Yes, it is tempting to buy 96 cans of chicken noodle soup, but you aren’t saving any money if you end up throwing it out because a year and a half later you notice it has expired. So how can you ensure you don’t end up wasting food because it has expired without you realizing it?
Here are some ideas that can help you ensure you use up your goods before it expires, or gives you enough time to donate it to a food bank before it does.
Check dates when buying
It is not unusual for there to be a wide variety of expiry dates for the same product on the shelf. Most grocery stores will put the ones with the later expiry dates at the back of the shelf. When you are stockpiling, check the dates for the ones at the front and the back then pick the ones with the later expiry dates.
Just as grocery stores rotate their expiry dates, you should do it too. When you buy a new supply of spaghetti sauce or soup, check the expiry dates and rotate the ones with the furthest away dates to the back and ones that will expire sooner to the front. This will ensure you are always using the ones that will expire first before ones that will expire later.
Buy small dot stickers in a variety of colors. You can add put a different colored sticker for the year a product expires, such as yellow for anything with a 2011 expiry, orange for 2012, etc. You can even break it down that once it becomes the current year that you add a second dot for each month. Or you could use a larger bright color circle and write the month on it.
Some people write the dates larger in sharpie on the top of each can. The only downfall to this is that it can sometimes be hard to read, especially when the items are at the backs of shelves where it is darker.
When products get closer to their expiry date and you know you won’t use them before then – or it is a product for whatever reason you know you won’t use – donate them to your local food bank or donate to families you know who need the food. Don’t give them to the food bank the same month they expire (unless they have told you otherwise), but a few months in advance is great.