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6 Crazy Things You Can Buy with EBT: Unusual Ways to Use Your Benefits

Things You Can Buy with EBT

Welcome to the world of EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) – a program designed to provide financial assistance to those in need. 

While EBT primarily focuses on helping individuals and families purchase essential food items, there are some surprising and unconventional things you can buy with EBT aka your benefits. 

In this article, we’ll explore the possibilities and showcase unique EBT purchases that will bring some excitement and creativity to your shopping experience.

What is EBT?

EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfer, is a system that enables eligible individuals and families to access their government-assisted benefits through a card that works like a debit card. 

EBT benefits typically come in the form of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and can be used to purchase approved food items at authorized retailers.

What Can You Buy with EBT?

When it comes to using your EBT benefits, it’s essential to understand the type of items you can purchase. 

While the primary focus is on nutritious and essential food items, there are some restrictions to consider. 

For example, you cannot use your benefits to buy hot foods, prepared meals, alcohol, tobacco, or non-food items like cleaning supplies or pet food.

However, within these guidelines, there are still plenty of options available to make your EBT shopping experience exciting and unconventional.


6 Crazy Things You Can Buy with EBT

Plants and Gardening Supplies

Gardening can be both a fulfilling hobby and a practical way to supplement your food supply with homegrown produce. 

Surprisingly, you can use your EBT benefits to purchase plants and gardening supplies at participating retailers. 

This opens up a world of possibilities for those interested in cultivating their own fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

By using your EBT benefits for these items, not only can you save money in the long run by growing your own food, but you also have control over the quality and variety of the produce you consume. 

Gardening is an excellent way to promote self-sufficiency, engage in physical activity, and connect with nature. Plus, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as harvesting the fruits of your labor!

Kitchen Utensils and Cooking Equipment

While non-food items are generally not eligible for purchase with EBT, some authorized retailers may allow you to use your benefits to acquire essential kitchen utensils and cooking equipment. 

This opens up opportunities to improve your cooking skills and make meal preparation more enjoyable.

Investing in quality kitchen tools can enhance your culinary abilities, making it easier and more efficient to prepare nutritious meals at home. 

With the right equipment, you can explore different cooking techniques, experiment with new flavors, and unleash your inner chef. 

By utilizing your EBT benefits for these items, you can take an active role in your nutrition and well-being.

Seeds for Edible Plants

In addition to buying plants and gardening supplies, you can also use your EBT benefits to purchase seeds specifically intended for growing edible plants. 

This allows you to have greater control over the varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs you can grow in your garden. 

From juicy tomatoes to fragrant basil, using your benefits to buy seeds empowers you to create a diverse and fresh food supply.

Honey from Local Beekeepers:

If you come across local farmers markets or authorized retailers that accept EBT, you may be able to use your benefits to buy locally produced honey. 

Supporting local beekeepers not only benefits your community but also allows you to enjoy pure and natural honey. 

Local honey is known for its unique flavor and potential health benefits, and using your EBT benefits to purchase it helps sustain local agriculture.

Edible Plants for Landscaping:

Did you know that you can use your EBT benefits to buy plants that can be used for both landscaping and consumption? 

An example of such a plant is the blueberry bush. Blueberry plants not only add beauty to your outdoor space but also provide delicious and nutritious berries. 

Check with authorized retailers to explore the options available for purchasing edible plants that offer dual benefits of aesthetic appeal and food production.

Fresh Herbs and Spices:

While EBT benefits generally cover fresh fruits and vegetables, you may also be able to use your benefits to purchase fresh herbs and spices. 

Utilizing herbs and spices enhances the flavor of your dishes without adding additional calories or sodium. 

By exploring the variety of herbs available, you can elevate your home-cooked meals to another level, all while staying within your EBT budget.

Please note that the availability of these items may vary depending on local regulations, authorized retailers, and individual state guidelines. 

It’s always advisable to check with your local SNAP office or authorized retailer to confirm which unconventional items can be purchased using your EBT benefits.

Remember, the primary focus of EBT benefits is to ensure access to essential food items. 

These additional options add a touch of fun and creativity to your shopping experience while still aligning with the goal of promoting nutritious and sustainable food choices.


Pro Tips for Using EBT

Now that you know about these exciting possibilities, here are some pro tips to help you make the most out of your EBT benefits:

Meal Planning:

One of the most effective ways to make the most out of your EBT benefits is by practicing meal planning. 

By creating a weekly or monthly meal plan, you can maximize the use of the ingredients you purchase and minimize waste. 

Plan your meals around affordable staple foods like rice, beans, and whole grains, and incorporate seasonal fruits and vegetables for added variety and nutrition.

Include a balance of different food groups to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs. 

By mapping out your meals in advance, you can create a shopping list that aligns with your meal plan, helping you stay within your EBT budget.


Effective budgeting is crucial for stretching your EBT benefits further. Prioritize your spending by focusing on essential and nutritious food items. 

Avoid impulse purchases and stick to your shopping list to prevent overspending.

Consider buying in bulk when it offers cost savings. Non-perishable items such as rice, pasta, canned goods, and frozen vegetables can often be purchased in large quantities, leading to long-term savings.

Finding Affordable Yet Nutritious Options:

Making wise food choices is an important aspect of using your EBT benefits effectively. 

While it may be tempting to opt for processed or convenience foods, they are often more expensive and less nutritious. Instead, look for affordable yet nutrient-dense options.

Choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables when they’re in season, as they tend to be more affordable. 

Additionally, consider buying store brand products or utilizing discounts and coupons to further reduce your expenses without compromising on quality.

By being mindful of your choices and seeking out cost-effective options, you can maximize the nutritional value of your EBT purchases and promote your overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between EBT and SNAP?

EBT is the electronic system that allows recipients to access their SNAP benefits. SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is the federal assistance program that provides funding for eligible individuals to purchase food.

Can EBT be used to purchase non-food items?

While EBT benefits primarily cover food items, there are some exceptions in certain authorized retailers. For example, you may be able to purchase kitchen utensils and cooking equipment using your benefits.

How do I apply for EBT benefits?

To apply for EBT benefits, you need to contact your state’s SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) office. They will guide you through the application process and determine your eligibility.



EBT benefits are not limited to just basic food items; there are surprising ways to make your shopping experience enjoyable and creative. 

By exploring unique purchases like plants, seeds, gardening supplies, kitchen utensils, and cooking equipment, you can enhance your well-being and take a proactive approach towards nutrition and sustainability.

Remember to make the most out of your EBT benefits by incorporating pro tips such as meal planning, budgeting, and finding affordable yet nutritious options. 

With a little creativity and mindful shopping, you can unlock the potential of your EBT benefits and make them work for you in unexpected and exciting ways.