That said, I do have some ground rules for saving money. I often talk about not taking advantage of others when trying to save – very important in my book. Additionally, I won’t intentionally make life hard just to save a few bucks, and this includes anything which compromises health.
Of course, we are all different – which is why there are occasional examples of people employing, shall we say, “interesting” ways to save money. In this 10th edition of Squirreling Gone Wild, we’ll explore the idea of eating food that has seen better days!
The first example that comes to mind, and the one that got me thinking about this article, was a guy I worked with earlier in my career. This guy was a very bright individual, carried an MBA from a top program, and was respected for his quick mind. He was also quite quirky, and this extended to saving money.
One day, at lunch ironically enough (as I would find out), he was talking about being frugal. I think the rest of the table thought it was a weird topic, except me of course; I enjoyed hearing him talk about his money saving ways. As he kept talking, his quirky side came out. While he lost the rest of the table long before, he lost me when he talked about ways to avoid spending on his kids. He proudly told a story about how he had some yogurt that had expired, and had a cottage-cheese like consistency and some “fuzzy” stuff on top. He didn’t want to waste it, so he scraped off the fuzzy growth and gave the kids the spoiled yogurt.
Blechh! I just can’t play that game.
Another example comes from a person with whom I worked some years back who was telling a story about having his inlaws over for a barbecue, but noticed the day they were to arrive that the meat that was a bit spoiled. Mmmm, rotten hamburger! Anyway, he didn’t want to go to the store and spend any money on new food. He claimed to have used a marinade for the burgers, grilled them very well done, and loaded them with condiments to mask the taste.
He served them the spoiled meat. He claimed that he didn’t know for sure whether or not his inlaws felt a little bit sick afterwards or even noticed, but he was giddy with excitement over not having to throw away the spoiled meat. What a son-in-law.
Can you imagine doing things like that, serving kids or anyone, for that matter, spoiled food? Are you kidding me? I’m guessing (hoping) most of us wouldn’t ever engage in such nefarious practices. I certainly wouldn’t.
This got me thinking – while these examples sound bad as they involve others, how closely do all of us actually follow expiration dates when it comes to ourselves? Not necessarily extreme cases like the above examples, but even food that is just past the expiration date.
Personally, I don’t like to eat or serve food that’s past the expiration date. Now, I’m not talking about the “sell by” date, but the “use by” date. If food is past that date, I’m not eating it.
Now, I realize that’s probably a strict approach. Frankly, there are people that might think that I’m wasting food by taking this approach. Not so frugal, they might say!
Well, not so fast, I say! When taking a big picture approach, I don’t think it’s worth the health risk to eat food that’s past expiration dates. Let’s say, for example, that you may be ok 99 out of 100 times. Fine, but that 1 time may be a very unpleasant experience. And I know that when I’m really sick, I don’t care about money or anything else, I just want my health.
What do you think? Do you eat food that’s past the expiration date? Have you gone as far as to follow the example of the characters above, and serve food well past the expiration date to others?