Saving Money

Would You Buy Expired Food To Save Money?

expired food, saving money on food, buying expired food

It happens to me frequently. I pull out a loaf of bread, or what’s left of a gallon of milk only to find the expiration date has passed. I visually inspect whatever it is I’m holding, then give it a good sniff. If it passes those two tests, what I do next really depends upon it’s purpose. If it’s for my wife, I don’t use it. Ever. If she finds out I gave her expired food she mystically and immediately doesn’t feel well. If it’s for me, down the hatch it goes.


But is it safe to consume expired food?

I saw a story on the morning news this week that gave some very interesting facts on expired food. It’s estimated that 40% of all food produced in the US is wasted due to food passing the expiration date, costing the average household nearly $1500 a year.

That’s a lot of rotten tomatoes.

The story went on to report that there’s really no science behind the date you see on the package other than the manufacturer’s best guess as to when the product may be at it’s peak freshness and quality. You should really check your products for freshness by visually inspecting and smelling your products even if it’s within the expiration date.

There’s no guarantee that the product will be good all the way up to the expiration date.

There’s also no magic fairy that goes around and causes food to spoil right on the expiration date. In fact, many products are just fine long after the printed date. It is for this reason that there are stores popping up across the country that specialize in selling expired food products at deep discounts.

For example, a package of ground coffee that sells for $8.99 at a grocery store is priced at $3.99 at one of the discount stores. At the same store, a box of crackers past it’s expiration date that normally sells for $4.21 is discounted to 2 for $1.

They do not sell expired meat products as that has more serious health concerns, whereas I guess expired coffee or crackers would just run the possibility of being stale or not quite at it’s peak freshness.

My question for you, Clever friends, is would you buy expired food if it would save you money? If one of these stores were near me, I would check it out in a heartbeat, how about you?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • I will -depending on what it is and who is going to eat it. I won’t give expired food to the kids because I don’t trust their stomachs. I will eat it if it is not obviously spoiled. I have never had a problem. I am more nervous about eating food that was prepared somewhere else because you never know how it was handled.

  • Here in the UK we have ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’. Best before is fine to be used after the date. Use by you typically adhere too but use common sense. Is if it’s meat it’s usually use by but it’s not off bang on that time.

  • If it’s something that will just go stale, then I think it’s just fine to buy it and consume it. As you suggested, though, you should look at all of your food to make sure it’s still good, regardless of the date on the package. I once had a block of cheese that had not been sealed properly (the vacuum sealing had not been completed), so even though it was a month away from the stamped expiration date, it was very much not good once we opened it.

  • I don’t mind eating food past it’s “expiration” or “best by” date. My mom refuses, so I don’t feed it to her. But, as long as it passes my visual and sniff tests I will usually eat it. I don’t buy it when it’s already expired (there’s not store around here that sells the expired stuff), but I will keep it and eat it if it’s past the dates on its packaging. Why waste it if it’s still good but just a touch past the prime usage date?

  • @May – it certainly depends upon the product as well for me. Bread that’s a day or two past the due date? If it looks good, I’m serving it. Crackers and chips? Yup. Meat and dairy products I’m a little more leery about….

  • @David – We have a “purchase by” and a “use by” date here in the states. The “purchase by” date is very confusing to me – if I buy it by that date, how long do I have to use it? That’s why the sniff and visual test is so important!

  • @David – that’s an interesting perspective… usually thinks of kids’ stomachs as being less able to fend off such things. I think my hesitation would be rooted more in just not wanting to be responsible for making them sick. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • @Moneybeagle – good point – always check the seal! If you think about it, it’s kind of like a can of soda. It’ll last a long time if the seal is good, but if the seal popped, the soda is flat and crappy. Thanks for reading!

  • @Kayla – we used to have a hostess store that would sell expired, or nearly expired, hostess products. I could get really cheap bread and buns for large gatherings, or cookies and pies and all that kind of stuff for almost nothing. Never had any problems. I’d LOVE to check out one of these stores and see what the products look like! Thanks for your comment!

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