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Blog Posts on My Frugal Life:

09 Chiefs
Friday, March 20, 2009 | By HersheyBar

Hi Chief fans. The season has yet to begin but I am ready. We now have a new coach and GM, a few new players which should make an impact. We have a 3rd round draft pick that I think will help also. I will be keeping this blog going. Feel free to add to it as I would like some opinions from around the US just not from a KC view. 


A little about me. I am 52 years old or close to it. Been a fan since the early 90's. Season ticket holder for I don't know how many years but it has been several. I go to the draft day partys at Arrowhead and also go to the Training Camps. This one should be interesting with new coaches and players. I live in a small town, work for the IRS, and have retiered from the military. I am also a huge Jayhawk fan so don't go there MU fans. LOL

Thanks for reading.






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Keep those coffee/meal cards!
Friday, January 16, 2009 | By freya1970

My friend and I are meeting after work for dinner and neither of us can figure out where we want to go. I looked through my wallet and looked for any meal cards or coupons I might have. I discovered that TWO of my coffee cards are full, which means I get to have a free coffee in two spots: one place which is near the farmers market where I go on Saturdays and another place right downtown with incredible coffee! So although I didn't find any free meal cards or deals, I now have two saved up coffees for future coffee dates. I do have one card for EVERY coffee place in town so it's fun to discover my freebies when I look through my wallet!

As for our dinner plans, I even looked online for restaurant coupons and have come up with nothing. The fact that I am vegan and he doesn't eat red meat limits our restaurant choices...I wish i lived in a big city again sometimes! When I visit my home city or another large city where a friend lives, i can eat so healthfully for VERY cheap! Sadly I live in a place where people's idea of a good meal is pizza or burgers. :( Buying a cheap healthy meal here seems next to impossible.

I might suggest a local Syrian place which has vegan meal plates for $8 including taxes and coffee or tea! Otherwise we're stuck going to Burger King for a veggie burger/fries for $6. I probably won't opt for that as I am trying to keep my figure since i need to fit into my bikini next month for my Mexico trip! :D

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Huzzah for Ren Faires!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008 | By pamphyila

It's getting to be outdoor festival weather and I entertained at my first Renaissance Faire - down in Hermosa Beach.  It was a charming, little faire - my favorite type.  And very family-friendly. 

Ren Faires are really great for children.  There is entertainment and the little boys can wave fake swords and dress up like pirates - and the little girls long skirts and tiaras, if they like.  There usually are games for them to play or treasure hunts and the like.  The areas are enclosed, which gives them a degree of security, and the Faire folk are usually very friendly.

I play period music on the autohharp, recorder, and folk harp and sing.  We brought a basket of rhythm instruments - little drums, tamborines, shakers, and a xylophone for the kids to play with and had a rhythm band.  I love rhythm bands and don't know why they have gone out of style - great introductory musical practice.

Of course, I think the best and most economical way to participate in the Faires is to become a participant - either by being an entertainer or as a member of a "Guild" or group that sets up camp and dresses and acts in a period manner.  You can go all out in terms of dress - but here are some budget tips:

  • Dress "organic"  - make sure your clothes are made out of cotton or wool.  Preferably in nubby  or rough textures.  Synthetics can pass if they are really good fakes.  People do wear vegan vinyl boots and belts, etc.
  • Wear a hat - It covers your hair, and you will need it for the sun.  A straw one is just right for the summer - but you can also wear felt and crocheted hats/caps.  Think of putting on a colorful band, and some flowers or feathers.
  • You can usually get away with a simple pleasant costume, that is for the females - a full-length peasant skirt, with a petticoat, if desired; and a peasant blouse.  No collars or button closings.  Gathered necks prefered.  The skirt can be of Indian gauze, kettle cloth or even light blue denim - so raid your closet. 
  • They wore bodices - so look for vests to put over your peasant blouse - or use a leather belt.
  • For men - an "organic" tunic, belt, and full blousey pants.
  • Shoes - wear sandals or slippers.
  • Then there is the decoration.  Long-time Ren Faires participants pile on the necklaces ( men, too) and pin "favors" on their hats, bodices, etc.  They also wear bags connected to their belts.
  • Fans are nice if it's hot.
  • Ethnic clothing and ethnic embroidery are nice accents. So an Indian shirt will make a nice top.
  • It's so much easy since "boho" is in style - as there are lots of choices out there & probably in your closet.

Of course, there are purists out there dressed in authentic reproductions of period garb - but it's not necessary. I don't know how they stand those clothes in the summer heat, anyway.

The best way to enjoy it is to get dressed up and spend the day.  Listen to the music.  Watch the jugglers and the dancers - Eat the food - or bring a picnic.  You can save by bringing your own water or drinks.  We like to have ice tea - it's good and inexpensive.  You can bring a container or just have ice water and add powdered instant.

The participants can even camp - gratis - on the faire site.  We have done that, and as faires are usually in pretty places, it adds to the experience.  (You could use your regular tent, as rules relax after hours.)

So all in all - we had a lovely weekend by the sea - made enough tips to pay for the food - and earned some $, too.  That's what I call a win/win situation.



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Gala Glam vs. prom dress
Friday, October 05, 2007 | By pamphyila

I love dressing up - it's the little girl in me who used to play with dolls - My mother used to say that the dolls were better dressed than we were! And I am a performer and I live in Hollywood - so over the years I have developed the habit of collecting pieces of fancy clothing  when I run into them and they are real bargains.  Sometimes they sit in the closet for a while - but almost all of them get worn, eventually!

Well, last night was such an evening.  Through friends who work at the Los Angeles Music Center we got invited to the gala opening at Disney Hall of the L.A. Symphony season - a black tie event!  And, I had just the thing to wear....No you are wondering what this has to DO with frugality - well - for one thing, the tix were FREE.  (on the internet the tix were $1,500 to $10,000!!).  It was a performance by Essa Pekka Salonen, the L.A. Philharmonic and the famed American opera diva, Renee Fleming. Whew.  What a beautiful concert.  (And we parked in an adjacent parking lot for $8.00 instead of the Disney Hall's $18.00.) 

I wore a fabulous gold brocade jacket that I had picked up a year ago in a resale shop in Santa Barbara - I think it was on sale - It is actually the sort of material they make obis out of, and just gorgeous.  I wore that over an empire waist black jersey dress I had gotten at my local Out of the Closet (I think it was even new) for about $10 and shoes from my shoe archive - and a necklace I had splurged on at an Oxnard craft faire - and my 99 Cent Store earrings and a purse from an Oxnard thrift shop, a ring I had gotten at HSN. 

It was, as my husband said, the $200 outfit - but I was holding my own again the thousands of dollars gowns of the rich gala ladies - so much so, that I was ushered into the VIP area and treated to free champagne!  It was fascinating to observe all those people - more so because I am an actress, and I catalogue people to draw upon later.  Who knows if I will play a rich socialite some day soon? 

It was like being Cinderella at the ball, and I really did enjoy myself.  Who needs a prom? 

But it underlines what I have said about prom dresses and gala attire in general.  I had acquired the pieces separately, with a mind to building an outfit (or 2 or 3) - at a bargain price.  I didn't have to pay hundreds of dollars for a polyester dress I would never wear again! I would rather invest in these pieces, which I can wear over and over. ( I have a silk brocade smoking jacket I got for $35 which I wore to the opera, and has many more wearings in it.  I have a beaded black shirt, I have also worn to the opera with black pants.)

I have a collection of jewelry to choose from to accessorize my outfit(s), too.  I even have a copper sequined jacket which was a steal which I haven't WORN yet.  But I will...

And I can do my own hair and makeup - that comes from working in the theatre...Actually when I do it, it turns out better than any makeup artist's job, because I know my face better than they do. 

So all of this is possible on a shoestring by developing your own taste and skill!  And at the last minute, too.  So remember that girls when you are whining about prom dresses... and it will serve you well later when you have to do glam on a budget.

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Monday, September 17, 2007 | By pamphyila

Just wrote an article on about doing your own PR, which as an actress/musician is an on-going task, as one always has to put one's face out there to try to get work.  It's like going down to the fishing hole everyday....Because I have never had $ to pay anyone else, I had to learn to do it myself.  And I must say, I can do a decent job of it, as good as anyone I could AFFORD.  The only trouble is that you are then asked by everybody to do some (mostly gratis) PR for them.  I have done a little - but then they EXPECT it on a regular basis...ugh...I have to learn to say "no."  That's hard - but it's so time consuming and I have other things to do - like LOOK for WORK. (and do my own PR)...

As a result of writing articles on associatedcontent, I hooked up with a guy up in Oak View who writes about horror by the name of Wes Laurie, and he asked to interview me for this site called terrortube.  It's at and I think it turned out very well.  See - the results of my diligence!

Oh, and I also managed to post some music on my musical group, Panoply's myspace music acct.  See it at  I feel like a genius!  And all it took was sweat equity.  I love that.



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More on movies
Monday, July 09, 2007 | By pamphyila

Last time I wrote I mentioned an expensive trip to the Arclight - ironically my NEXT trip was FREE!  I ran into passes at the local film school when I was showing my husband around and we saw a free screening of INTRODUCING THE DRUCKERS with free popcorn & drinks! (great movie, by the way...)

I decided to look for more screenings and by surfing the net I found  - they have listings of screenings you can sign up for all over the country!  I have rsvp'd for Hairspray and the next week Charlie Bartlett! At $10+ a head (plus all the free popcorm we got) the free passes were worth about $50!!

The rest of the time I watch movies on cable - See lots of great old movies on TCM and offbeat ones on IFC.   I like to watch French movies to keep my French from disappearing.


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Worth the $???
Thursday, June 21, 2007 | By pamphyila

A friend took my husband and me to the superduper upscale movie house - the Arclight - for a matinee of the French film PIAF.  I enjoyed it, and it helped dust off what remains of the French I learned in high school - but the tix were twice as much as my husband and I pay for matinees up in Oxnard, where we spend weekends! 

And everything else was more expensive, too!  It was a nice experience, but no more so than any clean suburban theatre.  But even with the Senior Citizen discount my ticket was almost $10.  (Yes, I will admit my age for discounts, I have no pride that way...) And the seats weren't cushier or anything - altho there is a nice gift shop and a cocktail lounge in the spacious lobby....

We actually love to go to the movies and sit in the dark - and it's true that the suburban theatres often only have kid stuff & we stand there & can't find anything to SEE.  But still - it's expensive!  I hate to spend $20 on 2 tix to a movie I know will show up soon on cable!  I would rather go out to eat.  No wonder movie audiences are declining! 

Of course, it encourages just cocooning and staying around the house - but we find other ways to get out  - ones that aren't as pricey....


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Weekends on the boat etc
Wednesday, June 20, 2007 | By pamphyila

My husband & I spent another frugal weekend on the boat for his birthday...It was Father's Day weekend, so there wasn't much going on - but there was a vintage car show at the harbor to look at on the way to the Farmer's Market on Sunday morning.  Oh, I remembered some models from my youth!

We ended up doing our thrift shop excursions...& went to one we hadn't been to before.  Well - Mark made out like a bandit!  He got 2 nice golf-t-shirts, and 2 pairs of Dockers, and 2 pairs of shorts (originally from Nordstrom) and a bathing suit! All for something like $10! (a value of $100+)

I got a pair of summer boat shoes for $2 and some really nice dressy mules - $2  - and a bunch of very nice old books - at $1 & $2 - and 2 t-shirts for myself at $1 each.  I don't feel too bad about my shopping at yard sales/thrift shops, because that's the only place I seem to shop nowadays!

I got Mark to stop off at a funky looking yard sale - saying that the worst looking places often have the best stuff - & sure, enuf - I got a whole bunch of bath products and some makeup & 2 pocket atomizers for $5...and a facial steamer I cam going to try the next time my sinuses give me a hard time for $1.  And with a collectible doll for $2 the lady threw in a whole bunch of those big nail files and a portable mirror! 

I have theories about places - such as the funky looking places sometimes have deals  - and that old lady thrift shops are great, becaz all the retirees who are downsizing, etc. donate their things there...and you can find old things, collectibles.  And the pricing varies tremendously in old lady stores...Overpriced and underpriced - Guess which I buy.

Also - it's good to go to yard sales at the END of the day for real bargains, as then the folks running it just want to get RID of everything & the prices plummet & you can haggle....

There are also places out of the way which seem to get new merchandise from specialty stores - Probably the ends of things which they just donate to the charity which end up in the thrift store.  One I know of seems to have that kind of stuff on a regular basis & I always hunt around for items for gifts, and so on.  I got a nice summer bag - new - for $2. (probably $15-20 in a store)...

I have to say that from shopping on the cheap so regularly I find myself shocked by the prices of things in STORES!  And yet I manage to dress quite nicely, I think....and no one is the wiser....




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I got 2 1/2 days worth of "Snow Days"
Tuesday, May 15, 2007 | By Rockcandy248

The database went down at work so I got to leave early yesterday and come in late today. 

Yesterday I went home and took a nap!  I went to my friends house for about an hour then did all my normal Monday after work things.

This morning I started to leave and my boss called and told me to wait until noon.  So I spent all morning at the closest beach to my house.  Metro Beach.  I left and then washed my car and vacummed it out.  What fun on a beautiful Michigan spring day!


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Sunday, May 06, 2007 | By tclark417

We are having an early August party just for the fun of having one.  We decided on having a pig roast and now we are stuck on a theme for the party.  We've had Hawaiian and Mexican themes before so we're kinda stuck...

We hope to have 75 people ages 21-65 (no kids this time).... We are looking for an unique theme that makes our guests say "wow, what a cool idea"....  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

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