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5 Budget-Friendly Stores That Accept SNAP

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If you are one of the millions of people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to help you purchase the food you need for good health, you likely want to make your monthly allotment stretch as far as it can.

While hundreds of thousands of retailers accept SNAP benefits, some of them offer better prices than others. For instance, 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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Out of the 248,000 retailers across the nation that participate in SNAP, here are some of the ones that have proven to be the most budget-friendly. 

Aldi

According to “Dunnhumby’s 2020 Retailer Preference Index: U.S. Grocery Channel Edition,” German grocery chain Aldi ranks No. 1 for the cheapest grocery store, which means your SNAP benefits will stretch further. The chain has rock-bottom prices that often beat Walmart’s. While it does not offer as wide of a selection as larger grocery stores, you can find the basics and even some specialty items.

Make Your Money Work for You

Aldi is able to keep prices low because of its practices. For example, it requires customers to leave a quarter deposit to use a grocery cart, which cuts down on theft and employees having to retrieve carts from the parking lot.

Additionally, checkers do not bag groceries, which reduces labor. Customers are expected to bag the items themselves in another area of the store, but the bags aren’t free. Aldi also has streamlined employee labor in other areas, including stocking, which means it needs fewer employees.  

Costco

While customers are required to pay at least $60 for an annual membership at Costco, the investment can easily pay off due to the savings you can reap there. Plus, 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 — about 4,000 products compared to the 30,000 products a grocery store typically stocks. Even so, you can buy basics such as dairy, eggs, meat, produce, canned goods and paper goods — some of which are Kirkland Signature, the warehouse’s private-label brand that rivals national brands, often at a lower cost.

Make Your Money Work for You

Costco also has the ability to buy in bulk, which allows it to pass on the savings to customers. And it offers employees a higher level of pay than its competitors do and an attractive benefits plan, which reduces turnover and employee theft — two things that can eat into a company’s bottom line.

Dollar General

While there are some products you might want to avoid at Dollar General, the store does accept SNAP and is budget-friendly. You can typically find products at Dollar General that sell for 20% to 40% cheaper than at grocery stores and drugstores.

To keep costs low, Dollar General states on its website that you won’t find every brand, just the most popular ones, including its private label brand Clover Valley. Among the products Dollar General sells are household cleaners, paper goods, canned foods and beverages, snack foods, dairy products and laundry detergent. 

Dollar General also keeps its stores small in size and doesn’t need as many employees as larger stores, which helps it save money. Plus, it buys many of its limited number of products in bulk and passes savings on to its customers.

Make Your Money Work for You

Walmart 

You’re likely to be within driving distance of a Walmart, which has 4,742 locations across the U.S. Walmart is well-known for its low prices, so there’s no doubt you can save. Some of the ways Walmart keeps its prices budget-friendly: It strives to keep operating costs low, it’s able to score huge wholesale discounts due to being the largest retailer in the world and it has a vast product selection, which allows it to be a one-stop shopping destination for many customers.

More: What’s the Difference Between SNAP and WIC? — How to Apply

WinCo Foods

WinCo Foods is another grocery store chain that accepts SNAP benefits. It’s 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 doesn’t 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 helps it avoid credit card processing fees.

Make Your Money Work for You

At WinCo Foods, you can find all of the standard products you’d expect to find at a grocery store, with many items labeled with green price tags signifying extra savings.

Ways To Make the Most of Your SNAP Benefits and Budget When Shopping

Finding a budget-friendly store where you can use your SNAP benefits definitely will help you save. However, you can save even more (and fill your cart with additional nutritious items) if you use these smart shopping tips from the United States Department of Agriculture the next time you buy groceries.

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