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 5 posts from December 2007 for this blog.
Peggy & Elmer on My Blue Collar
Sunday, December 30, 2007

On my other life I am an actress (& musician) - and I just did some comedy skits for Jeff Foxworthy's mybluecollar comedy site (at - look for Peggy & Elmer)  It's also at my under my profile if you want to see what I like in action!

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Samples and Such
Friday, December 28, 2007

I just got another skin care sample of Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream through the Vocalpoint program on the net. (See  Olay is very generous with its samples of the new products.

I also have a couple of samples of L'Oreal shampoo/conditioner/treatment I just got from a freebie site. (I like Freaky Freddie's.)

And the piece de resistance - I have been given a Sonicare UV sanitizer for my Sonicare toobrush to kill the germs on my toothbrush.  It's so easy to use, and it's great to know I am killing more bacteria that could affect my teeth and gums! This is through the buzz campaign at where you are given products to try and talk about. I have gotten several things - the last one was some Aveeno moisturizer.  And both that and the sanitizer were almost a $20 value...Great deal.  Great products.

Capitalism does have its advantages.  Sampling is one of them.

Happy New Year!






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Celebrating without Fuss
Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Europeans entertain a lot in restaurants, rather than at home - and since our place in the city is so small, we do that ourselves sometimes. 

We had Thanksgiving at an old French family Restaurant, Freres Taix, with booths and old-fashioned service - and for Xmas we drove up into the mountains of the Angeles Crest above Pasadena, CA to a lodge-type restaurant Newcomb's Ranch, on the site of ranch founded more than a century ago.

There were fireplaces, and a knotty pine decor and I brought candy canes to decorate the table and presents for our guests.  The food was great, too, and reasonable - and the atmosphere of the crisp chill air amidst the pines was terribly Christmasy, even without snow. (My husband is the designated driver.)

It almost made us feel as if we had gone away somewhere - and no dishes to wash up!  (which is great considering I am recovering from bronchitis).

The important thing about the holidays is to spend it with those you care about.  We were part of an Xmas Eve service at church - went home and exchanged presents and then went off to dinner on Xmas Day.  Easy and fun and our waistlines don't need the extra leftovers, either.

Especially since I was under the weather this year, I thought of ways to streamline the holiday routine - sending ecards along with a few greeting cards - using gift bags and tissue paper to wrap things - and thanking my lucky stars that I had started amassing holidays gifts months ago!

My husband and I dug up red sweaters we only wear around this time of the year in S. Calif - and we were set!

Now we have a little peace until we start making the rounds of family visits - but we will try to keep it simple - and FUN.

Happy Holidays!



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Get Your Own Results!
Monday, December 10, 2007

Oops, I tried to copy Craig Garber's lively email about the pitfalls of using conventional wisdom - which boil down to the observation that using conventional methods will only get you conventional results -  but somehow the electronic elves are not cooperating (go to for his mktg. advice) And look for his slant on conventional wisdom in his latest emails....

Honestly, conventional results may not be what you WANT.  I surely wouldn't want the conventional result of my frugality to mean I had to be a frump! I want unconventional ways of being stylish and really getting what I want out of life without "selling my soul to the company store."

Not that I am against commerce.  Hardly.  I am a freelancer and have to sell myself all the time! But mostly I manage to do it on my own terms....even if that means eschewing dept. stores and dept. store prices. 

I am happily wearing a nice warm sweatshirt I got from a friend for whom it was too small.  Would it be any warmer if I had paid $30 for it?  Of course not.  Would anything be "better" if I had paid full price for it?  Nope.  So I always try to be unconventional and look for the other way to go about things....

My husband & I spent a delightful day last weekend playing Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Channel Islands Harbor holiday celebration, as we have been doing for the last 5 years - and we got PAID for it, to boot..  I really do enjoy my public music making and make some $ out of it to support my purchase of music, instruments, costumes, equipment, etc.  We do make the best music we can wherever we are - and strive to maintain professionalism without being stiff or stuffy or depriving ourselves of the sheer FUN of it.  So it's a win/win situation.

I have to admit that I didn't quite understand the message of the Oprah Winfrey holiday production on TV last night - the one about the alcoholic ballplayer talking with the ghost of his dead mother (Ellen Burstyn)?  If he did indeed LOVE the game, then it would, of course, have been worthwhile to spend his time playing at the highest level he could manage.  Looking at it all from that point of view, was it a waste to spend time in the minor leagues?  No, I don't think so.  Some of my artistic activities might look "minor" to outsiders, but to insiders they are quite otherwise - because they know know hard it is to even get THERE.  And the game is only really fun if you are playing it full tilt with others who are doing the same!  Hey, I would leap at the chance to participate in the equivalent of the world series in my acting or musical endeavors!

Sure, there are trade-offs - there always are - but if you can make them with good conscience you are "following your bliss" - and what's wrong with that?




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To Shop Retail or Not to Shop Retail
Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I have a free class at the Emeritus College of Santa Monica College (bless them) which means I have to drag myself across town once a week to the Third St. Promenade  - an affluent shopping.area. (We like to stroll and window shop there sometimes.)

The parking lot next to the College was almost full - so there must be a lot of holiday shoppers.  Driving home in the traffic, I realized that SOMEONE must be out there Xmas/holiday shopping.  My own gift shopping, as I have told you guys, starts in late August and is done by now except for a few finishing touches!  I loathe the hustle and bustle of the holiday crowd, myself.  It's not that I am a grinch, but there is ENUF to do around this season - so in one of my few efforts at practicality, I get it done earlier - which I have also found is easier on the purse. 

But then, I do most of my shopping at thrift shops and discount stores anyway nowadays.  The only time I have really shopped in department stores was when I worked downtown and window shopped on my lunch hour regularly - then I managed to find some great, super bargains. (Or when I worked as a fragrance model, ditto.)

Ironically, I find that I get so much BETTER deals at the thrift shops I frequent nowadays, that going into a regular store for clothing, books and so on is rarely necessary.  I see that the idea of a "thrift shop" Xmas may depress folks, but don't fall into that trap!  It's all psychological, anyway.  Why SHOULD you spend 10X as much for something retail as for something just as good you found in a thrift store? 

At our church's AIDs Memorial last weekend, I wore a thrift shop ensemble of a purple velour tunic (it had still had the tag on it!), black pants, a thrift shop belt and earrings - with designer thrift shop shoes, a leather purse I inherited from my mother - and, I confess, a beautiful necklace of Thai pearls/apua shell I got at a craft fair (for considerably less than it would have been retail in a boutique.) I looked great, and the whole ensemble, excluding the necklace cost - let's see - about $25?? 

 I couldn't have gotten the TUNIC for that - or even the shoes!   Who cares where they came from?  I have discovered that no one KNOWS  - the things do no not scream out "Thrift Shop"!  And surely little kids could never know the difference if a toy had been used before if it's in good shape. I LOVED my handmedown clothes when I was a kid - which probably got me off into the whole vintage clothing thing way before it was fashionable....

See, it's all a mind game.  You are not POORER - but SMARTER! I think of imaginary points going ka-ching when I score a deal and find it very satisfying to "win" at that game.  My husband is a teacher and I work part-time and we live in an expensive urban area - but we have a very nice life, complete with clothes and toys and musical instruments and a sailboat - because we don't play at the classic American consumer game, but go by different rules.  There is an old saying that "Living Well is the best Revenge." - I wouldn't say we are avenging ourselves - but as another saying goes - all's well that ends well - And living this way ends up very nicely for us!

So think about it!




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