Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Good to the Last Drop

I consider myself a black belt frugal zealot. I regularly read money hacks for entertainment, get my books for nearly free from Paperback Swap and turn my heat down to 68 degrees.

My son accused me of being the "World's Biggest Cheapskate" the other day when I was trying to regift a greeting card (it was a VERY pretty card, and only had one little bit of writing... it became a "goody cone" instead;)

I know he was being sarcastic, but I was actually pleased. That's as big a complement to me as saying "Most Beautiful Mom in the World". I can't help being cheap - it's part of my Scottish blood along with blurting out inappropriate comments and being built solid and short.

So you can imagine my shame at finding out that I have been inadvertently throwing out a 1/2 cup or more of perfectly good and pricey extra virgin olive oil! Yes, I confess. Please bear with me while I tell all the sordid details of wanton waste that have been occurring in my kitchen beneath my very nose.

Like any good tightwad, when I get near the end of any bottle or can I tip it upside down to get out the last drops of paid for goodness. My olive oil cans are no exception. When the can drips no more away I would whisk it into my steel recycling and get on with my day. I always noticed, however, as I carried the large supposedly empty can away, that I could still hear a bit of liquid sloshing around inside.

"A few drops, that's all," my Inner Spendthrift would assure. "Surely not worth opening the can up for." Of course my dominant Dollar Diva would argue, but she was usually shushed by our To Do List and the fact that we probably needed to be getting somewhere in a few minutes.

One day the Diva would not be shushed, and armed with a can opener she cut into the can to reveal the treasured golden drops inside. Tipped upside down in a measuring cup, she expected to reclaim maybe a quarter cup of oil at the most.

Imagine her glee and joy to find that 1/2 cup of oil had drained from the supposedly empty can. Vindicated, she rushed around the house flaunting her saved 1/2 cup of olive oil to anyone who would listen to her tale... which pretty much was only the Dear Observant and Enlightened Husband (known hereafter as DOEH). The Dear Unobservant and Unenlightened Kids (DUUKs) seemed unimpressed.

"Wow!" said DOEH. "It sure doesn't pay to go through all that coupon clipping to throw a half cup away!" My sentiments exactly. From this day forth I vow to always cut the olive can open to get out the last half cup of oil.

I do it not just for the savings that will rack up to be a somewhat significant amount by the time I am old and grey (wait... that might be next week...). I do it for the principal of the thing, "waste not, want not", which would seem to be a fitting moral for this story.

And, incidentally, the can made a really cute window planter for my trailing thyme.

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