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 3 posts from July 2007 for this blog.
Summertime $ Blues
Monday, July 23, 2007

My brother is a teacher & my husband is a teacher - and no matter how hard you budget, the change/lack of a summer paycheck for a teacher and his family is always is a bit of a shock.  So we are on an austerity diet monetarily speaking!

Even more so than usual...We are attending Debtors Anonymous meetings - which are really more than just about owing $ - and more about financial management, so I have discovered.  And part of the program is writing down everything we my husband & I both have notebooks, and we are dutifully writing everything down....then we can see where the fat is in our budget - not that there is much...well, eating out!  Or getting take-out!  So - out the window most of THAT goes. (Where are those fast food coupons?)

I am trying to cut down on my thrift shop visits - stay away from slippery places, slippery people AA says - but there is a great cheap one we passed by on the weekend & we just had to stop.  Or, ok, I had to - but it turned out there was a sale & my husband got golf shirts for $.49 each...and I got a new pair of dressy summer sandals for $4.00 - (the ones I have been wearing are a little grimy, despite my cleaning...) I don't feel too bad about the thrift shopping - because we get almost all of our clothes there nowadays.And I also got a funny vintage 70's retro polyester jacket for another $.49 - whew! they made the polyester to LAST in those days.

We also had been given tix to the Hollywood Bowl this week.  Their classical concerts on Tues./Thurs. are wonderful.  It can get cold, but that evening was quite warm, and it's lovely sitting out under the stars  - not to mention listening to Beethoven and Brahms.  (We usually get the REALLY cheap seats in the back for $1.50 each - and the bus from the parking lot costs more than the ticket. But remember to buy those tix in ADVANCE.)

The last movie we went to was a screening from an invite we picked up from the local film school  (there was even free popcorn & drinks at that screening) - I have also connected with an outfit online - but the other screening we went to was mobbed & we couldn't get in! There are so many FREE movies in L.A. if you know where to look - so I am LOOKING. (check out for screenings where you are - the name has changed, but you should be able to get there...) And always arrive EARLY.

Went through my summer clothes to check on what I have on hand, as I am not going to get much.  I did get a lot of nice stuff last year when we were near Santa Barbara - so I am OK - but the sandals I picked up will come in handy.  Do you know they were marked as a size 9?  I tried them on & they were not a size 9 at all - more a 8 or 8 1/2.!  (& so fit me) That so often happens with sale/thrift shop merchandise.  Mismarking.  So always check for FIT.  I have tried on lots of 7 &  7 1/2 shoes that should have FIT but were far too SMALL.

Now's the time I am glad I snagged the bargain bras and undies at the 99 Cent Store! And accumulated lots of t-shirts and tank tops in all sorts of colors.  Out they come!  And the panama hats and caps and visors!  And the sunglasses and sunscreen...

Altho I usually go for natural fabrics - there is something to be said for some plastic in the summer...Plastic sandals in white or light colors can be easily cleaned - and the plastic straps of a handbag won't disintegrate in my perspiration!  And I do like the cathedral glass colors of all the clear jelly plastics they make everything out of from sandals to bags! Of course, there is straw - and you can gently re-form your straw/panama hats by misting them with water and pulling them back into shape (& cracks in the crown can be mended more or less invisibly from the inside with clear tape.)

Thanks to the thrift shops, I have multi-colored hoodies to pair with my t-shirts (the evenings here get chilly) - At $5 or less each, I can afford them!  And I got the vintage polyester jacket with a sort of geometric indian design because I had seen kids making patterned hoodies on the net (they had skulls on them...) & I thought, how far is it from skulls to 70's polyester indian?

Generally I stand by the rule that if you wore it the first time, steer clear of it the second.  But then platform shoes are almost mainstay - and I still like the boho ethnic look - Can't get around the big Jackie Kennedy glasses, tho...I am indulging in more purses of different varieties than normal...which my husband doesn't GET.  I have a lovely Izod bag a travel writer friend was given on a junket to Paris, and then gave me - lime green, so it's use is limited!  But being a redhead I love all those weird green colors - even if they are out of style...

So, I have to admit that I am still stylistically indulging myself a BIT. I did pick up a gorgeous pendant at the craft faire from a bargain bin (I zero in on those)...but the sapphire color was irresistible! and the price was very good, too.  I always think that I will have my costume jewelry collection - vintage and semi-precious and silver - to sell off in my old age when I will have little cause to wear it all anymore.  And heaven knows, the price of vintage jewelry has skyrocketed! I can only find a few pieces nowadays here & there I can afford - and even then they mostly need repairs... And they used to be so very cheap!  I am glad I got so much stuff when I did. 

That's ditto a lot of stuff - I went into an "antique" store next to the thrift shop I mentioned and it was filled with the sort of thing I used to pick up & whew, the prices!  I furnished my apartment with 50's furniture & you can't touch that stuff anymore....But it's still fun to look and get what everything is going for...

The key to successful budget windowshopping is to only go into those stores where you can't possibly afford ANYTHING!

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More Than A Weekend Away
Monday, July 09, 2007

My husband got unexpected vacation time over the week of the 4th, so we went off to the boat.  We are in Channel Islands Harbor - a lovely site in & of itself - but also the gateway to the beautiful Central Coast of California. Our little sailboat serves as a seaside cabin a lot of the time.  But it's really cozy & it's beautiful there. 

It's good to get off the computer and get away from the TV.  When I am there I read a lot and play my instruments.  This time, I took out my little concertina again.  No wonder they were played on boats!  They don't need tuning and are just the right size...the sound is so nautical. 

Finally the weather got good enough for a real sail - The central coast weather is nice and cool - but often cloudy til 2 or 3 in the afternoon. 

We also visited all the local thrift shops, which are great - probably because of the local rich folks and the retirees. I do all my clothes shopping (or almost all) at thrift shops nowadays.  I also found some more nice padded Hanes bras (w/o underwires, I hate those) at the local 99 Cent Store when I was looking for my bargain reading glasses. (I had just lost another pair when window shopping in Ventura.) And some bargain underwear, too....

I estimated from all of our purchases that we were spending about 20-30 cents on a dollar - a really good discount! So we have great stuff - topsiders, great solar hats - nice t-shirts - etc. at a bargain rate. Which allows us to eat out sometimes - and buy bargain books for me....

The boat certainly makes sense over the summer.  It's funny but most of the boats in the harbor just SIT there, with no one on them and never go out, either...We take our weekends, holidays and longer stretches there as much as we can!  So the boat certainly pays for itself vs. other lodging fees!  It's sort of like camping - but you don't have to pitch a tent every time and it's a lot warmer at night, even by the water.

Almost a week there, and I certainly feel a difference now back in the city - Lots of fresh air and sunshine (we pile on the sunblock) and taking long walks... They called it re-creation originally in the sense of replenishing yourself - sortta rotating your psychic tires...and it does work.


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More on movies
Monday, July 09, 2007

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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