Over the past two years I’ve written several times about extreme couponing and buying in bulk. It’s a hot topic. Everyone wants to save money where they can and the grocery store is not immune to that fact.
My opinion on the fad (and it is just that) is slightly more horrified than excited. To me a show like TLC’s Extreme Couponers is just an episode of hoarding done with groceries. The characters on these shows are INSANE. They dumpster dive, they spend 40+ hours a week working on their trips, they create elaborate filing systems for their coupons, and stress themselves and their family members out with their crazy behaviors and habits.
Every show or documentary I watch about creating a grocery stockpile makes me shake my head in disappointment. It’s not because I think they spend WAY too much time on their task or because they go to extreme measures to find good deals, it’s because I think of how much of they are wasting.
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And yes these people are ABSOLUTELY wasting their money. Creating a stockpile of goods through the use of coupons can be good, but not the way it is portrayed on TV currently. These contestants are doing it all wrong.
How are they doing it wrong? They are stockpiling goods that will expire on them before they use it. And no matter how good of a deal you got it for, if you have to throw it out because the item has expired or gone bad, then you have wasted your money. I’ve never seen anybody on TV check the expiration or shelf life of an item before putting every last one of them in their cart. Items like cereal, pasta, batteries, even toothpaste have a shelf life. Some shorter than others.
I’ve compiled a list of expiration dates on items we use every day. Take a look, before you fill your cart with 30 tubes of toothpaste or 50 boxes of pasta.
|Aerosol Air Freshener||2 years|
|Antifreeze||1 to 5 years|
|Baking Powder/Soda||18 months|
|Bar of Soap||18 months to 3 years|
|Batteries (alkaline)||7 years|
|Batteries (lithium)||10 years|
|Beer||Unopened 4 months|
|Bleach||3 to 6 months|
|Body Wash||3 years|
|Bread Crumbs||6 months|
|Brown Sugar||4 months|
|Butter, Margarine||6 to 9 months|
|Cake Mix||1 year|
|Cheese, hard||6 months|
|Conditioner and Shampoo||2 to 3 years|
|Chicken, kept frozen||6 to 9 months|
|Deodorant||Unopened 2 years. Used 1 to 2 years|
|Dish Soap||1 year|
|Dried pasta||1 to 3 years|
|Eggs, kept refrigerated||3 to 5 weeks|
|Facial Lotion||3 years|
|Fire extinguisher||6 to 12 years|
|Foundation||2 to 3 years|
|Frozen Dinner||Unopened 12 to 18 months|
|Ground Beef||3 to 4 months|
|Hair spray and gel||2 to 3 years|
|Ice Cream||1 month|
|Laundry Detergent (liquid or powder)||Unopened 9 months to 1 year. Opened 6 months|
|Maple Syrup||1 year|
|Maraschino Cherries||Unopened 3 to 4 years. Opened 2 weeks at room temperature, 6 months refrigerated|
|Marshmallows||Unopened 40 weeks. Opened 3 months|
|Mayonnaise||Unopened indefinitely. Opened 2 to 3 months from “purchase by” date|
|Mascara||Unopened 2 years. Opened 3 to 4 months.|
|Metal polish||At least 3 years|
|Miracle Grow||Opened 3 to 8 years|
|Motor oil||Unopened 2 to 5 years. Opened 3 months|
|Mr. Clean||2 years|
|Nail Polish||1 year|
|Nail Polish Remover||Indefinitely|
|Olive Oil||2 years from manufacturer’s date|
|Paint||Unopened up to 10 years. Opened 2 to 5 years|
|Peanuts||Unopened 1 to 2 years unless frozen or refrigerated. Opened 1 to 2 weeks in airtight container|
|Peanut Butter||Unopened 2 years. Opened 6 months, refrigerate after 3 months|
|Perfume||1 to 2 years|
|Pledge wood polish||2 years|
|Pork chops, kept frozen||4 to 6 months|
|Pudding mix||1 year|
|Rubbing Alcohol||3 years|
|Salad Dressing||Unopened 12 months after “best by” date. Opened 9 months refrigerated|
|Shaving Cream||2 years|
|Soda (glass or cans)||9 months from “best buy” date|
|Soft Drink (from a plastic jug)||Unopened 3 months from “best by” date|
|Soy Sauce||Unopened 2 years. Opened 3 months|
|Spices, dried herbs||1 to 3 years|
|Spray paint||2 to 3 years|
|Steaks, kept frozen||6 to 12 months|
|Steak Sauce||33 months|
|Sugar, granulated||2 years|
|Tabasco Sauce||5 years|
|Teeth Whitening Strips||13 months|
|Tuna (canned)||Unopened 1 year from purchase date. Opened 3 to 4 days|
|White Rice||2 years|
|Wine (red or white)||Unopened 3 years from vintage date, 20 to 100 years for fine wines. Opened 1 week refrigerated, must be corked|
|Worcestershire Sauce||Unopened 5 to 10 years. Opened 2 years|
|Vegetables, frozen||8 months|
You can see by this list that almost everything DOES have an expiration date. Those people who are buying 30 tubes of toothpaste will never use their entire stockpile before the product expires. They are wasting money by buying too much. Instead they should be buying enough to last them till the next sale or enough to get them through a certain number of months.
Next time you see a good deal on an item check out its expiration date first. Only buy as much as you can use before it goes bad. That way you won’t waste your money.
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