What Can I Buy with EBT at Costco? List of SNAP-Approved Items

If you’ve ever wondered about shopping with your EBT card at Costco, you’re not alone. Costco, with its bulk items and budget-friendly prices, is a favorite for many.

But navigating the rules for using EBT can be tricky. So, let’s break down what you can and can’t buy with EBT at Costco.

The Basics of Shopping With EBT at Costco

Cosco shopping

Costco accepts EBT for in-store purchases at all its locations. Unfortunately, the rules don’t extend to online shopping or the food court.

Your EBT card won’t work for those delicious Costco hot dogs or pizzas, nor can you use it on Costco.com. It’s strictly an in-store deal, folks.

What’s Eligible for Purchase with EBT?

Now, let’s talk about what you can actually buy. The USDA has guidelines that dictate what’s DEBT-eligible. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Meat, Poultry, and Fish: Stock up on proteins like chicken, beef, pork, and seafood.
  • Dairy Products: Milk, cheese, yogurt, and more fall under this category.
  • Bread and Cereals: Think of all those bulk packs of bread, cereals, and rice.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh, frozen, or canned, your choice.
  • Snack Foods: Chips, nuts, and other packaged snacks.
  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Soda, juice, coffee, and tea are good to go.
  • Seeds and Plants: If you’re into gardening, you can buy seeds and plants that produce food.

What You Can’t Buy

  • Alcohol and Tobacco: Not happening. EBT funds cannot be used for booze or smokes.
  • Hot Ready-to-Eat Foods: That rotisserie chicken or those ready-to-eat meals are off-limits.
  • Nonfood Items: No paper towels, pet food, or household supplies.
  • Live Animals: So, those live lobsters? Nope, not with EBT.

Making the Most of Your EBT at Costco

Costco is all about bulk shopping, and that can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. The key to maximizing your EBT benefits is to plan ahead and shop smart. Here are some tips:

1. Shop with a List

Walking into Costco without a list is a rookie mistake. With so many tempting options, it’s easy to get sidetracked. A list keeps you focused on what you actually need.

2. Bulk Up Wisely

Buying in bulk can save money in the long run, but only if you can actually use or store the items. Don’t buy a five-gallon tub of mayonnaise if you won’t use it before it goes bad.

3. Compare Prices

Not everything at Costco is a bargain. Sometimes, smaller quantities at other stores are cheaper. Compare unit prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

4. Think Long-Term

Focus on items with a long shelf life. Canned goods, dry pasta, rice, and frozen foods are great choices for stretching your EBT dollars.

The landscape of EBT and SNAP benefits is changing. While Costco doesn’t accept EBT for online purchases, other major retailers like Amazon and Walmart have started.

It’s a sign of the times, adapting to technological advancements and evolving shopping habits.

Future Changes

john doe card

There’s an ongoing discussion about expanding EBT’s usability. As online shopping becomes more prevalent, there’s a push to make EBT more flexible.

Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to use your EBT card at Costco.com.

Eligibility and Application

Eligibility for an EBT card varies by state, but it generally involves meeting specific income and resource criteria.

If you think you might qualify, check with your state’s welfare department. The process usually involves an application and an interview.

Final Words

Shopping at Costco with an EBT card is a great way to take advantage of bulk buying and save money. Just remember the rules about what you can and can’t purchase. Plan ahead, shop smart, and make the most of your benefits.

As the world of EBT continues to evolve, keep an eye out for new opportunities and changes that could make your shopping experience even better.