5 Budget Stores That Accept SNAP
If you’re one of the millions who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to help buy the food you need for good health, you probably want to stretch your monthly allowance as far as possible.
While hundreds of thousands of retailers accept SNAP benefits, some of them offer better prices than others. For example, convenience stores often accept SNAP benefits, but you’ll have a much more limited selection of items and often pay higher prices if you shop there.
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Of the 248,000 retailers across the country that participate in SNAP, here are some of the ones that have proven to be the most economical.
According to Dunnhumby’s 2020 Retailer Preference Index: US Grocery Channel Edition, German grocery chain Aldi ranks #1 for the cheapest grocery store, which means your SNAP benefits will extend even further. The chain has very low prices that often beat those of Walmart. Although it doesn’t offer as wide a selection as larger grocery stores, you can find the basics and even some specialty items.
Aldi is able to keep prices low through its practices. For example, it requires customers to leave a quarter deposit to use a grocery cart, reducing theft and employees having to retrieve carts from the parking lot.
Also, checkers don’t pack groceries, which reduces labor. Customers are expected to pack the items themselves in another area of the store, but the bags are not free. Aldi has also streamlined employee work in other areas, including storage, which means it needs fewer employees.
While customers have to pay at least $60 for an annual subscription at Costco, the investment can easily pay off because of the savings you can make there. Additionally, Costco accepts SNAP benefits.
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Costco is able to keep its prices low for a variety of reasons. For example, Costco stocks a limited selection of inventory – around 4,000 products compared to the 30,000 products a grocery store typically stocks. Even so, you can buy staples like dairy, eggs, meat, produce, canned goods and paper goods – some of which are Kirkland Signature, the warehouse’s private label that rivals with national brands, often at a lower cost.
Costco also has the ability to buy in bulk, allowing it to pass savings on to customers. And it offers employees a higher level of compensation than its competitors and an attractive benefits package, which reduces employee turnover and theft – two things that can undermine a company’s bottom line.
Although there are some products you may want to avoid at Dollar General, the store accepts SNAP and is economical. You can usually find products at Dollar General that sell for 20-40% less than at grocery stores and drugstores.
To keep costs low, Dollar General states on its website that you won’t find all brands, only the most popular ones, including its house brand Clover Valley. Among the products sold by Dollar General are household cleaners, paper goods, canned foods and beverages, snacks, dairy products and laundry detergent.
Dollar General also keeps its stores small and doesn’t need as many employees as larger stores, which saves it money. Additionally, he bulk buys many of his products in limited numbers and passes the savings on to his customers.
You’re likely to be within driving distance of a Walmart, which has 4,742 locations across the United States. Walmart is well known for its low prices, so there’s no doubt you can save. Some of the ways Walmart keeps prices affordable: they strive to keep operating costs low, they’re able to get huge wholesale discounts by being the largest retailer in the world, and they offer a wide selection of products, which allows it to be a one-stop shopping destination for many customers.
More: What’s the difference between SNAP and WIC? – How to register
WinCo Foods is another grocery store chain that accepts SNAP benefits. It is located largely in the Pacific Northwest and along the Pacific Coast. Like warehouse clubs, WinCo Foods buys many of its products in bulk, which helps customers save money. But, unlike warehouse clubs, it does not charge a membership fee.
WinCo Foods keeps its prices low by spending as little as possible on advertising, not employing baggers and not accepting credit cards, which allows it to avoid credit card processing fees.
At WinCo Foods you can find all the standard products you would expect to find in a grocery store, with many items labeled with green price tags signifying additional savings.
Ways to get the most out of your SNAP perks and budget while shopping
Finding an affordable store where you can use your SNAP benefits will definitely help you save. However, you can save even more (and fill your basket with extra nutritious items) if you use these smart shopping tips from the United States Department of Agriculture the next time you’re grocery shopping.
- Buy seasonal products because it is cheaper; only buy what you can use before it spoils.
- Rice and pasta are examples of economical cereals.
- Buy family packs of lean meats, like chicken or turkey, and freeze what you don’t use.
- Beans, peas and lentils are another inexpensive way to provide protein for your family.
- Always check the expiry date on dairy products to ensure you are buying the freshest products possible.
- Avoid aisles that contain items such as chips and cookies, which are high in sugar, sodium and fat, but low in nutritional value.
- When considering purchasing a larger quantity item, always compare the unit price (not the retail price) of the same smaller quantity item to ensure you are getting a good deal.
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