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When you’re trying to save money, it can be incredibly frustrating to have to throw expired food in the trash.  You may have even considered taking a bite of the expired item anyway.  The truth is although most foods come with a sell by date, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s no longer safe to consume.  If stored correctly, there are some items you can eat well past the date on the label.  We did some digging on EatByDate and came up with a list of foods with a long shelf life.


Whether you serve them roasted, mashed or fried, potatoes have a special place in many people’s hearts because of their versatility.  It also doesn’t hurt that if stored in the fridge, russet or white potatoes can last 3-4 months past the sell by date.  You’ll know it’s time to toss the bag once the potatoes become discolored, grow long sprouts or feel mushy.  The best way to extend its shelf life is to store them in a cool dark place, preferably between 45-50° F.

Average cost:  56 cents/lb for fresh potatoes


Beans are a budget-friendly source of protein that can be used in a variety of meals.  You’ll typically find them in chili, burritos or served along a side of rice.  The best part is they don’t require any special treatment to extend their shelf life.  Simply storing your dried beans in your kitchen cabinets will make them last forever.  However, canned beans can only last an additional year past the sell by date.

Average cost:  87 cents/lb for canned pinto beans, $1.20/lb for dried


White rice can last up to 30 years past the printed date when stored in an airtight container.  If using a different storage method, your white rice will only last an additional 4-5 years.  Please note, brown rice has a much shorter shelf life.  When stored in your pantry, it must be eaten within 6-8 months, 8-12 months if stored in the fridge.

Average cost:  73 cents/lb for long grain, uncooked white rice


When you’re looking to make a hearty meal that won’t break the bank, a box of pasta can always save the day.  It’s cheap and can be used in a variety of delicious meals such as lasagna, baked ziti and ravioli.  Dry pasta can last between 1-2 years past the printed date while fresh pasta can last 6-8 months in the freezer.  The best way to extend its shelf life is to keep your pasta in its original packaging.

Average cost:  $1.27/lb


Honey is a healthy alternative to sugar and comes with a sweet perk, it literally lasts forever.  If stored properly, it will never go bad.  You may witness your honey turning yellow, cloudy or grainy over time but you can still use it.  So, where’s the best place to store your sweet treat?  Right on your counter.  Just be sure to seal the lid tight because ants love honey.  Whatever you do, avoid placing it in a dark area because it will cause the honey to look older faster.

Average cost:  $2.08/lb