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Making the Most of Your SNAP Dollars

Brooke Marsal, MS, RD
April 17, 2021
March 6, 2023

Eating healthy is one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting sick or developing chronic diseases. Unfortunately, eating healthy on a limited budget can be quite challenging. On average, a single person will only receive $30/week in SNAP dollars (if eligible). This may not seem like a huge amount, but by carefully navigating the grocery store, you can use your SNAP dollars to purchase a month’s worth of healthy foods. This article will provide you with some tips on how to do this. 

Tip 1: Give yourself the time to compare prices 

This may mean that grocery shopping takes longer at first, but you will soon learn which stores have the best prices and the cheapest brands. Keeping a look out for coupons and sales is also helpful.

Tip 2: Buy raw, whole, and in bulk

Choose items that are raw, whole, and in bulk if you have access to kitchen utensils and appliances to cook your food. Pre-cut and pre-cooked fruits, vegetables, and meats tend to be much more expensive so avoid these if you can. Buying grains, beans, flour, nuts, and seeds from the bulk bin is also cheaper than buying them pre-packaged or canned. 

Tip 3: Learn to love your freezer

Frozen fruits and veggies are often less expensive than fresh produce. Learning to freeze foods at home is also a great way to prevent foods from spoiling. 

Tip 4: Adopt a more plant-based diet

Meat tends to be pretty expensive. If you are on a tight budget it can be helpful to get your protein from beans, lentils, peanut butter, eggs, milk, and canned fish. To give your meals more bulk you can stock up on low-cost whole grains and starches such as oats, brown rice, barley, and potatoes.

Tip 5: Become familiar with healthy, low-cost recipes 

Learn a few quick and easy low cost recipes. One of our favorite websites for low-cost recipes is Budget Bytes

For more tips on shopping and storing food to prevent spoilage and waste visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Tip 6: Make a shopping list before you go

Planning your meals and making a shopping list ahead of time would be helpful to buy only the food you need and reduce potential food waste. 


By becoming familiar with your grocery store and coming up with a little strategic planning you can stretch your SNAP dollars pretty far. Utilizing these tips will also help you to make healthier meals. Meals made with simple ingredients not only tend to be cheaper but also healthier! Find a few recipes you like, make your grocery list, and head out to the store!