Can You Buy 5 Gallon Water Jugs with Food Stamps? Exploring the Eligible Items for SNAP Benefits

Have you ever found yourself in need of a 5-gallon water jug, but not sure if you can purchase it with your food stamps? Well, the answer is yes – you can use food stamps to buy a 5-gallon water jug. Water is considered a necessity and therefore can be purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This is great news for individuals or families who rely on food stamps and need access to clean drinking water.

It’s important to note that the water jug must meet specific criteria to be eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits. The water must be intended for human consumption and be either labeled as “drinking water” or have a nutrition facts label. Additionally, the water jug must be at least one gallon in size. So next time you’re at the grocery store or your local water store, don’t hesitate to grab that 5-gallon water jug – it’s just as eligible for purchase as any other food item.

Having access to clean drinking water is essential, and SNAP benefits make it possible for those in need to purchase necessities like water jugs with ease. So go ahead and stock up on water with your food stamps – it’s a smart and healthy choice for you and your family. Remember to read the labels carefully and choose water that meets the eligibility criteria, then sit back and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having access to clean drinking water.

SNAP Program Eligibility

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program that helps low-income individuals and families purchase food. In order to be eligible for SNAP benefits, individuals must meet certain requirements regarding income, citizenship status, and other factors.

  • Income: Individuals must earn no more than 130% of the federal poverty level to be eligible for SNAP benefits. For 2021, this means a maximum gross monthly income of $1,383 for a single person or $2,833 for a family of four.
  • Citizenship status: In order to receive SNAP benefits, individuals must be U.S. citizens or legal immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years.
  • Residency: Individuals must live in the state where they are applying for benefits.
  • Work requirements: Able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who do not have dependents may be subject to work requirements in order to receive SNAP benefits. These requirements vary by state.

Additionally, households must provide certain information in order to apply for SNAP benefits, including proof of income, expenses, and other household information. Once approved for SNAP benefits, individuals can use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to purchase eligible food items.

Types of items covered by SNAP

SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is a federal program that provides assistance to low-income families and individuals in the form of food benefits. The program is meant to help ensure that everyone, regardless of their income, has access to the food they need to live a healthy life. There are certain types of items that are covered by SNAP benefits, which we will discuss in this article.

Eligible Food Items

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Bread and cereals
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Seeds and plants for home gardens that produce food for consumption

These items are all considered eligible food items under SNAP guidelines. Essentially, SNAP benefits can be used to purchase any food item that is intended for human consumption. This includes both raw ingredients and prepared foods. However, there are some restrictions on what can be purchased using SNAP benefits.

Non-Eligible Food Items

SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase any non-food items, such as cleaning supplies, paper products, or toiletries. Additionally, SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase any hot foods, such as those served at a restaurant or from a food truck.

To ensure that SNAP benefits are used for their intended purpose, there are also restrictions on what types of prepared foods can be purchased. For example, pre-made sandwiches that are meant to be consumed immediately cannot be purchased using SNAP benefits, but a loaf of bread and deli meat can be purchased.

It’s worth noting that there are some exceptions to these restrictions. For example, hot foods can be purchased using SNAP benefits in certain circumstances, like during a natural disaster or power outage when the person has no way to cook food. The specific guidelines for SNAP benefits vary by state, so it’s important to check with your state’s SNAP program to understand the rules in your area.


Overall, SNAP benefits can be used to purchase a wide variety of food items, from fresh produce to canned goods to dairy products. These benefits are intended to help low-income families and individuals access the food they need to live a healthy life. While there are some restrictions on what can be purchased using SNAP benefits, the program is designed to be as flexible as possible while still ensuring that the benefits are used for their intended purpose.

Eligible Food Items Non-Eligible Food Items
Fruits and vegetables Cleaning supplies
Bread and cereals Paper products
Meat, poultry, and fish Toiletries
Dairy products Hot foods ready to eat
Seeds and plants for home gardens that produce food for consumption

Here’s a quick overview of the eligible and non-eligible food items under SNAP guidelines:

Purchasing restrictions for SNAP recipients

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, commonly known as food stamp recipients, can purchase certain food items using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. However, there are some restrictions in place to ensure that the program is being used as intended. Here are some of those restrictions:

  • Non-food items: SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase non-food items such as cleaning products, paper goods, and pet food.
  • Alcohol and tobacco: SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase alcoholic beverages or tobacco products. These items are not considered essential for a healthy diet.
  • Hot food: Generally, SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase hot prepared foods. This includes items such as hot deli sandwiches or hot pizza. However, there are exceptions for certain groups, such as the elderly, disabled, and homeless.
  • Large sizes or quantities: SNAP benefits cannot be used to purchase items in large sizes or quantities such as party platters or bulk cases of soda. This is to prevent the misuse of the program and ensure that benefits are being used for individual or household consumption.

Can you buy 5 gallon water jugs with food stamps?

The purchase of 5-gallon water jugs is allowed under the SNAP program. However, there are some restrictions on the purchase of bottled water in general. SNAP recipients can only purchase bottled water if it is intended for human consumption and does not contain any added sweeteners or flavors. Any water intended for pets or plants is not eligible for purchase using SNAP benefits.

Eligible items for purchase with SNAP benefits Ineligible items for purchase with SNAP benefits
Fruits and vegetables Non-food items (cleaning products, paper goods, pet food)
Meat, poultry, and fish Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products
Dairy products Hot prepared foods (with some exceptions)
Grains and cereals Large sizes or quantities
Bottled water (for human consumption, without added sweeteners or flavors) Items not intended for individual or household consumption

It is important for SNAP recipients to understand the program’s restrictions to avoid any misuse of the benefits and ensure that they are being used to purchase essential food items for their household.

Overview of the 5 gallon water jug industry

The 5 gallon water jug industry is a rapidly growing market that caters to individuals and businesses who require access to clean drinking water. These jugs are made from various materials such as plastic, glass, and stainless steel. They come in different shapes, colors, and sizes. In this article, we will take a closer look at the industry’s history, market trends, and key players.

History of the 5 gallon water jug industry

  • The 5 gallon water jug industry originated in the late 1800s when glass bottles were used for water delivery.
  • In the mid-1900s, plastic became the preferred material due to its lightweight and durable nature.
  • Recent years have seen the emergence of stainless steel jugs, which provide a more sustainable and eco-friendly option.

Market Trends

The 5 gallon water jug industry has experienced significant growth over the years. The global market size was valued at USD 12.2 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 18.3 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.1% from 2020 to 2027. The increasing demand for clean drinking water due to the rising population and urbanization has been a major driving force behind this growth.

The industry has also seen a shift towards more sustainable and eco-friendly options. Customers are now more aware of the impact of plastic on the environment and are choosing alternatives such as glass and stainless steel.

Key Players in the Industry

The 5 gallon water jug industry has several key players, including:

Company Product Material
Nestle Waters Poland Spring Plastic
Primo Water Corporation Primo Water Plastic and Stainless Steel
Crystal Springs Crystal Springs Plastic and Glass

These companies offer a range of products and materials to cater to different customer needs. They also provide home delivery and pickup services to make it more convenient for customers to access clean drinking water.

Cost Comparison for 5 Gallon Water Jugs

Many people who receive food stamps often wonder if they can use them to buy 5-gallon water jugs. The simple answer is yes, they can. However, when it comes to purchasing large quantities of water, it’s important to take a closer look at the cost comparison of buying 5-gallon water jugs versus other options available.

Comparing The Cost of Purchasing Water by The Gallon vs. 5-Gallon Water Jugs

  • The price of bottled water can vary depending on the brand and size of the bottle, but it typically ranges from $0.50 to $1.50 per gallon.
  • When it comes to 5-gallon water jugs, the price can range from $6 to $10 per jug depending on brand and location.
  • If you’re wondering if you can save money by purchasing water in bulk, then the answer is a definite yes. When you buy a 5-gallon water jug, you’re essentially getting water at a lower price per gallon compared to bottled water.

Additional Costs to Consider When Buying 5-Gallon Water Jugs

While the cost of 5-gallon water jugs may be cheaper than buying water by the gallon, there are some additional costs that you should keep in mind:

  • If you don’t own a water dispenser, you’ll need to purchase one to store and dispense the water. Water dispensers can range from $20 to $200 depending on the type and brand.
  • If you don’t have transportation, buying and transporting 5-gallon water jugs can be difficult and even costly if you don’t have access to a car or truck.
  • You will also need to factor in the time and effort of refilling and replacing those heavy jugs every time you run out of water.


If you’re looking to save money on water, buying 5-gallon water jugs is certainly a good option to consider, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Just be sure to factor in the additional costs that come along with it, such as purchasing a water dispenser and transportation. It’s also important to keep in mind that the environment may suffer from the heavy use of plastic jugs.

Brand Price per 5-gallon jug
Arrowhead $6.99
Zephyrhills $7.99
Nestle Pure Life $8.99

Note: Prices may vary depending on the location or retailer.

Availability of 5 Gallon Water Jugs at Grocery Stores

In recent years, the demand for bulk water purchases has increased, resulting in a surge of availability at grocery stores.

  • Grocery chains like Walmart and Safeway often have a dedicated water section where 5-gallon jugs can be found.
  • Membership stores like Costco and Sam’s Club also sell 5-gallon water jugs at discounted prices.
  • Some convenience stores and gas stations may also carry 5-gallon jugs, but at a higher price point.

It is important to note that availability may vary depending on location and store. It is recommended to call ahead or check the store’s website before making a trip solely for water jug purchases.

In addition to in-store purchases, some grocery stores may also offer delivery or pickup services for 5-gallon water jugs. This allows for the convenience of purchasing in bulk without having to physically transport the heavy jugs.

Grocery Chain Availability
Walmart Dedicated water section
Safeway Dedicated water section
Costco Discounted prices for members
Sam’s Club Discounted prices for members

Overall, 5-gallon water jugs are readily available at a variety of grocery stores. It is important to check for availability and pricing ahead of time to ensure a smooth purchasing experience.

Alternative methods for obtaining clean water with SNAP benefits

Access to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right. Unfortunately, many low-income households struggle to obtain this basic necessity. The good news is that there are alternative ways for households to use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to access clean water. Here are some alternative methods:

  • Water Filtration Systems: Water filtration systems are designed to remove impurities and contaminants from water. These systems come in various sizes and configurations to fit different households’ needs. With SNAP benefits, households can purchase water filtration systems for their homes, making it easier to access clean water.
  • Bulk Water Delivery: Bulk water delivery services provide clean drinking water in large quantities. These services are especially useful for households in areas where tap water is contaminated or in emergency situations when tap water is unavailable. With SNAP benefits, households can pay for bulk water delivery services, making it easier to access clean water.
  • Bottled Water: Bottled water is a convenient and portable way to access clean water. Although it is more expensive than tap water, households can use SNAP benefits to purchase bottled water in cases, making it an affordable alternative to tap water.

SNAP benefits do not cover the purchase of 5-gallon water jugs. However, households can use their benefits to purchase water filtration systems, bulk water delivery services, and bottled water as alternative methods to obtain clean water.

It is essential to note that while alternative methods may be helpful, they are not a long-term solution to accessing clean water. Households experiencing ongoing water insecurity should seek assistance from local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and advocacy groups to address the root cause of the issue.

Alternative Methods for Obtaining Clean Water with SNAP Benefits Pros Cons
Water Filtration Systems – Removes impurities and contaminants from tap water
– Easy to install and use
– Long-term solution
– Upfront cost can be expensive
– Regular maintenance is required
Bulk Water Delivery Services – Provides clean water in large quantities
– Useful for emergency situations
– No installation required
– Cost may vary depending on the provider
– Delivery may take time
Bottled Water – Convenient and portable
– Affordable alternative to tap water in cases
– Generates plastic waste
– More expensive than tap water in the long run

In conclusion, households can use their SNAP benefits to access clean water through alternative methods, such as water filtration systems, bulk water delivery services, and bottled water. While these methods may be helpful, they do not solve the issue of water insecurity in the long term. Households should seek assistance from local government agencies, non-profit organizations, and advocacy groups to address the root cause of the issue.

Potential health risks associated with drinking water from 5 gallon jugs.

Drinking clean and safe water is essential for maintaining good health. However, using 5-gallon water jugs may pose several potential health risks that consumers should be aware of. Here are some of them:

  • Contamination: The water inside 5-gallon jugs may become contaminated if not stored correctly. The jugs may contain bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that can cause illness when ingested.
  • Chemical leaching: Jugs made of certain plastics may leach harmful chemicals such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates into the water, particularly if the jugs are exposed to high temperatures or sunlight.
  • Poor quality water: Some companies may use low-quality sources of water and fail to properly treat the water before packaging it into 5-gallon jugs. This can result in water that is not pure and safe for consumption.

To avoid potential health risks associated with drinking water from 5-gallon jugs, consumers should take the following precautions:

  • Always purchase water from a reputable company that follows safe and high-quality standards in water sourcing, treatment, and packaging.
  • Store the jugs in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
  • Regularly clean the jugs with soap and hot water to prevent contamination.
  • Consider switching to alternative sources of safe and sustainable drinking water, such as filtered tap water or reusable water bottles.

Water quality testing and certification

To ensure the safety and quality of the water they consume, consumers can opt for water testing and certification programs offered by independent organizations such as NSF International, the Water Quality Association (WQA), and the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA). These programs test water samples from various sources and brands for contaminants, pH levels, and other factors that affect water quality, and certify the products that meet their standards.

Water filtration systems

Another way to ensure that the water you consume is safe and clean is to install a water filtration system in your home or workplace. Water filtration systems can remove impurities, bacteria, and chemicals from tap water, providing you with a reliable and sustainable source of safe drinking water. There are various types of water filtration systems available, such as activated carbon filters, reverse osmosis systems, and ultraviolet disinfection systems, each with their advantages and limitations.

Type of filtration system Advantages Limitations
Activated carbon filters Removes chlorine, some chemicals, and bad taste and odor from water. Affordable and easy to install. May not remove all contaminants, may require frequent filter replacements, may not work with hard water.
Reverse osmosis systems Removes a wide range of contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, and minerals. Provides high-quality water. May waste water during the filtration process, may require professional installation and maintenance, may remove beneficial minerals from water.
Ultraviolet disinfection systems Kills bacteria and viruses in water without using chemicals. Easy to install and maintain. May not remove other types of contaminants, may require pre-filtration for best results.

Consult with a qualified water professional or do your research to determine which filtration system is best suited for your specific needs and budget.

Sustainability concerns with the use of plastic 5 gallon water jugs

The use of plastic 5 gallon water jugs has become a major sustainability concern in recent years. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Plastic waste: Plastic is a non-biodegradable material, which means that it cannot be broken down by natural processes. When 5 gallon water jugs made of plastic are disposed of, they end up in landfills or, worse, in oceans, where they cause irreparable damage to the environment. This problem is particularly pressing given that plastic pollution is a leading cause of marine life endangerment.
  • Carbon footprint: 5 gallon water jugs that are made of plastic require a significant amount of energy to manufacture and transport. The production of the plastic itself contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and shipping the jugs to different locations further adds to their carbon footprint. Given the significant amount of energy required to create these jugs, it is important to find ways to minimize their use and explore more sustainable alternatives.
  • Miscellaneous risks: In addition to environmental concerns, there are also other health and safety risks associated with the use of plastic 5 gallon water jugs. For example, if they are not handled properly, they may result in contamination and lead to serious health problems. With this in mind, it is crucial to use these jugs only in ways that are safe and sustainable.

The Bottom Line

5 gallon water jugs made of plastic are convenient and readily available, but they also come with a considerable environmental footprint and inherent risks. To minimize their use and promote sustainability, it is important to explore more eco-friendly alternatives, such as glass or stainless steel jugs. By taking such measures, we can promote a cleaner and greener future for all.

Alternatives to plastic 5 gallon water jugs

Here are some more sustainable alternatives to plastic 5 gallon water jugs:

  • Glass water jugs: Glass is a safe and eco-friendly material that can be used repeatedly without generating waste. The only downside is that glass jugs are heavier and may be more fragile than their plastic counterparts.
  • Stainless steel water jugs: Like glass, stainless steel is a non-toxic and eco-friendly material that can be reused repeatedly. It is also lightweight, durable, and easy to clean.
  • Filtered water pitchers: Another option is to use a filtered water pitcher. These pitchers can be used to store and filter tap water, eliminating the need to buy pre-bottled water altogether.

Comparing the environmental impact of plastic, glass, and stainless-steel jugs

Material Energy to produce Environmental impact Reusable
Plastic High Contributes to pollution and waste Yes, but may wear out or degrade over time
Glass High, but can be recycled indefinitely Non-toxic and eco-friendly, but may break easily Yes
Stainless Steel Moderate Durable and non-toxic, but not biodegradable Yes

When it comes to sustainability, glass and stainless steel jugs are better options than plastic. While glass jugs require more energy to produce, they are easily recyclable and can be used repeatedly without degrading. Stainless steel jugs are not biodegradable but are durable and non-toxic, making them a better choice than plastic in the long run.

Accessibility of Water Filtration Systems for Low-Income Households

In many low-income households, access to clean drinking water is a luxury that they cannot afford. While buying bottled water may be an option, it can quickly become a financial burden. Water filtration systems, on the other hand, provide a cost-effective and sustainable solution for low-income households. However, the initial cost of purchasing and installing a filtration system can still be out of reach for many families.

  • Government Assistance Programs – To address this issue, government assistance programs are available to help low-income households get access to clean drinking water. These programs can help with the purchase and installation of a water filtration system.
  • Nonprofit Organizations – Nonprofit organizations also play a crucial role in providing water filtration systems to low-income households. These organizations partner with local communities and government agencies to provide access to clean drinking water.
  • Community Support – In some cases, community support through donations or volunteer work can also help low-income households get access to water filtration systems. This support can help reduce the financial burden of purchasing and installing a water filtration system.

While these solutions can help make water filtration systems more accessible to low-income households, there is still a need for more widespread implementation. It is important to address the underlying issues of poverty and inequality that contribute to the lack of access to clean drinking water for low-income households.

Below is a table summarizing some of the assistance programs and nonprofit organizations that are available to help low-income households get access to water filtration systems:

Program/Organization Services Provided Contact Information
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Offers financial assistance for the purchase and installation of a water filtration system Website:
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Provides funding for community-led water filtration system projects Website: Partner with local organizations to provide access to clean drinking water through sustainable solutions, including water filtration systems Website:
Water Mission Provides sustainable water solutions, including water filtration systems, to communities in need Website:

It is crucial that we continue to address the issue of accessibility to clean drinking water for low-income households. By providing access to affordable and sustainable water filtration systems, we can help ensure that everyone has access to the basic human right of clean drinking water.

Stay Hydrated with 5 Gallon Water Jugs on Food Stamps

We hope that this article has helped you understand whether or not you can purchase 5 gallon water jugs with your food stamps. Remember, staying hydrated is crucial for your health and well-being. Always check with your local retailer to confirm their policies on food stamp purchases before making any transactions. Thank you for reading and we hope to see you back here again soon for more informative articles. Stay healthy and hydrated!