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.

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – How Many Coupons Can I Use???

Using coupons along with a sale is the best way to get FANTASTIC deals. Many people are confused on just how many coupons they are allowed to use on deals so I will break it down in this post.

Here are some examples of what is allowed:

  • When buying one item, you are allowed to use one manuf coupon and one store coupon together (unless the coupon forbids it)
  • During a Buy One Get One sale, you are allowed to use 2 manuf coupons and 2 store coupons (some stores will say you can’t use a store coupon on the free item but that is rare)
  • On a Buy One Get One sale, you are allowed to use a BOGO coupon and get both items free (except tax if it applies)
  • When buying 2 products and using a BOGO coupon, you are also allowed to use a $ off coupon on the item that you are “buying”. —For example, a coupon says “Buy a razor and get a body wash free”. That coupon attaches to the body wash since you are getting that item free with the coupon. You are also allowed to use a $ off coupon on the razor since nowhere on the “Buy a Razor Get a body wash free” coupon does it say you have to pay full price for that razor. However, you can not use a BOGO coupon along with a $/2 coupon because the $/2 coupon attaches to both products. –For example, you can’t buy 2 body washes and use a BOGO coupon and a $4 off 2 coupon but you can use a BOGO coupon and a $2 off 1 coupon.
  • When buying 7 of the same product, you can use 7 coupons even if they say “one per purchase” (don’t allow cashiers to tell you differently). Each item is a purchase. One per transaction means you must ring them up in separate orders.

You can only use ONE manuf coupon per item. Some examples of different manuf coupons are: peelies, blinkies, insert coupons from Sunday’s paper, coupons from booklets or magazines, and internet printables. Since all of these are manuf coupons, you can not use 2 of them together on one item.

You can only use ONE store coupon per item. When a store (like Publix) accepts competitor coupons, these are also considered store coupons and you should not use another store coupon along with the competitor coupon. –For example, if you are buying an item, you should not use a Publix coupon along with a Target coupon because both are considered a store coupon. (this causes controversy with people for some reason)

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Ask to Check the Back or for a Rain Check

If you go into a store looking for an item on sale and the shelf is bare, always ask for them to check the back. 6 times out of 10 I have been successful at getting what I wanted. If they don’t have any in the back, ask for a rain check!!!

Most stores do give out rain checks, however some store do not offer them and some sales ads for certain items will specifically say “no rain checks” (even at stores that offer rain checks on other items).

Also most rain checks will have an expiration date so make sure you use it before it expires and make sure that if you are going to use a coupon for the sale, that the coupon will still be good by the time you use your rain check. If the coupon is about to expire, ask for them to write on the rain check that the coupon was good at the time you got the rain check (not all stores will do this).

***Just an FYI, I know for sure that Walgreen’s, CVS, Publix, Winn Dixie and Albertsons all give rain checks.

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Why You Should Buy Things You Don’t Need

I have been wanting a Lasko Wind Curve Platinum 42-Inch 3-Speed Tower Fan with Remote Control for awhile but they are between $50 and $60. This week I bought a ton of Ecotrin at different Walgreens on the way home from the Nick hotel trip (they were $2, I used a $2 coupon, paid NOTHING and got a $2 RR each time). At the end of the day I ended up with a LOT of $2 RRs and had spent NOTHING out of pocket.

Then the Neutrogena bar soap deal came up and I found several stores that had them so I turned my $2 RRs into $10 RRs.

Today Jeff and I were at another Walgreens (near the “cricket” pet store) and they had 6 more bar soaps (3 @ $2.99 and 3 @ $2.69). Then Jeff calls across the store for me and says “They have the Lasko tower fan here!!!!” I was so excited!!!

It was $54.99 so I added in 4 small packs of Fritos (99¢ each) and a Mt Dew 20 oz bottle ($1.49)

That made my subtotal $60.44 so I used 6 $10 RRs from the Neutrogena deal and paid 44¢ + tax.

So my point is… if I hadn’t bought the Ecotrin earlier in the week, I would not have been able to get the tower fan that I have wanted for FREE!!!

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Abbreviations Used in Coupon Blogs

AC = After Coupon
AFC = A Full Cup
AR = After Rebate
BLINKIES = coupons near products that come out of boxes (usually have a blinking light)
BOGO or B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
B&M; = Brick & Mortar (as opposed to an online store)
CAT or CATALINA = coupon dispensed at register after purchase
CRT = Cash register tape
DND = Do Not Double
DOUBLE COUPON = coupon that a grocery store doubles in value
ECB = Extra Care Bucks (from CVS)
FLIPS = Food Lion Internet Printables
GDA = Good Deal Alert
HBA = The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store
HCW = Hot Coupon World
IVC = Instant Value Coupon (found in Walgreen�s monthly coupon books)
IP = Internet Printable Coupon
MFG = Manufacturer�s Coupon
MIR = Mail In Rebate
NED = No expiration date
NBPN = No Beer Purchase Necessary
NWPN = No wine purchase necessary
OOP = Out of Pocket
OYNO = On your next order (deals with catalina coupons)
P&G; = Proctor & Gamble insert from Sunday’s paper
PEELIE = coupon that you peel off the package
Q = Coupon
RC = Raincheck
RP = Red Plum insert from Sunday’s paper
RR = Register Rewards (from Walgreens)
SD = Slickdeals
SS = Smart Source insert from Sunday’s paper
STACKING = Combining a store coupon with a manuf coupon
TEARPAD = A pad of coupons found hanging from a store’s shelf or display
TMF = Try Me Free (deals with rebates)
WAGS = Walgreen’s
WINETAG or WT = coupon hanging from wine bottles
WUC = We Use Coupons
WYB = When You Buy
YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary / Your Manager May Vary

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – What is the Date of This Insert???

Most of you probably already know this, but I had been couponing for almost a year before someone had pointed this out to me so I figured I would pass this along as one of my “words of wisdom”…

On the side of each coupon insert, printed in tiny print, is the date of the insert and what paper it came out of. Looking at the 2 inserts I scanned, one was from the Orlando El Setinel and the other was from the Orlando Sentinel. They both came out on 5/23.

**Knowing what paper I got the insert out of helps me a lot when there is a coupon that was only in the Orlando Sentinel and not in the El Sentinel or vise versa.

See all my past Wednesday Words of Wisdom HERE
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Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Watch Your Coupons/Check Your Receipt

Coupons are like cash so you really need to pay attention to the cashier as he/she scans the coupons and always do a quick check of your receipt as you leave to look for errors. It also helps to know what your total should be and if it seems high, you can look for the reason why.

I hand my coupons over in sets… “here are my 6 razor coupons” (and then I watch them scan the coupons), “here are my store coupons” (and then I watch them scan them) If I know I should have 6 razor coupons, I count the beeps and watch the screen and make sure all 6 got scanned. You would not believe how many times I have to say “There should be 6 of those”. Every time a coupon is missed, its like throwing money in the trash!!!

See my past Wednesday Words of Wisdom HERE

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CVS Extra Care Buck Q&A

In case you missed my Walgreen’s Q&A; post, you can GO HERE to read it. Personally I enjoy shopping at CVS because they have less “rules” when it comes to using coupons and Extra Care Bucks.

What is an Extra Care Buck (ECB)? It is a coupon that will print at the bottom of your receipt after you make a purchase of an item that has an attached Extra Care Buck deal with it. You will be able to use this coupon on almost any purchase in the store (with some exclusions like gift cards, alcohol, cigarettes, phone cards, stamps, etc).

What is a CRT? CRT means cash register tape. It is a store coupon that will print either at the bottom of your receipt after you buy something or it will print from the price scanner when you scan your Extra Care Card. Since these are store coupons, they can be combined with manuf coupons. CRT coupons will state a particular product like “$1 off any haircare item” or “$2 off Glade Lasting Impressions”.

How will I know if an item should print an Extra Care Buck? There are weekly Extra Care Buck deals and monthly Extra Care Bucks deals. The weekly deals are advertised in the store ad and the monthly deals SHOULD have shelf tags throughout the store. However, many stores do not put the tags up so you will want to check either my site or forums like weusecoupons to find a list of monthly deals.

Can I use a manuf coupon on an item and still get the Extra Care Buck to print? Yes, the coupon should not affect whether the Extra Care Buck prints or not.

Can I use an Extra Care Buck to pay for an item that will print an Extra Care Buck? Yes as long as the limit is more than one, you can “roll” the one Extra Care Buck into the next item. For example, if the limit is 2 on a deal and you buy 1 shampoo for $4 and get a $4 Extra Care Buck, you can buy the second shampoo and use the $4 Extra Care Buck to pay and get another $4 ECB to print (this is different than Walgreen’s).

Can I use an Extra Care Buck for $3 to pay for a $2.99 item? Yes, the Extra Care Buck says “up to $3″ which means it can be adjusted down to the amount of the subtotal (this is different than Walgreen’s). It can not cover your tax.

Can I buy one item and use a manuf coupon and an Extra Care Buck to pay for it? Yes, you can use a manuf coupon and as many Extra Care Bucks as you want to pay for an item (this is different than Walgreen’s)

Will CVS accept expired Extra Care Bucks? This varies from store to store. Some stores will take them no matter how expired they are, some say one week, some say 24 hours and some say none at all.

What should I do if my Extra Care Bucks didn’t print? Let the cashier know and they can manually print an Extra Care Buck for you.

How many Extra Care cards can I have? The Extra Care program says “one per household”, however, most families have one per person in the household. Use your best judgement on this.

Can I use an Extra Care Buck that I received from one Extra Care card to pay for an item when using another Extra Care card? No, the Extra Care Bucks are tied to an individual card and must be used only when you use that card.

What does Limit 2 mean? Every Extra Care Buck deal will have a limit attached to it. This is how many times the Extra Care Buck will print when you buy that item. So if a deal says Limit 2, you can buy 2 of that item and get the Extra Care Buck to print. You can buy them either together or in separate transactions. If you buy them at the same time, the Extra Care Buck that prints will be the combined total of the amounts. For example, if you buy 2 toothpastes together that will get a $2 ECB on each one, a $4 ECB will print.

Other CVS Q&As;:

Can I use a $2 manuf coupon on an item that only costs $1.99? Yes, CVS can adjust down manuf coupons.

Is there a certain order I should hand over my coupons? It really doesn’t matter at CVS whether you give a store coupon first or a manuf coupon first (this is different than Walgreen’s).  However, you should hand over any ECBs that you are paying with at the very end.

What does the limit on a sale (non Extra Care Buck deal) mean? This is how many you can buy PER TRANSACTION for it to ring up at the sale price. You can pay and then do another transaction if you want more than the limit at the sale price.


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Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Today’s wisdom comes from my experience at Winn Dixie just now:

If I have a transaction at a store that should print a catalina or register reward, I ALWAYS check the catalina machine before the cashier rings up my items to see if the green light is on and that there are no red lights showing.

Today at Winn Dixie I checked it and there was no green light (which means no power) so customer service had to come over and plug it in. Then as the cashier was ringing up my items I heard beeping so I asked “why is that beeping?” and the cashier looked at the machine and said “oh its out of ink” (a red light was on for ink). I had him cancel my transaction and asked for them to open up another lane to ring my transactions because I was supposed to get catalinas from my purchases.

If I had not checked the machine, the catalinas would not have printed. So many times, I get comments from people saying “my catalina didn’t print” and my response is “the machine was probably messed up in some way”. ALWAYS have them re-ring your order on another register if you know you should have gotten a catalina/register reward and it didn’t print. EVERY time I have done that, the catalina has printed from the other register!!!

What should I do if my Catalina doesn’t print? There are 5 things you can do:

1) Ask the cashier to call a manager and have them re-ring the transaction on another register. Most likely the machine isn’t working

2) Return the items

3) Call the catalina company ( 1-888-8coupon, option 3 ) and have them mail you the Catalina. You will need your receipt for info to give to the company

4) Use the online form found HERE to request for the company to mail you the Catalina

What is a Catalina? It is a coupon that will print from a catalina machine after you make a purchase of an item that has an attached catalina deal with it. You will be able to use this coupon on almost any purchase in the store (with some exclusions like gift cards, alcohol, cigarettes, phone cards, stamps, etc).

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