I have admitted to being a collector of certain things: cool things like ribbon, buttons, cardstock, ink pads, stamp pads, paper flowers, paints, patterned paper, embellishments…mostly scrapbook stuff. I also have a fair collection of fabric, beads, vintage linens and felt. I like to have everything I need when the need to create arises. I generally can complete any project in the middle of the night without needing to go to the store. I generally stock up on things when they are on sale. Like when Cool Scrapbook Stuff in Poway had their “Someone’s turning 40” sale and I got the 2oz. bottles of Glimmer Mist for $4.00, I just had to stock up. Those who know me well know that I am fond of a good deal…the cheaper, the better. But free is best!
This past summer, the family watched all the episodes of “Jericho” in marathon style. The good thing about waiting to watch a whole season of episodes this way is that there are no commercials. The bad thing is that you can find yourself watching with few or no breaks! This makes the intensity of the show greater. Like a good book is hard to put down, a good show is hard to turn off. Slightly off the subject: one of the things we learned on this show was that at times of disaster (which was of the nuclear sort) that there were certain things that were very valuable: salt was one of those things. So periodically, we will buy salt and bring it home and say “For Jericho”. It’s a little family joke. But then I started thinking of all those little packets of condiments, including salt and pepper, that we get in our fast food orders that were just getting tossed if we didn’t use them. Just think of all those little packets of free salt! I know, you are laughing at us already! But the reality of waste came to mind. I have heard older people that lived through the depression often say, “Waste not, want not.” We decided to turn a new leaf and not be wasteful. This has come in handy.
One of our favorite condiments to collect is Taco Bell taco sauce – all the different varieties! I know, there is such a little bit in the package and can be a hassle to tear them open – so much easier to just open a bottle from the grocery store. But here’s what we did.
When going through the drive-thru, the person giving us our order would ask, “Would you like hot sauce with your order?” Previously we would say, “Just a couple” and that was often enough. Now we just say, “Yes, please…some of each!” We never go into Taco Bell and stuff our pockets – we only take what we are given. But I have to say that it didn’t take too long to gather a 7-qt shoe box full, and that doesn’t count the ones that I have in the frig. And no, I’m not counting them!
What are my plans to do with them? I have to admit that I use them all the time. When I make burritos (and they are really yummy, if I do say so myself), one packet is perfect for one burrito. I like mine mild, and the boys like theirs hot or fire! Easy to do with the little marked packets. When I make burritos for the family, I usually make 12 to 18, and if there are friends around, I make more. They are getting used!
One of the items in my food storage is beans – the dry, hard, need-to-be-soaked-before-cooking kind. I have white, black and pinto. They are a great source of protein – good to store. You also need a little salt when cooking them…I have salt! Now, just think how lucky I might consider myself to have a little taco sauce to go with those beans!
I know that the savings are minimal, but the fun I get from using something free is certainly a little rush. Hopefully Taco Bell doesn’t get wind of this and post my picture at all the drive-thru windows on the West coast: Wanted – taco sauce hoarder at large! Secretly I hope they never find out. My children, who are the big refillers of the shoe box, will help this little habit from getting out of hand by loving to eat the burritos that I make! Until it does, I can rest easy at night knowing that I have enough for the next few burrito meals. Now I just need to learn how to make tortillas from scratch…anyone out there skilled at this? Let me know!
Coming tomorrow: Halloween phobias and what to do about them!