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Extreme Couponers Are Extreme Wasters

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
Cereal 6 months
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
Honey Indefinite
Ice Cream 1 month
Laundry Detergent (liquid or powder) Unopened 9 months to 1 year. Opened 6 months
Lipstick 2 years
Lotion 3 years
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
Mouthwash 3 years
Mr. Clean 2 years
Mustard 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
Pickles 18 months
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
Syrups 1 year
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
Windex 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
Vinegar 42 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.

Keeping Money in Your Pocket,

Nancy Patterson


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