Because so many products are so expensive right now, it can feel especially bad throwing out something that's past its best-by date, especially if it looks just fine and is just a day or so out of date.
So, to help you out, Narcity sat down with Toronto food blogger and registered dietician Abbey Sharp to get her to take on what expiry dates you absolutely need to take seriously ... and ones that have more wiggle room.
Here are the things you can maybe save from the trash, even if they're a few days past their use-by date.
How long past the best-before date can you eat something?
Well, it really depends on the item.
According to Sharp, the amount of extra time you have really changes from product to product.
She explains, "A best-before date is more of a suggestion than an absolute date that you need to throw a product out."
Of course, a lot of best-before dates refer to an unopened product. "So, even if the best-before date of your salsa is in another six months, if it’s been opened and sitting in the back of your fridge, it needs to be tossed well before that."
What best-before dates should you strictly follow?
"Infant formula and baby food expiration dates should be adhered to strictly because they are being given to vulnerable populations," said Sharp
You should also follow the best-before date of things like cake and dessert mix, protein bars and powder, medication and supplements, because they could lose their effect over time.
Which expiry dates have wiggle room?
Believe it or not, items you might expect to have the strictest best-before dates could be good for days later.
"Packaged foods will always have the greatest wiggle room," explained Sharp. "But fresh food like eggs, dairy, and even meat, have wiggle room when stored properly."
"For example, dairy and eggs can often last up to two weeks past the best-before date," she explained.
"Meat can last up to six months in the freezer past its best-before date."
Just make sure you are properly storing this stuff, Sharp advised.
Some other foods that have pretty lenient best-before dates are snacks like cereals, chips, and crackers. Not only do they have a long shelf life when unopened, they're also going to last a while even after they've been opened.
"But they might not taste very good if they're stale," admitted Sharp.
How do you know when food has gone bad?
Of course, there are obvious exceptions to every rule.
For instance, the condition of a product can definitely depend on how it's been stored.
"If you accidentally leave your yogurt on the counter overnight, even though the best-before date is not for another two weeks, it needs to be tossed," said Sharp.
If you're ever unsure if food has gone bad, use your eyes and nose.
"With fresh food, you’ll want to look for signs of mold, unusual discolouration or foul smells to let you know that something is no longer good," explained Sharp.
"For canned and packaged items, look for dents, holes or bulges in the packaging."
If you're looking for other ways to save money on food, there are loads of steps you can take, from using reward cards to using cooking oil wisely.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.