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If you qualify for SNAP benefits, I have fun news for you! You can now use SNAP benefits at your local farmers’ market in South Carolina. This is one of the best ways to buy produce.
Don’t live in South Carolina? There are also Farmers’ Markets nationwide that accept SNAP. You can go here to see the full list.
Don’t forget that you can also use coupons to stretch your SNAP benefits. This will hopefully leave you with money left over for the best produce deals. You can also purchase eggs, meat, honey, grains, and more at a farmers market.
How to save at the Farmers Market:
One trick is to buy in bulk. Farmers will often give you a better deal the more you buy. If you have extra produce you can freeze it or can it. When you do preserve it you’ll save money later by avoiding having to buy items out of season.
How to know if you are getting the best price:
When you head to your local farmers market you are really buying from one of two groups: the farmer directly or the person that bought in bulk from the farmer and is now reselling to you. Pull the daily report to help you know how to negotiate with both groups. I now can see what the farmer would have gotten for his produce if he sold wholesale federally or I know what the bulk buyer paid and how much they are marking things up.
Here’s my tip though… while each market has it’s own report some of them look like a computer blew up. Columbia SC has the easiest to read version and in general in the south all the prices and products are the same. So just use this report.
Other ways to stretch SNAP benefits:
1.) Know the rules: both of the coupons and the benefits. You are not permitted to ‘cash in’ benefits, which includes returning items purchased with benefits for cash, reselling anything purchased with benefits, or getting cash back on coupon overage (which the terms of nearly every coupon I’ve ever seen also prohibit).
2.) You can use Catalina coupons for non-food items.
3.) Utilize rebates, but read the fine print first. You have to read more carefully than someone couponing with cash funds. Many rebates exclude you from taking part if you are using any form of welfare program funds.
3.) For non-food items, you have to shop drugstores. The world of free toothpaste and diapers for less than $4 a pack is a place happy.
4.) Pay attention to your receipt. If there is an overcharge, they can credit it back to your EBT card immediately.
5.) Separate food & non-food items when you are using coupons. If you don’t you will be charged the tax as with EBT there is no tax (although some stores require you to pay tax on the amount you saved with coupons).
How do you maximize SNAP benefits?
Note: please keep comments helpful & encouraging. SNAP benefits are helpful to many families just trying to eat. Unless you are paid by the state to do so, it is not up to you to judge whether someone should or should not use them. Let’s encourage and support one another.
See more ways to use SNAP benefits well.