bread may be $1.99 regularly, but it’s on sale for $1.49. If you have a coupon for $.50 off and the grocery store offers double coupons, you’ll only end up paying $.49 for that loaf of bread! If the store offers triple coupons that bread will cost $.00! You’ll end up getting that bread free! Once you get the rhythm of it, it’ll be a piece of cake.

Sales Papers
Every week grocery stores send out new ads. All you have to do is see whats being offered for what price and match up your coupons for those items IF and only IF you need them. Just because a store offers 10 for 10 items doesn’t mean you have to buy 10. Not unless you’re…

Stocking Up
If the grocery store has an item for an unbelievable price and you’ll need it, by all means stock up. Stuff like the boxed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, etc. all have good shelf lives and can be used two to three months later. Sometimes some stores even have good sales on meat, but be careful. It may be on it’s way to spoiling.

Co-Oping
If your friend or neighbor has too much of something that you need and you have too much of something she needs, when y’all trade off this called co-oping. There’s nothing wrong with it. People do it all the time. For instance, I had 10 boxes of Caprisun and my sister had a few extra small bags of chips. We traded a box of Caprisun for 10 bags of chips. So neither of us had to spend extra money for what we needed. But you’ve gotta be careful though. Be sure to do even trades and, if you have to, write all trades down.

Invest in a deep freezer
My deep freezer is my best friend. I keep it loaded! It’s the best way to store food you’re not going to eat immediately AND it’s your own little restaurant. Whenever I have some freezable leftovers I put them in small ziploc bags and label them by what it is, the date, and how to warm it up. Banquet ain’t got nothin’ on me!

What is EBT?

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system in the United States that allows state governments to provide benefits to authorized recipients via a plastic debit card. Common benefits provided via EBT are typically sorted into two general categories: Food Stamp and Cash benefits. Food stamp benefits are federally authorized benefits that can be used only to purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages. Cash benefits include State General Assistance, TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) benefits and refugee benefits.

Through EBT, a recipient uses his/her EBT card to make purchases at participating retailers. Food Stamp benefits can be used only to purchase food items authorized by the USDA’s Food Stamp program. Cash benefits may be used to purchase any item at a participating retailer, as well as to obtain cash-back or make a cash withdrawal from a participating ATM.

State food stamp agencies work with contractors to procure their own EBT systems for delivery of food stamps and other state-administered benefit programs. In the United States, all food stamp benefits are now being issued via EBT.

For example, in the Food Stamp Program, food stamp recipients apply for their benefits in the usual way, by filling out a form at their local food stamp office. Once eligibility and level of benefits have been determined, information is transferred to the state’s EBT contractor and an account is established in the participant’s name, and food stamp benefits are deposited electronically in the account each month. A plastic debit card, similar to a bank card, is issued and a personal identification number (PIN) is assigned or chosen by the recipient to give access to the account. Recipients are offered the opportunity to change the PIN at any time, and are offered ongoing training if they have any problems accessing the system.

All states have systems that use magnetic stripe cards and “on-line” authorization of transactions. When paying for groceries, the food stamp customer’s card is run through an electronic reader or a point of sale terminal (POS), and the recipient enters the secret PIN to access the food stamp account. Then, electronically, the processor verifies the PIN and the account balance, and sends an authorization or denial back to the retailer. The recipient’s account is then debited for the amount of the purchase, and the retailer’s account is credited. No money and no Food Stamps change hands. Payment is made to the retailer through a settlement process at the end of the business day. Most states’ online EBT systems are interoperable through the Quest network, which is sponsored by the Electronic Benefits and Services Council (formerly the EBT Council) of NACHA-The Electronic Payments Association.

EBT food stamp accounts are often recharged at the beginning of each month; in New Hampshire it is the 5th of each month. In Arkansas, Oregon, Kentucky, and Texas EBT food stamp accounts are recharged at different times of the month for each recipient based on his/her case number or Social Security number.

It is illegal for anyone to charge sales tax, surcharges or card processing fees from an EBT Card Food Stamp Benefits account, according to Federal Law and USDA Food Stamp Program Guidelines USDA Retailer Training Guide PDF File.

The success of EBT enabled Congress to rename the Food Stamp Program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as of October 2008, and update all references in federal law from “stamp” or “coupon” to “card” or “EBT”. This was effectuated by H.R. 2419, The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (a.k.a. “2008 Farm Bill”) passed into law as Public Law No: 110-234, over President Bush’s veto.

Government Debt Relief Help – How to Find the Help You Need

Whether it’s simply being a part of a dying economy, or working for a company that’s recently downsized, or being the victim of an unscrupulous mortgage lender, more people are in dire need of financial help than ever before, and many don’t have any idea where to turn or what to do to get it. And, today with frequent talks of a recession, companies outsourcing and laying off employees, the average person can’t help but be concerned with their financial future.

If you are seriously in debt and are a legal resident of the U.S., government debt relief help may be the answer you’re looking for. Did you know there are countless programs in place to assist people with their financial hardships? Or, that there are food assistance programs and those designed to help defray the costs of utilities?

There are even low-interest loans through the government that are available to people who have been the victim of a natural disaster, or for those needing assistance with the cost of education or their housing. Also, if you’re a veteran, there are numerous programs to take advantage of as well as for those who are starting a business.

Low Income Home Energy (Heating and Cooling) Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is another form of government help available to those who meet certain criteria. Grant monies are allocated for this program for those who are unable to pay their heating bills, and with soaring gas prices, more and more people may need to take advantage of this particular program.

Food Assistance Programs

In addition to the Food Stamp Program, which has local offices that will be listed in the government section of your local phone book, that provides a certain amount of benefits per month depending upon factors such as the number of people in the household, income, and whether or not anyone is disabled or over the age of 60, there are still other food programs to consider.

The WIC program, for Women, Infants and Children, is headed by The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which is a federal agency, and provides food to women with low incomes who are pregnant, as well as those with infants and children up to the age of five years old. Another similar program for new and pregnant mothers with children up to the age of six as well as for people over 60 who meet the minimum income requirements is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which also has offices in every U.S. state.

Government Grants

Government debt relief in the form of grants are tax free, interest free and don’t need to be repaid like loans do, however, there are many specific requirements for the equally numerous number of grants available. Just a few of the groups that government grants cater to are single women, minorities, the disabled, those who are in serious debt, and the struggling, small business owner. All grants have a set application process that must be followed to the letter as well as deadlines in place, many of which occur during the first or early second quarter of the year. If you’re deeply in debt due to education costs and student loans, grants abound in the form of scholarships awarded by the government.

Credit history and matters such as bankruptcy or the need for collateral or co-signers don’t apply when it comes to government grant debt relief help, all that does matter is that you are able to demonstrate a legitimate need, are a taxpayer and a legal resident of the United States over 18.

Secret Tricks to Maximize Your EBT-Foodstamp Benefits

It’s no surprise that families are spending their grocery money on bills, leaving little or nothing for food. As a result, more people are filing for food stamp benefits at astonishing rates. However when some people receive their foodstamp benefits, they don’t know how to use them or make them last. Well, I know how to make $300 last all month for a family of four.

How?

Easy;
1. Meal Planning
2. Coupons
3. Sales Papers
4. Stocking Up
5. Co-Oping
6. Invest in a deep freezer

Meal Planning
When you sit down and plan your meals for the month you know what you’re going to have everyday and can shop accordingly. As you plan your meals, be sure to try new things, keep your menus fresh and for Goodness sake, don’t try to cook everyday. Write out your grocery list for each week and STICK TO IT! Instead of buying cupcakes, salty and sugary snacks, buy whatever fresh fruit is on sale. Don’t try to buy your food for the whole month; it’ll be eaten faster and some of it might spoil. Get you some recipe books, surf the web for new, easy recipes and try more fresh veggies. You don’t HAVE to have meat everyday. If you plan your meals right, you should have leftovers that you can serve the next day or even put in the freezer for another time. On the weekends we have “leftover buffet” which is everything we’ve had all week, warmed up and set out buffet style. It’s fun (sometimes) and we don’t waste food.

Coupons
Ok, my Mom calls me the coupon queen. I match up my coupons with the sales papers every single week. At first I was only saving like $5-$6 per shopping trip. Then I got so good at it that I left the grocery store with $300 worth of groceries for $160! I felt like I hit a lick! I then came to the realization that I AM THE SHIT at grocery shopping. This is what you do; go through the Sunday paper for the coupon section, go to websites and print off coupons, even look for in-store coupons. But the best, best, best thing is double and triple coupon offers. Check to see if your grocery store offers these because this is where you save the most. For example; a loaf of bread may be $1.99 regularly, but it’s on sale for $1.49. If you have a coupon for $.50 off and the grocery store offers double coupons, you’ll only end up paying $.49 for that loaf of bread! If the store offers triple coupons that bread will cost $.00! You’ll end up getting that bread free! Once you get the rhythm of it, it’ll be a piece of cake.

Sales Papers
Every week grocery stores send out new ads. All you have to do is see whats being offered for what price and match up your coupons for those items IF and only IF you need them. Just because a store offers 10 for 10 items doesn’t mean you have to buy 10. Not unless you’re…

Stocking Up
If the grocery store has an item for an unbelievable price and you’ll need it, by all means stock up. Stuff like the boxed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, etc. all have good shelf lives and can be used two to three months later. Sometimes some stores even have good sales on meat, but be careful. It may be on it’s way to spoiling.

Co-Oping
If your friend or neighbor has too much of something that you need and you have too much of something she needs, when y’all trade off this called co-oping. There’s nothing wrong with it. People do it all the time. For instance, I had 10 boxes of Caprisun and my sister had a few extra small bags of chips. We traded a box of Caprisun for 10 bags of chips. So neither of us had to spend extra money for what we needed. But you’ve gotta be careful though. Be sure to do even trades and, if you have to, write all trades down.

Invest in a deep freezer
My deep freezer is my best friend. I keep it loaded! It’s the best way to store food you’re not going to eat immediately AND it’s your own little restaurant. Whenever I have some freezable leftovers I put them in small ziploc bags and label them by what it is, the date, and how to warm it up. Banquet ain’t got nothin’ on me!