No matter how much you keep up with the proper paperwork, maintain your records with your caseworker, or try to maintain your food stamp benefits there are times when food stamps may be denied.
Food stamps can actually help recipients find cheaper ingredients, including spices and herbs. These can help make any dish sing new notes for your taste buds. It's important to get out of your comfort zone when you're looking for deals. The grocery store and even the farmer's market are not going to provide you with the cheapest ingredients. In fact, ethnic supermarkets, such as Oriental grocery stores, may have more of what you're looking for and will sell it for less. Here are some ideas:
Oriental food marts are known for selling some really cheap dried herbs and spices, condiments, rice as well as veggies and Asian specialties. You can find coriander and cumin for cheaper at these stores. In addition, you can find some items that may spice up your dishes and create better texture, while still giving you a cheap price tag, such as Gobo or burdock root, which is usually found in Japanese markets. It helps to make items like kimpira and also can be added to fried eggs and tofu patties with veggies. Some other good items to try are taro root, soy sauce, lychees, black sesame and almond clusters, soa bing, green tea and mochi (ice cream).
Indian groceries are also known for their spices and produce. You can find things like Parle-G biscuits, banana chips, tikka papdi, and frozen foods at Indian stores for usually a cheaper price tag than at the grocery store. You can also look for different flavors of your favorite things, such as mango ice cream and chickoo, an Indian fruit. The spices will also be cheap and still can give your dishes that extra kick.
From cured meat products to authentic paprika spices, you can find a variety of things at Spanish food markets and there isn't as big of a cost that you get at the big brand grocery store. You can also find much more authentic Mexican and Cuban food at these stores, so if you enjoy Latin food, then you can definitely find some great tasting spices, herbs, rice, Spanish-style sausages, wines and beans.
Dollar stores often sell name brand and off-brand items for a much cheaper price—hopefully a dollar or less. You can find a variety of spices at dollar stores. Even Ikea sells some cheap types of dried herbs and spices. Look for off brand items first and check labels to find the better ingredients in your food items. You may also want to look for expiration dates and also find products that are sold in bulk. These will give you the most for your money.