On November 1, 2013, millions of Americans will see a decrease in the amount of food stamps they receive each month. The USDA recently announced that food stamp program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be changing. As a result, many poor families that receive assistance from the program will have more trouble putting nutritious meals on the dinner table. The millions of families that are affected will need to learn how to save money on groceries in order to make their food stamps stretch a little further.
The USDA lists two reasons for the changes families will see in their monthly food stamp benefits. The website states, "First, your benefits will change due to the costs of living. These changes happen every year. Second, your benefits will change because a law called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) raised SNAP benefits to help people affected by the recession and the part of the law that raised SNAP benefits is ending."
The expiration of the law means that families who rely on food stamps to put food on their tables could see a 5.5% decrease in the amount of benefits they receive. For a family of four the cuts equate to about $36 per month less.
There are a couple of different options for families who are looking for ways to put the same amount of food on their tables with less money. Websites such as bargaindads.com are teaching people how to use coupons to save on groceries as well as other items that are essential to families. Coupons matched with store sales allow families to save a lot of money on groceries and other items. The way everything is broken down on the Bargain Dads website makes it easy for anyone to learn how to take advantage of using coupons to save money.
Food pantries located throughout cities and towns are another way that families will be able to supplement the cut in their food stamp benefits. Families will be able to go to food pantries to get assistance with their monthly food needs, but that assistance may soon decrease as well due to the increase in people needing it. Those needing help locating a food bank near them should call their state information/hotline.
There are more than 23 million families and 47 million individuals who depend on food stamps for nutritious meals according to the latest government data (Oct. 2013). The decrease in benefits that will take place starting Nov. 1 is the first of several that are scheduled over the next 10 years. Families need to start learning how to save money on groceries now so they will be prepared for the next cuts that take place.