Although I’m known as a thrifty sort of gal, sometimes I wonder if I could be a little more thrifty. These doubts creep up from time to time, especially when I’m close to emptying a tube of toothpaste.

Allow me to explain.

When I was in college, one pal, with whom I am no longer in contact, shared an anecdote about another pal, with whom I am also no longer in contact. According to the first pal, the second pal’s family used a razor blade to open tubes of toothpaste when said tubes where close to empty. Why did they do this? To extract more toothpaste from the tubes. After all, as much as you squeeze that darn tube, you can never extract all the toothpaste.

It’s been dozens of years since I’ve been in college. And I’m not even sure I remember the second pal’s name. But I haven’t forgotten that anecdote. Over these dozens of years, as I’ve “emptied” tubes of toothpaste, I’ve looked at those tubes and said to myself, “Self, you know there’s more toothpaste in there.”

But what was self supposed to do? Firstly, I don’t keep razorblades on hand. Would it be cost efficient to buy them for the sole purpose of slicing open tubes of toothpaste? Secondly, I’ve considered cutting the tubes with scissors, but am I going to do that with the scissors I use to perform random household chores. Would it be cost efficient to buy a special pair of scissors for the sole purpose of slicing open tubes of toothpaste?

I answered no to both questions. Still, I wondered.

Anyway, on a related note, a few years ago, I “emptied” my first tube of hand cream/moisturizer. With that college anecdote swirling in my head, I just knew there had to be globs of lotion stuck to the innards of the sparkly tube. So, I retrieved the scissors.

As I suspected, the innards did in fact contain additional lotion. Lotion that moisturized my skin.

I made a few mistakes during that first attempt, though. I made only one cut, which I put too close to the top of said tube, and I allowed the lotion to dry. Thus, I didn’t get to use all that sweet smelling lotion.

Lucky for me, the galaxy contained additional tubes of hand cream/moisturizer. Two weeks ago, I “emptied” one of those tubes. This time, I made the first cut about a third of the way around the tube. When my little fingers had extracted all they could, I made a second cut down the tube. I also covered the tube to keep the lotion from drying.

I’m happy to report there are no more globs of lotion left inside what remains of that sparkly tube.

Of course, I’m sure I continue to throw away globs of toothpaste. But after dozens of years, at least I was finally able to put that anecdote to use.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.