Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Expiration Dates

Collin at Hip2Save posted this and I thought it would be a great addition to my Wednesday Words of Wisdom section. This should help you figure out how much to stockpile.

Most products include either a:

“Sell-By” date: Tells the store how long to display the product for sale. Be sure to buy the product BEFORE the date expires.

“Best if Used By (or Before)” date: Recommended for best flavor or quality. It is NOT a purchase or safety date.

“Use-By” date: Last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality as determined by the manufacturer of the product.

How long can I safely use…


* Milk:
If stored around 37 degrees Fahrenheit, pasteurized milk will remain fresh for 2-5 days after its sell-by date.

* Meat:
All meat (whether it’s ground hamburger or a steak) should be eaten or placed in the freezer within 2 days of purchase. Even if the sell-by date is five days away, the refrigerator at home usually isn’t cool enough to keep the meat fresh for more than two days. Frozen ground meat should be used within 3 months. Pork holds for 6 months. Beef, lamb, veal, and venison last 8 to 12 months in the freezer.

* Chicken:
Chicken should be cooked or frozen within 2 days of purchase. Poultry and other birds last about 12 months in the freezer. Do NOT that chicken on the kitchen counter as bacteria multiply very rapidly at room temperature. The safest way to thaw poultry or meat is to defrost it by placing the package in the refrigerator immediately after removing it from the freezer or by placing the package under cold running water.

* Canned Foods:
Be sure to store them below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, high-acid canned foods such as tomatoes, grapefruit and pineapple can be stored on the shelf 12 to 18 months; low-acid canned foods such as meat, poultry, fish and most vegetables will keep 2 to 5 years.

* Cake Mix, Pasta, Cookies:
Store in a cool, dry storage place and they will last up to six months from the date of purchase

* Cereal:
Edible 2-3 months after being opened in a dry room.

* Cold Cuts/Hot Dogs:
Discard them as soon as they reach their expiration dates

* Soft Cheese (i.e. Brie and Camembert):
Eat within three to four days of opening.

* Hard Cheese:
Last up to three weeks and can also be frozen up to six months.

* Eggs:
Properly refrigerated and handled, eggs are considered safe for consumption for four to five weeks beyond the sell-by date. Did you know that you should refrigerate the eggs in their original carton and place them in the coldest part of the refrigerator, not in the door?!


* Liquid Foundation:
3-6 months (Cream foundation can last 4-6 months)

* Concealer:
6-8 months

* Powders:
1 year

* Mascara:
3 months (I am guilty of keeping my mascara much longer than 3 months )

* Lip gloss & Lipstick:
1 year

* Eye/Lip Pencils:
1 year (Sharpen pencils at least once a week to prevent bacteria from being transferred to your eye area)

* Facial Cleansers & Moisturizers:
6 months

* Facial Toners:
1 year

* Body lotion:
2 to 3 years, particularly if it’s in a pump container.

* Shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel:
About 3 years.

* Sunscreen:
Check the package for an expiration date.

* Perfume:
About two years if you stash it away in a cool, dark place.

* Nail polish:

* Hairstyling products:
3 to 5 years. Most are alcohol-based, which helps preserve the

* Bar soap:
Up to 3 years.

* Shaving cream:
About 2 years.

* Deodorant:
Up to 2 years.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full Disclosure Policy


  1. Anonymous says:

    Please note to your readers that pancake and cake mixes should never be used past their expiration date, these packages contain enzymes that can be fatal if used past the recommended date.

  2. Anonymous says:


    Words like *most likely* and *average* in your post are frightening.


  3. supersaversarah says:

    Anon, those items are only fatal to those that have sensitives to certain things. I agree it's not worth taking the risk for a $1 box of pancake mix, but most likely the average person wouldn't have a problem. :)

  4. This is good info….thanks!

  5. Did you know that nail polish lasts an extra long time if you store it in the refrigerator?? :)

Speak Your Mind