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Blog: Pam's Pennypinching With STYLE

Pam's recounting of how her ancestrally thrifty habits have helped her in modern life in ways none of her foremothers could have imagined!


Showing 9 posts from October 2008 for this blog.
Shaving Away Savings?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The question is how to skimp just a little bit MORE when you have always been frugal -  Luckily my frugality is now getting to my husband who finally appreciates me giving him fast food coupons! (There is now a place to keep them in the car...)

I also am getting more library books - altho I have just gotten my first fines, too! I read that people are giving up Netflix - never did that - but maybe HBO & Showtime could go on cable if they are not packaged with something else...I didn't even cable for years - but now with HD TV they are making THAT hard - Sent for my certificate for a convertor - & never have gotten one (??) It'll be a while before we get a new TV - We don't have ROOM for a bigger screen!

I am cutting down on my thrift shop jaunts - altho I do love them! When I am broke, I just try to go for stuff that's little and CHEAP.  Looking around for what I can recycle as token Xmas presents this year & sending for freebies to use as little gifts...We can recycle some of the old Xmas cards, too. Usually I find some nice ones in the 99 Cent Store - but not yet this year.

Treating myself to my freebies and all the freebie magazines! Get something daily....Go to mommysavesbig.com to see free catalogs & mags. (Also freestufftimes.com - both great! and from a referral from a fellow Thriftyfunner.)

Going to make a point of going to the 99 Cent Store to get staples - like their Chinese soy sauce.  Really good, traditional & no way they can mess with THAT. And paper towels, etc.  We have so much shampoo! But of course, I get sidetracked by little "steals" - like the eyecream I got - for less than $1??

Lots of stuff stashed away to unearth...And put the freebie coffee (= one pot) on top of the coffee maker for hubby to use...

Also got some new Tide for the wash...Check out those samples at Walmart.com! (Don't like them much - but they do give good samples from major brands.)

Using the sample I got from Temperpedic as a handrest when I use the mouse - seems to help, too. (Got the idea on the net.)

I always listen to music on the radio during the day (classical) - don't download, altho I see more and more free ones....

Don't like to watch media on the computer yet - uncomfortable & besides I prefer classic flicks - as on TCM - Never bought DVDs for ourselves - unless they were 99 Store ones!

Maybe I will cut my own hair -I color it myself already - I am still looking for a hair model gig, tho -

I am using dollar store reading glasses - but I am getting so nearsighted that pretty soon I won't be able to use them anymore! Found some strong ones up at the beach at the DollarTree & got a few pairs. (Should recycle the old ones....)  Thinking about using vintage frames that I have when I get my new reading glasses...

Getting free t-shirts from the freebie sites - & that IS what I wear most of the time! Warm enuf to be barefoot - altho I have to put lotion on my feet, as it's so dry here...

Hubby wants me to give up the landline for something thru the cable - but it still makes me nervous - and cell phone reception here isn't good enough to do just with that....Anyone else switched their phones over?  How did it go? My sister is in Europe - but there are other ways of phoning her....I don't know about all that.

Glad most of my money is in real estate back east....Hubby is looking for another job & being in the teacher pension program again is a big draw...But here I find myself asking about the benefits...

I would actually LIKE to go BACK to the Kaiser HMO. I didn't think I would say that, but the care we are getting through Blue Cross isn't so hot...and I do miss my old allergist! But I can only go back in a group - or perhaps with a Medicare Senior Plan.

Should I start getting my Social Security NOW and invest some of it? Then maybe I could go back into Kaiser for medical & Mark can get in on his own....

I do think one has to be a financial wiz nowadays to figure all this out! We can just about make it, doing our own taxes, etc. - but I always wonder what everyone ELSE does. We have a rent-controlled apartment, after all...and now that I am a senior, there is always senior housing (we did that up at the beach for a year...)

We have old cars and I work from home mostly...in my tshirts & jeans, as I mentioned....Actually, we probably - no definitely - have TOO much STUFF - not that it's all that valuable! But there are things that could be sold off.  Instruments & such.  But I hate to part with them!

But the issue there is where to find the energy to DEAL with it all.  My energy levels go up and down - and then there are my @#$% dust allergies, which make clearing out difficult.

Just some of the things I have been thinking about.  What are YOU giving up or saving on? Inquiring minds would like to know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wkend Spending/or NOT
Monday, October 27, 2008

It's on the weekends that I am OUT and spending, I realize - but this weekend, I hope, is the start of a new trend.  We went up to the boat - and Saturday participated in the Marina's Boater's Swap Meet.

My husband sold off an engine he just hated - and I sat next to a marine buddy with my pile of paperbacks.  I flogged the books off  for $.25 each or 5 for $1 -  with some $1 hardbacks and got rid of 30 or so books, making a little pin money in the meantime.  And I had an excuse to sit in the lovely beach sunshine and drink in the clear ocean air. 

Then my husband heard of a chance to strip a boat that was headed for the junk heap - and took all sorts of stuff off of it - a heater, hotplates, a variety of stainless steel boat hardware (he told me that some of those pieces are worth $25 each) - an extra sail, some emergency equipment, a clockradio/CD player, new dock lines (again worth $20 each) - some anchor line, 2 anchors, anchor chain - and heavens knows what else...Some he will keep and some sell off...

We then were so beat that we spent a quiet night on the boat - Mark playing his guitar and me reading one of my library books. We spent Sunday as usual - walked down to the Farmer's Market and listened to the music, talking with friends. Used a few dollars of the $ I made on Sat. to make a political contribution.  I bought a varnished boat flag pole to put our extra toilet paper on in the bathroom - (any stick will due - I had decided against an old oar because of space restrictions, altho I love the idea...)

And then off to my Sunday gig - on  the way we both got FREE small cappuchinos at Starbucks with an online coupon (good until 10/31).  Boy, did I need that coffee and it was a very nice treat.   Then for dinner we had Arby's big sandwiches, drawn by a coupon for 2 for $5 - but they were having a special anyway, so we saved the coupon for an other day.

In the end, I made more $ than I spent!  Hoorah! Not a big return, by any means, but it justified sitting there in the sun all afternoon.  I am recovering from a horrible cold, so that was very nice.  And putting together the bags of books was easy and cleared out the bedroom of its book clutter at the same time.  Bits of $ are very motivating to me.

Then I came home find in the mail a Fiber One creal sample and bar, some free magazines, and a card for a free Proventil inhaler.  (We use those.) Oh, and some silly goodies for a friend's Xmas present....

There may be another sale in town next weekend - I am told books don't sell - Well, perhaps not BIG - but it does offset the (used) book budget, at least.  We are getting used to the new pared-down budget.  For me it's just back to the olden days before I got married again!

One last note - a degree of hoarding can be a downside to bargain collecting.  I realize that I have back stores of lots of items - especially in the skin care category, what with all my samples!  So I am going to make a point of using up what I have accumulated.  That goes with my wardrobe, too.  I am going to unearth what I ahve that I haven't worn for a while and see what I can do before much indulging in anything else! (Of course, I broke that rule the weekend before last - but I got a bag of stuff for $10, which included a green velvet jacket, a blue cotton jacket, white pants, an acqua tunic, a brown blouse, a yellow beaded headband, a red and black silk hat, lip gloss, and other stuff -all very nice, too...so I don't feel too bad about it!)

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Financial Planning, etc.
Friday, October 24, 2008

This AM my husband went to a financial counselor that he had seen recommended in a Debtor's Anonymous book - (He had crunched numbers last night. ) The funny thing is that the upshot was that he was told that he wasn't making enuf $!  (Years ago when I went to a debt agency, they told me the same thing!) There is such a thing as underearning, which they talk about in DA -

It was ironic, but it reassured me that we really are being fairly frugal...Things have been slow for me, and I haven't made a lot of $ lately - only pin $.  The last paid music gig was in September....But we do have our gig as Santa & Mrs. Claus coming up in early December....We have been doing that for years.  Mark is a great Santa!

Think I am beginning to feel better.  I have been at the computer, at least..  Without it I think I would go bonkers....And everyday in the mail there is another freebie! Samples of all sorts and lots of magazines.

Going to schlepp (drag in NYese) my mysteries to a swap meet on Sat. to see if I can get anything out of them.  I get them cheaply - but I sitll don't want to just donate them if I don't at least try to recycle them for more book $.  People say books don't sell - but there are a lot of mysteries & so on - I think I can get rid of some...(You see I have for the time being given up on selling them online...) I have 8/9 bags of them - it does clear out the bedroom! Then there is another sale 11/6 -

So, I have gotten sample of supplements and a pedometer in the mail - plus lotion...There is a LOT of that...Also ordering some small things to use as Xmas presents....I have started an Xmas bag into which I am putting prospective presents...altho I am really cutting down this year...

Finally going to my gratis acting class on Tuesday - they have a Brit guest coming, which should be interesting... Maybe I can whip up my enthusiasm for all that stuff...hard when you are down with a bug...

Boy, am I looking forward to the sunshine at the boat over the weekend!  There are some advantages to S. California....

 

 

 

 

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Where's the Loo?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just ran across a link to find bathrooms by zip code! from Immonium AD - http://www.imodium.com/page.jhtml?id=imodium/include/3_5.inc

So if you are off on a trip - you can plan ahead! Checked my neighborhood & sure enuf - they were all THERE.

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More Freebie Hunting!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Been freebie hunting like mad - as I am collecting bits and pieces I can give away for Xmas....Found 2 new great sites:

     Complimentary Crap (that is the name)

      Top Savings

Lots of freebies that I hadn't gotten yet! Even sending out stamped self-addressed envelopes for some samples of Vermont Bee Balm and new Olbas lozenges (they cost $4 or more in the healthfood store).  Go to their websites to look for sample offers!

Got 2 free books from Ayn Rand Inst. - Anthem and The Fountainhead.  I have never read either - and after watching an HBO movie about Rand, got interested.  (They will send out multiple copies - for home schooling or whatever...)

Finally have found a nice library branch (a suburban one) that has a good variety of books.  If they are all shelved I just don't know what to GET.  And I am being very good about returning them all ON TIME - coordinating with a weekly appointment  - so I will always be in the neighborhood.

There have been fires here - a natural occurrence, alas - and the air was crummy yesterday & I had my air filters on.  But I live on the old flats - not subject to high winds like in the canyons - so we are OK - altho there was a fire in Griffith Pk. a month or so ago - I could see that and THAT made me nervous.  It's very dry.  I put water in my quasi swamp cooler containers under my fans and it's gone overnight. 

Have the end of my cold/flu thing.  Just trying to clear my chest of phlegm. ) Oh, speaking of chest(s) Proventil has a coupon for a FREE inhaler on its site!  Hope what I had WAS the flu - so I will be over it for the season!  Got my hubby little portable hand sanitizers bottles hoping I can get him to USE them.

There were obscure Carole Lombard movies on TCM the other night.  One was the first Gable and Lombard did together - altho they became a couple years later - Boy, there was chemistry, even then! When I grow up I want to be Carole Lombard! (with her on-screen wardrobe....)

The Federal taxes are GONE.  Yippee.  And we don't owe them anything, either!  Yeah team! Now have to get the rest out, but I am taking a BREAK.

Been flat on my show biz stuff - I guess because of suffering from this bug - one needs vitality to get out there - Hopefully I will have fully recovered in the next week.  Taking my wellness vitamins! And my slight earache seems to have responded well to my Hylands eardrops (homeopathic & not expensive at all....) Hylands makes a nice line of homeopathic remedies and they are very reasonable - Calms Forte is a great sleeping aid.

Also signed up for vitamin samples among the freebies - we will see what finally comes in.....

There seem to be categories of things that are easy to get samples for:  feminine hygiene products of all sorts/lotions/creams/vitamins and supplements, etc./shampoo.  I think they those are items that people want to try before buying....but it works out well for us pennypinchers!  I have more than a month's backup of skin care samples of all kinds! Even got a full-size facial moisturizer with SPF 15 - very fancy - So it really cuts down on my skin care budget...I have only bought night cream lately....(& that with my internet fun $).

Thanks for reassuring me that you guys really are OUT there & I am not just blathering away!  These are tricky hard times.  We need to stick together, right? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OUT for Some Bargains
Monday, October 13, 2008

After being housebound due to this awful bug - we finally went up to the BOAT! Yeah!! And I went to my favorite healthfood store & bought some supplements and things for my throat.  Things were on sale, so I stocked up - And there were lots of SAMPLES!! I like going to that store because of the generous samples, even if one does have to spend $. With all my freebies and a few purchases, I am really all set for skin cream for a while...I do manage to save A LOT here without too much skimping on my skin.

Then I went to the Dollar Tree and I did splurge on some lovely sequined headbands - at $1 each I couldn't resist! They have some really good deals on hairgoods at the dollar stores.  DO NOT buy anything for full price at the drugstore for $5-6!! And some vitamins, and hand sanitizer for my husband - and some deodorant for me - and baby wipes refills - and other practical stuff. (Check out the vitamins at even the dollar stores - the ones I have been buying were made by Bayer - looks like a test brand or something like it...One of the variations the heart stuff - compares with Cholest-Off which costs $10-15....Read the ingredient descriptions.)

But we will have to rein in even those little splurges, it seems - alas! I am looking for freebies to give to folks for Xmas!  Already signed up a fellow we know for a free boating subscription.  (Well, it would cost $20 + in real $.)

I am also in the middle of doing my own TAXES  - finally - to meet the 10/15 deadline for the REFUND. (Not that it goes in our pockets, only back to the gov't for our tax bills!) Last year my husband insisted we go to HR Block and they don't do much better a job than I can do myself with a J.K. Lasser Tax book (I got a used one on Amazon.) I am not brilliant, but our finances are not all that complex, either....And HR Block cost $200 or more!  It was so much that my husband didn't have him file the Calif. tax forms, which I did myself! (Once you do the Fed form, the state stuff is EZ.)

The good news is that we have all become more cost-conscious - even my hubby! I am used to being on a money diet - but he is just getting used to it. 

Hey - no comments for a while.  Any of you out there?  Hope my travails haven't been too off-putting.  I have never claimed to be a pennypinching saint! Only an ordinary human who has lots of experience in it!  How ARE YOU?

 

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Keep on Keepin On - Out of the Slump
Thursday, October 09, 2008

Well, I am coming out of my slump - I got this awful bug which got me down - but some self-doctoring and I am on the mend. FYI - I took goldenseal as a quasi-antibiotic and then Chinese Gan Mao Ling (good for beginnings of colds that haven't gone into the chest) and my Boiron duck-stuff for the flu -Osocillo - And bought some Hylands homeopathic drops for my slight ear ache.

(Also had a bladder thing which I got rid of by drinking lots of water and taking cranberry tablets!)

All with my regular array of vitamins!  These things are mostly viral nowadays, so all one can do it boost the immune system and deal with the symptoms and hope to shorten the length of the bug.

I am urging my husband who works with germy children to use his antiseptic handwipes OFTEN - so he brings home as few of those germs as possible! (I caught it from HIM, altho it's going around.)

Even in my recovery I have been going after freebies and getting tiny bits of internet $ - from mturk and dollarsurveys.net and my articles on associatedcontent.com - I used my Amazon gift card to get some night cream, which I need. (Got lovely FREE samples of full-sized day cream SPF15 from the net! I am set with that for a while.)

And we sold the old car we had given to us to a friend who is down on his luck and really needs transportation....Our old cars are holding on nicely....And my husband finally is keeping track of his mileage at work (the rate has been raised) - and got $100 back last month - much to his surprise.

We haven't been up to the boat for a MONTH and are getting boatitis! I also realize how much thrift shopping I do up there! Looking around I have a VAST wardrobe - which I will have to dig into this season....(Altho I am trying to get free undies at hanes.com and its wedgie-free Wednesdays....) Finally mended an old hoodie of mine I wear around the house - A stitch in time would have saved a few - but it's ok  - before my husband complained about it been ratty -it was just gone at the seams, so it was easy to sew up. Why don't men get that?

Acquiring the habit of regular library attendance - visiting a branch near my wkly therapist visit - It has lots of what I call current "pulp fiction". Still have to recycle the piles of paperbacks, etc., I have around here!  My weakness is book clubs - I know I shouldn't sign up for them - but I succumb - trying to get out of the mystery club by fulfilling my book obligation.....What does one do with hard back mysteries, anyway?  Presents?

It's been hot and my quasi swamp coolers are under my fans - along with cups of frozen water....it does help a bit....

Ah, wouldn't it be nice to win a spa vacation?  I enter all those contests! and after all, one cannot win if one doesn't enter, no?

And I read the online style magazines - ah! What fantasy lives those women must have.  I have the clothes - but not always the LIFE. We haven't been social butterflies lately - not since my most sociable friend has been away...

But I have been close to home on the net and watching old flicks at night.  Lots of horror on since it's October and Halloween is coming...Saw a good British one called SPIRIT TRAP and a really 80's one called THE HOWLING.  (Even the color was 80's.) It starred an actress I have seen in the flesh fairly recently- and what an ingenue she was in the day!  No wonder I didn't work in the 80's! Not a female character actress in sight.....

Oh well - even had to turn down some acting stuff - that's how lousy I felt! (And and almost no voice for a while.) Onward and upward!

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Wreath et al
Monday, October 06, 2008

Inspired by a thriftyfun person I made myself a Halloween wreath thing using this graphic I saved from www.doverpublishing.com.

Mine is different, but on a coat hanger (we didn't have too many of those...) and with bits and pieces of ribbon and black plastic netting I had saved.  (I save everything, it seems.) It's probably a bit odd - but Halloween is supposed to be spooky, right?  This coathanger wreath thing is a great idea!

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On a Money Diet
Thursday, October 02, 2008

Well, we are on a money diet - as I call it - and I really haven't spent any money this week.  (Ok, I got some pay-for-view movies and one $1 day pass for winster.com -  and I guess that counts, too, but it will come in after the next, bigger paycheck which includes my hubby's overtime.)  But otherwise...

Of course, I have been home sick - now I have laryngitis and my voice is gone...so I am pounding out on the computer - even playing games! Keeps me from going nuts!

Got the $8 from one gaming site - to my PayPal Mastercard....and have to figure out how to spend my $5 Amazon gift card....a book?

Also applied for the latest readitforward books at readitforward@randomhouse.com  and there is also a program at Harpercollins - Read First, I think it is - that offers more free new books. Even signed on to be on the panel for eHarlequin!

Got a free hair STYLING from Privee - for having had my mammogram - (I thought it was a cut - darn) - that's at the privee website -

And all the other lotion freebies - wow, does that ease the skin care budget. Besides mommysavesbig.com and freestufftimes.com - also try out www.twistedbranches.com!

And of course, inbox dollars and www.dollarsurveys.net ( not COM)

Wouldn't be nice if I WON something?  I have gotten some fancy blush - but I mean, really a BIG trip or something?  That's what I really would like.....aaaaah...

Altho a spa visit would be very nice, too!

Watching the debates tonite - and you??

 

 

 

 

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pamphyila (Contact)
L.A., CA USA
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