Thanks to Just Trying to Save Money for offering up her method to keep track of expiration dates in her stockpile.
How many times have you planned to use an item in your stockpile, only to start dinner and realize the product is expired or it has gone bad? Well here is an easy way to make sure you use your food before it goes bad or expires!
According to CBS News in 2009, the average American throws away $1200 in food each year. That is about 500 pounds of food! For our family budget that is like throwing away about 4 months worth of food! They also state that 15% of the food thrown away is still in the original package! What a waste! Not only from your pocket book but your time to shop, to purchase, to fill your pantry and then to clear out expired food from your pantry.
Our solution to this problem is a very simple one! Most all products that you purchase have an expiration date on them, but usually they are very tiny and hidden in random places on your packaging, making it hard to see when they expire. So what we do is label our food with the expiration date with a large black marker in plain site to make sure we use it before it expires. You can do this easily! As you are adding your products to your pantry, grab your maker and label it as you put them away. This is one added step to maintain with your grocery shopping but it will help you keep all those great deals that you just found from going bad.
Now we are not saying all food wasted in America is from expired food, some come from spoiled food, over cooking or picky eaters just not finishing the food on their plates. But if you can cut out the chance of you letting food go bad before you use it or donate it, then it will make a huge difference in your overall grocery budget. There are a few items that you will not be able to label, say fruits and veggies. But if you want to make sure you really use all of your produce before it goes bad, saving you big time on your budget, you could always put them in a ziploc bag and label them or even freeze it.
If I notice food getting ready to expire, I will try and incorporate it into our weekly meal plan.
Even if you picked up the food for free, it’s still a waste to throw something away because it expired before you could use it – or because you didn’t realize the product was about to expire. Personally, I rotate my items as I purchase (newer items in the back). I also check my stockpile every few months for items expiring within 3 months. I move those to a separate spot on the shelf and work to incorporate those items into meals.