If you get help paying for food at the grocery store, you’re not alone.
More than 13% of Florida residents receive food assistance via the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). About 60% of them are people older than 55; another 47% are families with children. (It adds up to more than 100% because some families fall in both categories.) Just so you know, the average family in Florida with children gets $362 per month, while the average older adult receives $118.
If you’re not signed up, start here. If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you might be eligible for further assistance through SUNCAP. If you have questions, call 850-300-4323.
Once you are enrolled, here are some ways to stretch the money from these programs.
Florida, with help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is doubling the spending power of SNAP recipients at farmer’s markets, up to $40 per day in free produce from participating vendors. It’s a dollar-matching program, so you’ll get a free $1 Fresh Access Buck for every $1 in SNAP benefits you spend. Find participating markets and other vendors here.
You can buy:
- Fresh Fruits
- Fresh Vegetables
- Seeds and nuts
- Food-producing plants. That means that you can buy tomato plants or other seedlings so that you can grow your own fresh produce at home.
Delivery saves you time and transportation costs. Plus, if you’re older and getting around is difficult, delivery may be your only choice. At any age, you’ll be less tempted to buy items that look good, but you can’t afford.
These stores will deliver to SNAP customers with electronic benefit transfer (EBT). You have to have another source of payment if you buy something other than EBT-eligible products. That includes things like soap and paper goods.
- Aldi’s, Publix, and Sprouts. Get groceries delivered via Instacart for $4.99 a month for the next year. There are some rules and limitations.
- Amazon. Start by getting a half-price Prime membership for $6.99 a month. Use Prime to buy groceries. Delivery will be quick and free. Search for EBT-eligible on Amazon. While you can use an EBT card at Whole Foods in person, EBT payments aren’t eligible for delivery from Whole Foods.
- Target. Target uses Shipt for delivery. A membership is $99 per year for unlimited delivery as long as you spend $35 per delivery. If you pay for your groceries with an EBT card, you do not need to meet the $35 minimum purchase threshold for same-day delivery orders. Shipt users who order less than $35 with an EBT card pay an additional $7 delivery fee, which must be paid with some other card.
- Walmart. Walmart is offering SNAP beneficiaries 50% off a Walmart+ membership, making it $6.47 per month or $49 per year. The program offers access to everything the membership plan provides, including free grocery deliveries, access to Paramount+ and 10% gas discounts. You’re eligible even if you are a current member.
In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, DoorDash is offering two free months of its service to people enrolled in SNAP/EBT. After that, it costs $9.99 per month. Some DoorDash vendors sell EBT-eligible food that isn’t usually found at grocery stores – although you can buy some prepared food that isn’t hot and have it delivered, like sushi from Publix, for instance. Even if $9.99 seems too rich for you, it might be worth it to try the service for free.
Join a loyalty club
SNAP has lots of rules, but it doesn’t stop you from using coupons or taking advantage of other deals the grocery offers. By joining your local stores’ loyalty clubs, you can take advantage of sales on the items you use.
Find this week’s grocery deals
More grocery shopping deals and tips
- Free food distributions & resources
- Get free box of Post Fruity or Cocoa Pebbles Waffles
- Farmers markets, vendor fairs in South Florida
- PB&J Is still a budget champ
- Best hamburger and grocery deals for Labor Day cookout
- Amazon Prime expands grocery delivery — will it save you money?
- How to get the best deal on steak
- Maximize the groceries you get from your SNAP benefits
- Kroger delivers groceries and gas discounts
- Find South Florida’s best grocery deals: Join loyalty clubs
More shopping tips for South Florida
- Find yard sales and garage sales
- Find the cheapest gas
- Store promo codes for online shopping
- Farmers’ markets and vendor fairs in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties
- Resource Depot offers new, used and recycled items at a discount
- Best Miami thrift stores
- Thrift stores in Broward