Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Stock Up, But Don't Let It Go Bad

My mom, a faith Save 4 Fun reader, pointed out to me today after reading What's For Dinner? that you do have to be careful when stocking up on sale items: don't let the food expire. That's never really been a problem for me because I have limited pantry and freezer space. So, I do stock up on sale items, but I can usually very easily use them over the course of several months (before they pass their expiration dates). However, if you do buy a whole bunch of food on sale and then let it go bad, there's no savings there at all...in fact, there's a loss.

How can you prevent this problem?

Last year when Rite Aid bought out Eckerd, they had to unload all of the Eckerd brand products before Rite Aid hung their sign out front. For several weeks they offered 50% off on Eckerd products. So, I stocked up on calcium supplements and multivitamins which I take daily. However, before I bought them, I checked the expiration dates to make sure I could use 6 bottles before they were old. The vitamins had various expiration dates, so I chose the ones with the dates that were farthest into the future. I did a little mental math and realized that I would be able to use them in time. So, that's one way to work around this problem.

In my vitamin example, the ones I bought had different dates. So, I lined them up in my cabinet with the ones closest to expiring in the front and the ones with the far-away dates in the back. It's simply rotating your inventory just like a grocery store does with their food, so that the oldest products are sold/used first.

In the case of non-perishable and frozen foods, know what you have and how much longer you can keep it. If it's getting close to expiring, plug whatever you need to use soon into AllRecipes.com's ingredient search and find out what's for dinner tonight!

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1 comment:

Kate said...

That's an excellent idea! I already do it with milk and OJ (directly behind the old one like at the store), so this totally makes sense.