Understanding 5 Other Living Expenses SNAP Benefits Let You Focus On

The group at FamilyNutritionInfo.com understands that many Americans struggle to make ends meet and provide the basics for their families. Fortunately, federal and state programs offer relief and assistance, especially in the form of food assistance for children, the elderly, individuals with disabilities and low-income adults. A government program like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides millions of American residents with crucial food relief. Although the government helps pay for the basic need of physical nourishment, families have many other essential expenses and comforts that demand attention.

SNAP Overview

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is one of many federal programs that provides meal assistance to American residents. With the SNAP program, applicants must fall into certain criteria that includes household income, household size and disability status. Applicants receive SNAP benefits on and Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. Applicants then use the EBT card for specific food items like produce, meat and bread from approved vendors.

Bills and Loans

SNAP benefit approval allows families to use household income for a variety of non-food expenses. Many Americans may have student, car or home loan payments that fall to the wayside when the household is struggling to make ends meet. With the savings from SNAP benefits, customers may now put money towards loan payments that threaten to ruin their personal credit or repossess their properties. If the families are able, the group at FamilyNutritionInfo.com suggests creating a savings fund to help the household prepare for unexpected expenses, like loss of income or veterinarian bills.

Transportation Expenses

Although telecommuting and work from home jobs are on the rise, the team at FamilyNutritionInfo.com understands that many Americans still travel to and from work and need some sort of transportation, especially if they work outside walking distance from their jobs or upcoming job interviews. Reliable transportation is a common requirement for employment, therefore making transportation access crucial for everyday life. With food costs reduced or covered by government programs, households can focus on the numerous expenses associated with public and personal transportation.

Public transportation is one important means of travel for many Americans. Trains and city buses allow Americans to travel further distances to attend jobs and find better employment opportunities, but daily fares add up quickly, especially if a customer works six or seven days each week and makes multiple transfers on his or her commute. School and grocery trips often factor into the cost of a bus or train pass. Customers may find monthly or weekly passes more efficient than daily fees, but the cost of such passes are significantly more expensive to purchase in one exchange. Since customers save money on food with SNAP benefits, those with personal automobiles may take care of expenses like maintenance, gas and insurance payments. Others still may use their savings to purchase bicycles as a faster alternative to walking or a cheaper alternative than monthly bus passes and car expenses.

Healthcare Expenses

Healthcare, even with more affordable government programs, is an important cost that many Americans still neglect due to steep costs. For those receiving SNAP benefits, the money saved on food may now help with any healthcare expenses. Simple purchases like over-the-counter pain relief is no longer a luxury, and families may use their food savings to stock up on basic medicines for simple illnesses and injuries. Families can now feel comfortable paying any expenses for doctor’s visits and life-saving medication, all thanks to the relief provided by SNAP benefits. The experts at FamilyNutritionInfo.com urge American residents to see doctors for wellness visits when possible to prevent and detect serious illnesses in the future.

Housing Expenses

Housing is yet another steep cost that many Americans must face when struggling to make ends meet. So many families must decide between paying the rent and feeding their families. Customers receiving SNAP benefits now have one less concern, as they can afford to attend to their housing expenses. Rent and mortgage payments are, of course, important payments that residents must make, but living spaces come with their own numerous expenses. Water, electricity and other utilities are bills that are easy to fall behind on but are difficult, even dangerous, to live without. Families may now prioritize running water and heating or cooling expenses once food access is no longer a concern.

Hygiene and Personal Care

Many Americans understand that SNAP benefits help needy families feed their households, but they may not realize the variety of goods that are not covered. Unfortunately, SNAP benefits only cover strict food expenses, but do not include the multitude of other household and personal products that residents need in order to live in relative comfort. Customers must pay for simple household items like laundry detergent, paper products and home cleaning products from their own pockets. Although not a necessity like food and shelter, these items are important to maintaining a home and personal morale. Even crucial items like feminine hygiene products, deodorant and dental care items are out-of-pocket expenses. Without personal hygiene products, adults may face social backlash that can affect performance and professional relationships, including mental distress and poor first impressions at job interviews. Personal hygiene neglect may even affect personal health in the short and long terms. Children are not immune from the repercussions of poor or inadequate hygiene either, so the team at FamilyNutritionInfo.com urges families to include such products in their household shopping budget. Clothing is yet another personal expense that families should consider at some point during the year. Adults may need a new outfit for job interviews and work, and children grow out of clothing very quickly. Fortunately, families may shop at thrift stores for clothing and discount stores for personal care items to make the most of their money.