We are re-visiting some of our Couponing 101 Series posts on behalf of all our new readers and fans, as well as anyone who may have missed any in the past!

I decided to start with the questions that are most frequently emailed to me and posted to our facebook page by those just starting out with Coupons.

Today’s Reader Sumbitted FAQ is:

“Can I use Coupons even if I’m paying for my groceries with Food Stamps ( EBT Card ) ?”

The quick answer is YES !

And to elaborate….this question gets asked so often – for some reason people get confused about using coupons with food stamps, but it is very simple.

You should think of your Food Stamp dollars just as you do your own dollars. You have a limited amount alotted each month for groceries– think of that as your set grocery budget – therefore you need to stretch them as far as you can! The best way to do this is planning your grocery trips carefully and couponing.

In other words…every coupon you use that takes a dollar off your grocery bill at check out, is LITERALLY a dollar that will remain spendable on groceries for the rest of the month.

By planning your trips carefully and using coupons with your food stamps , you can possibly double the amount of groceries you are able to get. Couponing to stretch your Food Stamp dollars is the wisest and most responsible use of your benefits.

If you have any questions, please let me know with a comment below!


  1. i found this while doing research…i hope it helps someone….

    Kroger Illegally Charging Tax On Food Stamps When Used With Coupons
    By August 27, 2007
    “I do the grocery shopping for my partner who is totally disabled. He is paralyzed on the right side and suffers from quite a few other health related issues. When we moved to Savannah, Georgia two years ago, I noticed that when I used his EBT (food stamp) card at a Kroger store that I was being charged tax on food coupons. While Georgia is a state that does charge tax on grocery store food, and some grocery coupons state that it is the customer’s responsibility to pay any tax, it is illegal to charge food stamp recipients tax no matter what.”
    Kroger was also charging tax on its own coupons, for example tax on a seven dollar off coupon with a fifty dollar purchase. When I shop at the other large grocery store in Savannah – Publix, this never occurred and in fact, Publix receipts have a line item stating the amount of tax forgiven. A year a half ago, I brought this to the attention of my Kroger store manager who got back with me and said I was being charged a fee by the coupon vendors and it wasn’t a tax, even though it showed up on my receipt as tax. Not satisfied with this, I took my concern to the Kroger district manager who told me that I was only being charged tax on a coupon if the coupon was used for a similar item. I wasn’t even aware that grocery stores would allow a customer to do this and I pointed out to the district manager that even if this were true, that couldn’t account for all the tax I had been charged over the past two years.
    Eventually, I found the number for Kroger’s corporate office in Atlanta and finally talked to Hunter McWilliams, a vice president, who quickly apologized to me and agreed it was illegal for Kroger to charge EBT users tax on any coupon, an internal Kroger coupon or otherwise. Six weeks has gone by and this afternoon, Hunter’s assistant informed me that two days ago Kroger had resolved the issue in their stores with their registers so this would not happen again. At this point, I asked that all purchases using my Kroger loyalty card be researched for the past two years and that a refund be issued for any tax that was charged illegally. Hunter’s assistant Sonja Hurdle agreed to turn this over to their customer loyalty department and see that this is done. I then told Sonja that I felt Kroger had an obligation to research every EBT transaction for at least the past two years and refund all taxes collected illegally to all EBT card users in the state of Georgia. Sonja did not agree with me, but stated that they would do this for any customer who contacted her.
    Granted that the tax never amounted to more than a quarter or so for each store visit, but this would be a considerable amount of money for every EBT card user in a Kroger store in the state of Georgia over x number of years. And the question still remains whether or not Kroger actually paid that tax to the state of Georgia. By the way, I did contacted the Georgia State revenue department and they simply told me that, yes, the practice was illegal, but they did not have the manpower in their office to enforce the law.
    In the past month, I have also refused to pay this illegally charged tax while grocery shopping at Kroger and while each time it may have held up the line and took the store staff twenty minutes or so to eventually come to their senses and give up trying to collect it, it would appear that my persistence has paid off, not just for me, for but thousands of other people in this state. Or at least I’m told the system has been fixed. I have not done any grocery shopping at Kroger this week to know for sure.
    Thanks for listening,
    Takeway: If you used food stamps and coupons at Kroger supermarkets in Georgia, get in touch with Sonja Hurdle to see about getting illegally collected taxes refunded

  2. tiffany perry says

    Actually Wendy… depends on the store. Here in NC, in Greensboro… EVERY Target charges tax on coupons. I agree about it still saving when using them but there have been more times than I can count since losing my job that I didn’t even have the .78 they required. I had them remove the coupons. WIC specifies this as illegal, can’t find the law for snap in NC about it though. Just this morning I went to a gas station that now accepts ebt and was denied a cold bottled coffee on snap, he said it wasn’t covered and wouldn’t even ring it up to see. Will be calling the 800 number on them so I may check on the coupons at Target while I’m at it.

  3. I have used food stamps/EBT in both Alabama & Georgia and have been charged taxes when using coupons. I paid the first time I ever used the EBT card at CVS & they charged tax on the whole purchase not just the coupon. Since then I have learned to speak up about taxes on coupons & paying with food stamps. I am not paying taxes on coupons when using EBT. Why do they think we have extra money to pay taxes? If I had the money, I wouldn’t be on food stamps!CVS & Publix will charge taxes on coupons when using EBT, Walmart has not charged taxes on coupons. Publix will fix the problem & take off the taxes, but you do have to complain. It makes you wonder if its worth it? I am beginning to think not!

  4. I live in Ohio and use coupons with my EBT card all the time! The only time I’ve ever had to pay cash tax was when I had a coupon for a free gallon of milk I got at Target.

    One thing I like to point out, though, is the benefit to shopping with coupons and EBT at CVS. The way CVSs computer works, it deducts coupons off the total purchase rather than particular items. This can both help and hurt…if you buy a mix of food and non food items with coupons for your food items, you’ll still pay full price with your EBT card. BUT this means you can use your EBT card to buy other things, like diapers!

    If you have some extra EBT bucks, get some high value food coupons (B1G1 are the best!) The coupons will come off the total purchase, reducing the cost of the non food items you buy!

  5. Here in Ohio it depends on the store whether or not you pay the taxes on EBT purchases.. save a lot, food for less and aldi make you pay taxes, kroger and walmart forgive them.

  6. I live in Ga. and I use coupons with my EBT and I do have to pay taxes at most stores using coupons with EBT but its never over .50cents and i use a pretty good amount of coupons at times.

  7. I’m not sure about that in Virginia. I know that here in NC the sales tax is automatically removed from the bill if using an EBT card. I’d check with your county worker/social worker or whatever contact you have for your benefits and ask them.


  8. Food Lion charged me Virginia sales tax the other day when using coupons with my EBT card. Is that legal?

  9. You would only have to pay for non-food items and using coupons would leave you with more of your EBT balance to use the rest of the month.


  10. so i i use my ebt and use cupons i wont have to pay much for the difference?

  11. Margo, just to let you know when your benefits are stopped, your card balance is reset to 0. You can’t continue using it. So make sure you stock up on things that take a long time to go bad ahead of time. (canned goods, dry goods) I would hate for you to save all that money and then loose it all. When i stopped getting it a few months ago I had like $30 on it and Called the get the balance the day it was stopped and it was $0 so I called and they told me they reset it the minute the benefits are stopped.

  12. I live in Ohio and I use coupons all the time with my EBT card. I have never had to pay any sales tax or fee when I use coupons with my card.

  13. In North Carolina, you can use your EBT / Food Stamp card with coupons and you do not have to pay any tax. Even if you do in some states…we’re talking pennies versus using coupons to double or triple the amount of your monthly grocery benefits.


  14. What about tax? Don’t you have to pay tax on the value of coupons? (Assuming your state has food tax I suppose) I’m in VA and I have only used coupons occasionally but I always end up having to pay money out of pocket, and we are living off of student loans so we don’t want to spend any extra money that we don’t have to. Right now my hubby is in med school and we get more than enough to cover our food, but next year he will be in residency which doesn’t pay great (considering loan repayment and all that fun stuff) and we have heard that you can keep using whatever money is on your card even after you stop receiving benefits (which we will stop). So we are trying to save up money on the card to have padding when we start the next step in our adventure. So we have considered using coupons.
    @Kerri-you are from VA…maybe you know, but do you have to pay the tax on the coupons? Have I just chosen stores every time that happen to charge coupon fees? (I had one of those, didn’t have any money experiences too!) It’d be great if I could really stretch the budget so we can have a nice food budget for a while!

  15. It doesn’t seem like it is legal for a store to charge for using coupons with food stamps. I would check on this, since I’ve never heard of a store charging anyone for using coupons. Maybe the charge was tax on a non food item? Please don’t let this go…people may be getting ripped off. Thank you.

  16. I live in TN, just moved here a few months ago from AL. I have used coupons with EBT in both states and always have to pay sales tax on the coupons. Neither charge sales tax on EBT purchases but if you use coupons with EBT you will have to pay the tax. I don’t agree with it, but it’s never much so it’s worth it to me.

  17. I live in VA…and there are certain stores here that charge when you use certain coupons with food stamps. I don’t think i have ever paid more than a quarter. It is beyond worth it to stretch those food stamp dollars with coupons. I am able to just about triple the amount of food that i can get for my kids just by couponing with the food stamp card. It has been a huge blessing to us while my husband has been laid off from work. I never go into a store without my coupon binder.

  18. mandee wyrick says

    I have a comment about this. I would suggest doing your research at each store you plan on using coupons along with your food stamp card together. Some stores require you to pay a coupon fee of sorts. It’s never much (maybe .25-.50 at the MOST) but I was unprepared for this when I moved from FL to NC as FL does not have this law. I owed a measly .25 and hadn’t brought ANY money with me and felt very stupid standing there not knowing what to do until the awesome guy behind me gave me a quarter. So far Target and Piggly Wiggly are the only ones that have charged me, while Walmart and Lowes Foods have not. It could be store specific, branch specific, etc. Do your research. 🙂

Speak Your Mind