Thursday, December 1, 2011

How to Shop with a LINK/EBT Card & Coupons

One of the main question I get ask when I teach coupon classes or out shopping is "Can I use coupon when I am shopping with a LINK card".  For all of my non Chicago readers a LINK cars is an EBTElectronic Benefits Transfer card that one get form the government to assist them with their food purchases for the month. 

I wanted to take this time to answer this question because more and more people are turing to the government to make ends meet.  Now I will tell you this, some people think that people who shop with and EBT card should not shop with coupons.  Because Tax papers are footing the bill for your groceries, why should you be able to get more is what I heard one day in a discussion.  I say that is there is a coupon for the item that you are purchasing, by all means get the items and pay for it with a coupon, cash, or you EBT card.

When one shops with coupon in Illinois, you will need to separate your food items from your non-food items.  {For my non-IL readers, you will have to check and see how shopping with EBT cards in your state works.}
Check out the math below:

Grocery Shopping Trip {Food & Non Food Items}
Food Items =$30.00

Non-Food items = $30.00
$12.00 in food coupons
$15.00 in non- food coupon items
Pay: $3.00 for the food on your LINK/EBT Card
Pay $30.00 in cash for Non-Food Items + Tax :-(

As you can see, when you have both food and non-food items together the coupons for the non-food items goes toward the food purchases.  The cash register only determines if the coupon is for an item that you purchase, it does not figure out if the item is food or non-food.  Therefore, your OOP (Out Of Pocket) cost for the Non-Food is regular price. 

One way to make sure that you are saving on all items is by separating your purchase.  Check out how you should separate your purchase when you are paying with coupons, cash, and LINK/EBT.

Food Items = $30.00
$12.00 in food coupons
Pay: $18.00 for the food on your LINK/EBT Card

Non-Food Items = $30.00
$15.00 in non food item coupons
Pay:$15.00 in cash for Non-Food Items + Tax

As you can see when you separate your purchase you spend more in LINK/EBT, but less OOP cash.  Seeing as if the LINK is your benefits that is given to you, you can use them to save and purchase more groceries.  Your OOP is $15.00 but, I rather pay $15.00 than the full $30.00 that was listed in the transaction that included food and non-food. 

Be savvy about shopping with a LINK/EBT card and with your cash.  I can not stress enough that SALE+COUPON = FREE or CHEAP.  Don't just waist your government benefits on anything.  Create a stockpile, shop and save, and think twice about your purchase?

Thanks, Cut, Clip, Save  for assistance on this post
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  1. Thank you very much for sharing this information with your readers.. I have a Link Card, and have been using coupons for years, while I am no extreme couponer, I am able to save, and every penny counts, Especially when I only receive 440 a month in Link to feed my family of 5! Thanks again, btw, I really enjoyed looking at your site:) Very helpful and informative!!

  2. Omg im so glad u this it helps out alot I live in indiana and I jus looked at my receipt it seems like its the opposite here I purchased 3 handsoaps $1 each gain fabric softene $2.99 summers eve 2.99 and 2 palmolives $1.99 each I had coupons for 3 food items the palmolives and gain my total was oop $3.35 so does that mean I paid more for food this is truly as lesson learned thanks so much

  3. wow thank you for posting this, i had no idea. ive only had the card for a month or so, so this is going to help a lot

  4. I looked at my receipt again after coupons i had $41 worth of food and $12.96 non food after i only $2 in non food coupon so im not understanding how the rest of the non food amount got added on to my link card because my foodstamp balance ended up being $49.67 instead of the $41 it shouldve been and oop $3.35 when it shouldve been about $11, will you be hosting a party in indiana anytime soon


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