USDA to Permanently Boost SNAP Benefits by 25% Starting in October

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Beginning in October, SNAP benefits will increase by more than 25%. Find out more.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program that helps individuals and families supplement food costs.

Starting in October, recipients of SNAP will see an increase in benefits by 25%. This is the program's largest single increase in its history and will be permanent. Read on to find out more about this news.

Here's what SNAP recipients can expect

The USDA recently re-evaluated its Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate SNAP benefit amounts. The organization looked at available data on four key factors:

  • What Americans usually eat
  • Current food prices
  • Dietary guidance
  • The nutrients found in food items

The USDA found that the cost of a nutritious, cost-effective diet is 21% higher than the current plan. This means many families may have been forced to buy cheaper foods to stretch their benefits.

But starting in October 2021, increased benefits will be available to more than 42 million SNAP recipients.

Benefits vary by state, but recipients can expect average benefits to increase by about $36 per person, per month, or $1.20 per day. For the average recipient, that means monthly per-person benefits will rise from $121 to $157.

While this increase isn't something that will be life-changing to most, it may allow people who rely on SNAP benefits to stretch their grocery budget further. As the pandemic continues, any improvements that help Americans better deal with financial stress are welcome.

Tips to save on the cost of food

It can be a challenge to purchase everything you need at the grocery store when food costs keep rising and you have a limited budget. By making a few changes and doing some planning, it's possible to spend less at the store and make shopping easier. Try these tips to help save money on food costs and stretch your grocery budget further:

  • Take inventory. Let your current inventory serve as a guide for your meals for the week. Take a few moments to go through your cupboards and fridge before you do your shopping. You may have more items than you think. Utilizing what you already have in dry storage, for example, can help you save money and waste less.
  • Don't forget a grocery list. If you go to the store without a list, it will be easier to buy extra items that you don't need. A list can keep you organized and make it easier for you to stick to your budget. Plus, it may save you time when shopping.
  • Buy sale products and store-brand items. You can save a lot of money on groceries just by changing your habits. Instead of grabbing any item on the shelf, look for the items that are marked on sale. Most stores publish a weekly sale flyer to guide you. You can also save money by purchasing store-brand items instead of name-brand.
  • Use digital coupons. Cutting paper coupons can take a lot of time and effort. But digital coupons are a lot faster. Many stores offer digital coupons within their grocery app. With one click, you can clip a coupon. Before you head to the store, spend five minutes looking at the available digital coupons to see if they help you save.

You might also consider using cash back apps when shopping for groceries. These apps offer cash back when you buy specific items. While it may take time to accumulate earnings, it's an easy and fun way to save money.

If you're looking for other ways to save money in your daily life or need help with money management, check out these personal finance resources.

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