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Here’s How to Budget the Minimum SNAP Benefits Amount – $23

Most recipients of SNAP are only eligible for the minimum SNAP benefits of $23. It might not be that much, but there are many ways to maximize the $23 – like buying in discount stores.
Most recipients of SNAP are only eligible for the minimum SNAP benefits of $23. It might not be that much, but there are many ways to maximize the $23 – like buying in discount stores. (Photo: Forbes)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) increased the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2023 by 8.7%. However, the minimum SNAP benefits Amount remains at $23 for most one- or two-person households.

With the ongoing inflation of food prices, a modest increase might not be enough for financially struggling adults. Brandy Bauer, NCOA’s Director of Health Coverage & Benefits, said the amount is not intentional as the basis for calculating SNAP benefits contains some flaws. The NCOA is advocating fixing those flaws. But, in the meantime, recipients of the minimum SNAP benefits are left to wonder how or if they can afford healthy food.

Also Read: What can you Buy with SNAP Benefits 2023? 

Here’s How to Maximize the $23 Minimum SNAP Benefits

Remember that prices vary depending on where you shop and where you live. The following are some ideas to stretch the minimum SNAP benefits based on national averages as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Mid-Atlantic Information Office:

Basket A – Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Food Item Cost
(1) dozen fresh eggs $4.25
(1) 16 oz. bag of ground coffee $6.47
(1) 16 oz. loaf of (white) bread $1.87
(3) 5 oz. cans of tuna (canned, chunk light) $2.33
(1) 16 oz. box of pasta (elbow macaroni) $1.43
(1) pound of fresh tomatoes $2.23
(1) pound of 100% ground chuck beef $4.76
TOTAL $23.34

See: States Work to Assist Food Stamp Recipients with Lower Benefits 

Basket B – Protein Pack

Food Item Cost
(1) pound of 100% ground beef $4.80
(1) pound of pork chops $4.31
(5) pounds of chicken (whole, fresh) $9.15
(2) dozen fresh eggs $4.25
TOTAL $22.51
You can still maximize your SNAP benefits if you receive the minimum amount of $23. For instance, a dozen fresh eggs cost $4.25 (based on the national average).

You can still maximize your SNAP benefits if you receive the minimum amount of $23. For instance, a dozen fresh eggs cost $4.25 (based on the national average). (Photo: Yahoo News)

Basket C – Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Variety

Food Item Cost
(2) pounds of bananas $1.26
(2) pounds of navel oranges $2.97
(1) pint of strawberries $3.86
(1) 5-pound bag of white potatoes $4.74
(1) pound of fresh tomatoes $2.23
(2) pounds of romaine lettuce $7.14
TOTAL $22.20

 

Basket D – Basic Staples

Food Item Cost
(1) 5-pound bag of white, all-purpose flour $2.61
(1) 5-pound bag of white sugar $4.22
(2) 16 oz. boxes of dried pasta $2.87
(1) 5-pound bag of dried beans $8.50
(1) 5-pound bag of white rice $4.86
TOTAL $23.06

Other Ways to Shop on a Budget

  • “Save up,” you SNAP.

No rule states you have to spend your monthly benefits all at once. In fact, you can use it every day and use the unused dollars for the next month.

  • Buy in bulk when you can.

You can save more if you buy bulk items like rice, pasta, spices, flour, and dried beans, which cost less than their canned or pre-packaged counterparts.

  • Shop at discount grocers

You can also check out the discount grocers, surplus stores, bent-and-dent stores, or closeout grocery stores near your area. You can also use the USDA’s SNAP Retailer Locator to locate a participating discount store near you.

Why do I Get the Minimum SNAP Benefits?

Remember that the USDA also considers your income and other qualifications to determine the SNAP benefits you deserve. If you think you are not getting all the benefits you deserve, call your local Benefits Enrollment Center (BEC) or your local SNAP hotline.

Read More: SNAP Benefits Replacement: How To Change Your Card?

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