Do you inventory your stockpile? I know that it may not come as a surprise to some of you but I do keep an inventory of my stockpile. When I first started stockpiling I "thought" I had a fairly good idea of what was in it. I did for the first several months. I would come home from a coupon run and realize that I already had more than enough of an item in my current stockpile or items of similar expiration date.
Inventory Your Stockpile
I began using an excel file to inventory my stockpile. It is categorized in the same manner as my coupon binder. Under each category I include the name, amount and expiration date of every item in my stockpile.
In terms of expiration dates it is important that you use your stockpile before it expires. If not, you have wasted your time, energy and and money that you have invested into building it. I recommend that you use FIFO (First In, First Out). This is a method used by grocery stores and in the food service industry. When I began stockpiling we started using FIFO in order to maintain freshness and to be certain that we did not waste our money. It is easy to do, when you replace stock move what is in the back to the front based on expiration dates. Stock your new inventory in the back and that way it rotates and is used before it expires.
A helpful tip: When shopping be sure to check expiration dates. It is not a great deal if you purchase multiple items of expired or near expiration food. I always double check every items expiration date before putting it in my cart to be sure I am really getting a great deal. You can read more about food expiration dates and what the lingo means.
I also frequently check expiration dates of my stockpile (on my excel spreadsheet) and if I notice something is nearing expiration then I am able to include this ingredient in my menu planning. In my opinion menu planning and frugal living go hand in hand.
If you are interested to know more about how long and item can be stored or about shelf life of food. I suggest educating yourself on food storage and time guidelines.
If you use Excel and would like my spreadsheet you can download my Stockpile Inventory for free!