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 12 posts from August 2008 for this blog.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The theme today seems to be communications - I had to fiddle with my old fax to try to get an incoming fax & finally resorted to my free efax acct. (go to The fax then shows up in my email. They will give you a free number that people can fax to - but it's not local.  You have to pay for a local one. I use it so rarely, it doesn't matter. (And we use the old fax to fax OUT - as scanning to fax out is a pain!)

Ah! the electronic cottage!

Also now have another # at for filling out pesky forms, etc. A free small (20 msg) answering service! They just want you to use it and keep it current! (a Seattle # for me).

And ran across slydial - where you dial 267-SLYDIAL + the U.S. number to bypass the person & go right to their voicemail! A way to return calls without having to wait until the middle of the night!

AND is having another one of its big sales. I ordered a musical tshirt for my husband just for shipping.  And they also have postcard, business cards - even with your photos!  A great deal.

Also, sometime ago I mentioned that you can get free postcards at - I haven't perfected that - it's one of my projects...

Well, I did get a musical gig for the holiday because of old connections (I vow to get better with my recordkeeping!) Now to practice....




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Oldie but Goodie Ways to Go
Monday, August 25, 2008

In Barnes & Noble enjoying the A/C and looking at the bargain books and ran up against THE ORGINAL GIRL's HANDY BOOK - a reprint of an original 1887 book written by 2 of the founders of the Girl Scouts!  It has beautiful etched black and white illustrations - (almost worth it just for THOSE) as well as lots of charming suggestions for things girls can make. 

It shows you how to preserve flowers and ferms and used them for decoration - has suggestions for old-fashioned ways to celebrate holidays through out the year, and lots of crafts which remind one of Martha Stewart (do you wonder where her folks get all their ideas?)

It even shows you 2 ways to make a hammock and how to contrive a lawn tennis net! And several ways to make fans....

I indulged myself in this hardcover, because I have always found that those old-timey how-to books were extremely inspirational and reminded me of other, older ways to do things. It strikes me how organic it all feels - portiere curtains made out of nuts you have gathered - dried seaweed decorations! And there are suggestions how to make a combination bookshelf/window seat unit out of wooden boxes!  (People used to like to sit and look out the window, not a bad idea...)

I first ran across that sort of book when I was a teenager at a friend's house - a guide for the late19th C. housewife - & I was so taken by it, that they let me have it.  And I still do, years later! All sorts of instructions for turning fabric and making clothes last longer and all kinds of housewifely thrift! It started a lifelong interest in old guides to doing things. So many interesting DIY and simple craft ideas.  So much self-sufficiency!

It makes you realize how much pre-made STUFF we have.  And the pleasure we get from doing or contriving something ourselves.  I always feel that way - even with a successful trip to the thrift shop or 99 Cent Store - or when I have repaired/resewn something or managed to take out a spot! It's a source of pride that my summer boat shoes look so good with their coat of off-white craft paint shoe polish! Or that I can touch up the bit of grey at my temples with a dab of strong coffee! (and no chemical irritation, either!)

I have a note for my frugal book - "Think Old." Meaning that often going back to earlier and simpler ways of doing things can be cost-saving and liberating, in a way.  I really am enjoying my $1 tape of Mozart's piano concerto in my old car's tape player.  Would a CD be better?

But then, I was a Girl Scout for years, so where better to be inspired than by our founders!








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I am the Birthday Girl Today!
Saturday, August 23, 2008

My husband and I are celebrating my birthday together - and last night we took advantage of our Lawry's VIP coupons to go to the Tam O'Shanter - a lovely old restaurant with lots of Scottish memorabilia and great prime rib.  We had a free appetizer and $50 off the meal(s) (2 $25 coupons) - and a complimentary little birthday cake - so after the discount our meal only cost $40!!  Even with some wine for me. And we got points against further meals!

Today I think I will cash in my Sizzler birthday coupon at the Sizzler around the corner & maybe have seafood? I also have a coupon for a free meal at the Whale's Tail up at Ch. Is. Harbor!  It's worth it to sign up for all those restaurant plans! And it makes it nice to celebrate using those coupons/discounts. Being festive without too much guilt!

(Think Black Angus has one, too - but haven't gotten anything from THEM yet.)

Also got my PayPal Mastercard debit card in the mail, all the better to spend the little PayPal $ I rack up from associatedcontent articles and so on...

P.S. Nope we are staying in - dont't feel like Sizzler -

Fascinated by THE UNTHINKABLE a book by Amanda Ripley about "who survives when disaster strikes" - anecdotes backed up by scientific research findings.  It came today as part of Random House's readitforward program as a freebie!  They send out free books which they want you to read & pass on - join at  !! My hubby will love this book when I am finished with it - he loves survival stories....


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Tweet Tweet
Friday, August 22, 2008

My husband thinks of me as a twittering bird and, in face, I AM on !! Working out the feed thing here - but I so try to post all the new blog entries here at twitter, fyi -

It's my birthday Sat.  Happy Birthday to ME!  Those greeting cards so count - so far I have only gotten one  - from my mother-in-law of all people! I have it out to look at - Wish everyone were as thoughtful in an old-fashioned way.  Other than that - and my loving husband - I only get greetings from online computer systems. Ugh.

I vow I WILL get more and more meticulous about observing birthday dates! (I do have the cache of greeting cards at hand...)


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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thinking about my frugal book project. My husband unearthed some of my old budget columns from the newspaper I used to write for - I have to read them and get inspired.  There is also my manuscript for my frugal book of years ago - maybe that's around somewhere, too.

Racking up the freebies at all the sites and enjoying my free games at - I like slot social.

Found out how much my appearance is improved by penciling in my blonde eyebrows.  My husband always comments on how pretty I look when I do!  The new wax eye brow pencils are great & mine came from the 99 Cent store, too!

Enjoying old flicks during Turner Classic Movies' month of stars - old Barbara Stanwyck movies - and Edward G. Robinson! Boy they churned them out in the 50's - good, too.  Reminds me of my NYC area childhood most pleasantly, even if the flicks are ganster ones!

Oh - thrifty tip - successfully repainted an aging plastic barrette with semi-congealed silver nail polish while watching the old movies - actually did two.  The thickened polish created a very nice silver surface and the two barrettes are now restored to action! (I am wearing my hair up a lot in the summer heat and the barrettes are continually missing in action!) Also works for eyeglass frames/sunglass frames, costume jewelry and you could try it on plastic headbands/other hair accessories, too.

The Tippi Hedren updo is apparently coming back in style and I watched a how-to video on a fashion site.  But I hate to tease my hair! Will try it sometime, tho - in the meantime I have half of it, held up by my barrettes and no hair spray necessary.





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Me on TV et al.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Found out that the PSA I did for the Center for Health Care Rights in L.A. is being shown locally on KCAL9 on 9/8 between 12-2PM. (And Jolly Roger still occasionally pops up on SciFi in the middle of the night!)

No much to do with my frugality, except that my artistic proclivities got me into pinching pennies!

Got to go to my favorite thrift shops this long weekend.  Got a lovely Carole Little silk top for $2 and a nice $2 linen embroidered shirt and a pile of mystery paperbacks!  Downtown Ventura yielded a rusty red suede shouldbag for the fall ($7) and a few shawls - one a brand new Indian one! And some little hand creams and eyeglass cases in the last one!

I really never go into conventional clothing stores much anymore - very rarely! I AM boho in tendencies and have to have things on hand for auditions.  Going on one tomorrow and digging out a shirt to wear for it that's really not much my style - but great for the character.

Think my minor swamp cooler water container under my fans are contributing on the hot days! And here there is Indian Summer in spades  and more heat to come.


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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Spend my extra time between work surfing the net and checking on the deals I get via emails.  Did you know that you can get a debit card from Paypal?? I have a little $ there - & now I can use it places besides eBay -

I also have some $ at amazon from deals - bought some books!

Got my card for $10 free Shell gas from - and a coupon from my local station for a free car wash & $3 off 10 gal or more!

Doing freebies like mad - get something almost daily.  Indulged in $3 handcream from WeiEast - they have great samples.  And using the big bottle of Gloves in A Bottle I got to try.  I like it except I wish they would get a better dispenser - since you really have to use so little at a time!  I do feel the difference in my hands - but I still have to use creamier hand lotion -that plus the WeiEast is great!  Seems to withstand washing, too - Would be great if my hands were in water all the time! (I try to avoid THAT.)

Got lots of samples a while a go from my favorite local healthfood store (I do buy supplements there!) Now I have 2 ziplock BAGS of samples, which I rummage thru - eye cream, cleanser and all sorts of stuff.  Even a little bottle of witch hazel.  I do like the Kiss My Face stuff - may actually BUY some of that eventually! The shampoo samples are nice for wkends on the boat, too! And I put the sunscreen samples in my purse to apply on the go. (Remember to close the packets by folding over and securing with paperclips/hairchips/bobbypins - as there is more than one application in most packets!

Trying to get inspiration for my budget book - as I see myself somewhere between a Budget Fashionista and the truly austere frugal. (Would they spend $ on headbands, I ask you?) And then there are the 30-yr-old kids who plan somehow to become millionaires with the help of compound interest.  Not me, either.

I just like to squeeze as much value as I can out of what I have - which I don't do too bad a job at!  And I would like to clue in others that being broke doesn't = misery.  Any thoughts out there?  I would love some feedback.



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Recommendations at McD's
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not much going on - but FYI - I think the SUGAR-FREE iced coffee at McD's is good - the other one is MUCH too sweet - I also like the ice cream cones & the yogurt!

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How Do We Do It?
Monday, August 11, 2008

Spent a lovely 4-day wkend at Channel Is. Harbor on the boat. They don't call it the gateway to the "American Riviera" for nothing!

Played our music for Harbor Days on Sat. & I got a lovely travel bag - now it's playing the concertina for lunch and a bag and a lovely day outside!

Got some more nice headbands at the Dollar Tree (they are back in style, you know - ) and stocked up on tissue packages....

On the way home, I asked my husband how he thought we were doing vis a vis my pennypinching - what were my successes?  To my surprise he replied "in recreation"- meaning our boat weekends and so on. True.  Our excursion up the coast cost us at leat $500 - and 1/2 of that was lodging because we just weren't up for camping - Staying on the boat is a happy medium for us - Quasi camping! And a heater at night if we need it....

I think I would add wardrobe/makeup and beauty supplies/books!

Have always spent more on those things than someone truly austere would do - but I AM an actress and performer in HOLLYWOOD - so I need prof. wardrobe and generally not to look too ratty! And sortta keep up with the trends....And within my budget limitations I don't think I do too badly - and I always seem to have something nice to wear for almost any occasion - because who knows what will turn up!


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Scores/Freebies Misc.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Got a ride out to Pasadena with Mark who was doing some errands (he works there & we went to the Pasadena auto club to register a car a friend had given us. Got a whole bunch of maps - you have to ask for them nowadays!)

He dropped me off at my favorite Salvation Army - which was rather crowded due to 25% off! (I would hate to see it on Fri. when it's all 50% off - you see thrift shops have sales, too!) Looks like they are overstocked.

On a budget, so I only looked at little stuff - bags  - I got a trendy news bag out of Italian newspapers! Oodles in a chic store ($2)- and a nice pair of summer loafers to give my boat shoes a rest.($3) Very nice new aerosole shoes - size must have been wrong! And then I stocked up on paperback books - & got a storage basket - But the shoes were the score! And I got it all for the cost of ONE of the paperbacks - altho it was a bit higher than I had thought...

Downloaded more clip art from - they have lots of FREE Victorian clips. (See the one I used today)

Looking for freebies on the net - I sign in now regularly to and - but some of the other sites have deals missed here....

Signed up for insidere status on Marie Claire's Website and ditto for Allure - and I have already won some makeup from Allure (They said $25 - but I haven't seen it yet)- and am participating in a study with free stuff for Marie Claire....

I am entering a lot of contests - I really want a TRIP - but the little stuff will do, too.

We went on a mall walk on the way home from Pasadena at the new Americana section of the Gendale mall - cool most of the time. I do like the retro theme. (There's a free pop concert there tonite.) And the fountain that swayed to the music was fun and refreshing! They have a trolley which kiods should love - free, too -

And I picked up info about the programs at the Sr. Citizens' programs in Griffith Park.  One of the few benefits of maturing is that you can qualify for these activities! The acting class has been a great success, so I plan to up the activity level this fall....It was a bit difficult to track down these classes - but with a little perseverence I have leads on yoga and art - not to mention a swimming time in the municipal pool. And I am re-upped for my acting class in Santa Monica, too.  What a boon for an aging performer!  (Had 2 auditions last week, actually....)

Off to the boat and another music gig on Sat. - a BBQ, too! We are trying to squeeze in long weekends as much as we can...and even with all the AC/fans/swamp stuff going, the apt. still heats up! So off we go!



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Singing for Your Supper (breakfast or lunch)
Monday, August 04, 2008

My husband and I played music for a picnick at our church last Sunday. (Him on guitar with his songs & me on my concertina trying to emulate European Street music!)

It's fun for us - we had lunch, and then as we were helping to clean up afterwards, we scored a LOT of leftovers!

It's another case of singing/playing for our supper! We get to perform our material and get fed to boot!  We have had several arrangements in which we traded our services for meals - for a while we had a standing exchange with a bistro for Sunday brunch - and we honed our classic songs.

Sure - money is preferable - but on the other hand, for tiny gigs, getting a nice meal or 2 out of it - and then some leftovers, too - can also be nice.  We will be eating what we brought home for a few days. 

A nice perk of performing in Lompoc was their BBQ - (and drinks) - and we will be performing at Channel Islands Harbor at Harbor Days next weekend.  More food & fun and a little money.  Easy little summer gigs.  Live music brings so much to an occasion and really makes the party - do you have some you could share for your supper? (Karaoke works, too!)

It's somehow reassuring to me that I will be able to do this into my twilight years.  Fun and food, too.

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Frugal Carnival Newsflash!
Saturday, August 02, 2008

Check out the Frugal Carnival - a whole slew of frugal blogs, hosted this time here  Lots of info! looks interesting & you can get an RSS feed - By the way - anyone have any success with ours/mine? (I also annouce new posts at - that's how hi-tech I am - i.e., in comparison to the frugal carnival lot - not very - but enuf, I guess....)

Hey - I realized that our "vacation" was probably a "STAYcation" - because we stayed close to home ? - but as I commented on studentscrooge, almost ALL of my vacations have been like that - so I thought a "Staycation" was staying AT HOME!  Guess I just am accustomed to thinking frugally - anything else is a splurge - and you know, it makes that all the more FUN.


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