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 October 2009 for this blog.
Wkend Shopping
Monday, October 26, 2009

Turns out I rarely do any shopping except on the weekends with hubby - so it does look as if I am going a bit mad buying stuff - but I suppose when you balance that out with not spending ANY money during the week (not even for Starbucks or fast food drinks!) that it all evens out.

We stopped off in at a NEW Goodwill on the way to the boat - and I landed a nice tweedy cotton sweater - perfect for fall in So. Cal for 99 Cents - and a fab wool vest with fox-like fur trim for $3.99 I think and a basket and some crewel yarn and a few books - for about $10! The Dollar Tree had more of the long scarves in black and white, which I got and spot remover -

In Sta. Paula I remembered that what I call the Oriental Bargain Store has bargain yarn - and I bought $20 worth (at $1 a skein) - Utilitarian - but nice and the price was RIGHT.  My buddy has asked me to make a baby blanket as a gift for a couple we know - so I was glad to get more acrylic yarn in the right colors for that project.  Also picked up some lavender yarn at the 99 Cent Store - along with MORE scarves! And I got more books at the Sta. Paula Goodwill - I just looked at the categories I needed and nowhere else not to be tempted! - so I was very good.

Found a lovely vintage wool sweater at the new Goodwill for $1 - which was too SMALL for me - but I will mend it and put it in the winter things to sell to the vintage store.  Should be able to make $ on it.....

And of course, eventually the books can be recycled at Bart's Books in Ojai....So it's OK if I spent $1 for some....

Bought a thrifty book  at Goodwill to give myself inspiration.  That's how I initially honed my pennypinching skills - having first learned some basics from my mother - I then really made a study of pennypinching literature! My favorite book was HOW TO LIVE ON NOTHING - which seemed to have been written in the 40's in a sort of "back to the country" movement - I like the older books because they offer intriguing tips about older ways to save/conserve/repair and so on....Maybe someday I will finally write my own. 

I do have better tips on wardrobe than the Yankee thrift book I read through -because I suppose Yankees are not much on style and more on utility! But here in L.A. - one has to be a bargain fashionista to keep up - even with my low profile lifestyle!  That's where all the scarves come in...

Oh, I also picked up a burgundy L'Oreal lip gloss at the 99 Cent Store  - great on top of my regular lipstick fro Wet N' Wild.

In the mail received some facial wash from Clearasil - which Glamour has asked me to try as part of a beauty panel trial - I am getting products all the time from my panel memberships.  If you remember, I received Olay's 2X moisturizer last week and some pricey shampoo, too.

Brought some business magazines to my writing client - and asked him for a scalpel - since he works for some surgeons and has them around - Thought it would be good for tearing apart some sewing projects I have to do.

Also my buddy showed up Friday to help me go through my closets - We actually made some PROGRESS and have a box to recycle - and he took away a bag to give to the Out of the Closet thriftshop around the corner....

So,  so far, so good - after registering our bargain Tbird we are broke agin - but my Social Security check is supposed to hit the bank on Wednesday -we will see how prompt they are!

More later - How are you all coping?  Hmmm?

P.S. A note on mending jeans.  Even though we think of jeans as BLUE, there is often a lot of GREY in that blue, especially when they are worn.  When they stretch or have to be mended - the underlying white cotton shows up and highlights the mend - I have found that using GREY washable marker (or even eye shadow) tones down the underlying white to blend in with the rest of the worn denim - and it gradually fades irregularly to blend in even more - masking the mending -  You always want your mending to fade into the background as much as possible!




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Anxious - Thrift?
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ok, this is a confession - I have been finding great bargains - but a few too many, perhaps, recently!  We are on the edge financially and waiting for some checks to come it, which will help - and here I am SHOPPING.

I have been using mall walking as a lure for my walking as exercise - and yesterday after I rode along with hubby to the W. side so I could hand in some paperwork from my French commercial job (he was at a W. Side school, working) - I then decided to walk up and down Main Street in Santa Monica - which has a nice upscale shopping area. Actually, I thought everything would be SO expensive that I wouldn't be tempted by anything except what's at the lone church thrift shop - but - alas I found lovely BARGAINS - and bought a lovely heather knit shawl/vest, and a ring with a garnet 1/2 off for $9! I suppose I was a little nuts to get the knitting thing - & I was persuaded by the fact that it HAD BEEN $88(?) The ring was a great deal - the only one there in jewelry & is perfect for wearing on my middle finger - as my new look is sporting multiple silver rings.

So, I was looking great in my thriftshop Polo bright pink top worn with jeans and an ethnic scarf - (& my pink Topsiders) - & I got carried away.   Had lots of fun, talked to the shopkeepers and so on - and walked up and down - But, ouch, Pamela.   I joked that I will be the best dressed homeless person - not that it's gotten to THAT.

Let's see - I do have an image to maintain as an actress in L.A. and I do have to dress "up" for certain appearances, like the one at the production office on the W. Side.   And I DO DO it on the very cheap - But there is so much wardrobe to be gone THROUGH. Waiting on a buddy to help and then will take the vintage to be recycled at a vintage store on Vermont Ave. where I have been going for years. (They said they won't take winter things until after Halloween).

Help! What does one do as a female?  You just have to have clothes and so on!  I manage to get lots of beauty freebies (just received a month's worth of Olay's 2X moisturizer (@ $30 worth?- from Vocal point) - and I seem to have WON some fancy shampoo from Allure).  And I get discount lipstick and other makeup (I also got some Covergirl makeup and mascara - gratis.)

I don't have manicures or pedicures - and I manage to have nice hair without spending a fortune on it a(Hint - I use colored shampoo + conditioner and stock up at the dollar stores when available). I am still working though the moisturizer collection I bought up in Ojai for $9 - & that included 2 lip glosses!

My hair is very long and needs to be cut, but I am thinking of trying to SELL it on the internet - there's a site for that - Why not?  I have at least 7" and it's in great shape....Very O'Henry, no?

Used my Associated Content money on Paypal to buy a knitting kit on sale from Lion Brand yarn - Have to write more articles for pin money!

Oh, all this stuff makes me feel good, and since I have a depressive tendency, I veer towards pleasurable enterprises....And I am well dressed and have a yarn stash acquired on the cheap and nice facial products and makeup and...and...Rings on my fingers, if not bells on my toes!

But, I confess that there is a bit of bravado in the face of being strapped, which is counter -intuitive, since I should be avoiding ANY purchases, bargains or not - but don't you find that when your purse is the slimmest that the BEST bargains pop up?  (I found nearly new Talbot's loafers at the thrift shop for $6!  such a nice buttery color - after I got them hubby noticed wear on the toe (?) - but I fixed that up with an application of my yellow coverup stick! - You can use makeup on shoes, too!  And looking them up on line - I found they would have been $99!!)  My weakness -

I did phone hubby to see if any purchases were permitted - (which they were) - And I DID get a nice walk out of the shopping expedition - It seems when I have worked and made some money, I feel I have the right to spend some - I did the same thing last year with a stylish print chiffon dress - another steal....

Hubby said that would mean we couldn't have dinner out - but I replied that I would much rather have clothes than food - so we went and ate at home - and saw some great horror flicks on TCM - including THE TINGLER, with Vincent Price. Tuesday is old movie night on TCM, and I gorge myself on them - I almost stayed up to see another one, but was just too beat.

Finished an orange scarf last night- using big needles and the advice of a shopkeeper who knits that orange + pink work together - of course! I have SO MUCH orange - so I have to think how to put it to good use....Oh, and a knitting store site said I could just cast on 150 stitches to make a long scarf/shawl laterally - size 15 needles, which I have.  I suppose that's my next project!

So bear with me - no saint, I - and you - what's your weakness??






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Broke but happy?
Monday, October 19, 2009

We had car troubles this month, which has left us terribly broke.  So I found it heartening to be able to waltz into Victoria's Secret with a coupon from their Club Pink and get a pair of deep pink bikini underwear GRATIS. (They were marked $7.50 - imagine.)  They had $45 bras, and the other coupon wanted to lure me, as it was $10 off a bra - but even with $10 off they were still TOO expensive. Fun to look, though. And the coupon got me to the mall for my weekly mall walk.  

I also bought a knitting kit on sale on line from Lion Brand yarns with the bit of money I had in my PayPal account.  I thought I was supposed to get a discount of $25 from the PayPal Buyitnow option - for something else - but ??? Still checking on that.  The Buyitnowoption of PayPal is great for grabbing internet bargains - you can just be billed later (when you know you will have the $.)

Made $ on the Fr. commercial I shot Saturday in downtown L.A. - and I brought home some rolls, fruit, and  cookies which I didn't eat as a little treat for hubby. (They had lovely craft service catering on site, and I enjoyed a nice hot lunch and lots of coffee.) Waiting for THAT check - have to submit all sorts of paperwork for the French government, so they don't take a third for their taxes....It was a curious pleasure to be able to enjoy a fairly picturesque downtown street in L.A. and be totally relaxed  because of the presence of the cops for the shoot, and so on....

Received freebie magazines, vitamin samples and Philosophy samples through the mail this week! Always look forward to the mail nowadays...

Have to rack up some more Paypal $ - Another article about something?  Seem to be getting back Associated Content royalty payments??

In the mall we talked with a Cash for Gold vendor at a cart - They are really looking for old gold to melt down & a chain that they had as decoration, would have been almost $500 in the same weight in real gold.  They are only paying about $.35 per unit for silver, though...I do have some gold rings, etc. I could recycle if I felt I had to...But one's jewelry is a sort of bank account, as one can always pawn it/sell it. Getting divorced?  Pawn those diamonds to get some getaway $.

Hubby is working on our "new to us" 80's Thunderbird he bought from our mechanic for $500.  Do you know you can use regular spray paint on CARS?  Hubby did that to touch up the trim, and so on (from the $.99 Store, by the way, along with engine/oil additives.)  I told him to spray the interior with Febreze to freshen it up - which he did with great effect. The car is almost old enough to be a classic, and so far everything seems to work.  Mark replaced a bad speaker in the sound system with one he had found in a thrift store...I have to admit the car was a bit scuzzy when hubby first got it - but now - it's amazing, it looks FINE! And I really would rather drive that on the L.A. freeways than a crackerbox tin little Japanese car that crumples at the first contact.  We won't be going far - this is for around town - so mileage isn't paramount here. Think hubby is actually enjoying this renovation! 

A colleague of mine seems to think we are a bit mad - I told hubby that and he agreed - we ARE a bit mad.  But to quote Quentin Crisp (Saw the flick An Englishman in N.Y. about his last days on cable last night) -  if madness is you - it's your style! 

And surprisingly the T-bird has a certain retro chic which appeals to me! 

Looking forward to my first Social Security check at the end of the month....

How are you all? 





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Bacon Bits, etc.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I joke with my husband that he brings home the bacon and I bring home the bacon BITS.  Got published on Associated Content & made some pin $ that went into my PayPal Mastercard - THEN I got an  email about a deal for $25 off if you paid with PayPal and used the Bill Me Later Option - So I sprung for a Native American silver ring at - which,with $25 off + free shipping + my Pay Pal $,  should only end up being about $3 directly out of pocket.  I splurged.

Oh, and hubby and I went to Target to get reimbursed for the item that never made it into our bags.  Whew, they had a lot of receipts for similar errors.  A whole file of them!  Gee, all that lost stuff.  At least We got reimbursed with a gift card - so I went right back to the same department and found a similar dress on sale - actually I like it better than the other one I had lost, because this one, while filmy like the other one, has a lining. (Oh, I heard my mother's voice in my head when I found myself telling hubby that.)  It 's an autumnal color - and since I lived in So Cal - I will be able to wear it in the coming months.

  • That's a shopping tip - look for transitional clothes on the sales racks.  A lot of clothes are really not determined by the season - especially if you don't live in a very cold climate! For fall/winter here I can wear lighter weights in dark colors and be just fine.  The other day I saw someone walking in the brilliant sunshine in W. Hollywood with some sort of fur around her neck, and October or not - it did look out of place!  But then, I rarely find it cold enough here to wear my boots.

I GOT the commercial - so now I am rummaging around for summer clothes to show the stylist.  That's one reason my bedroom is jammed with clothes of all sorts! Hubby is happy because I will be bringing in some more $ - bacon chunks, this time!  And it justifies my hours at the computer and so on - looking for WORK.

  • Received a very generous sample of day cream from Clarins for joining them on Facebook - I sign up for all the panels and so on - as I have gotten some nice products from them - gratis.
  • We are doing a lot of car stuff - as our aging cars, well, AGE  - and we have traded off the truck to a friend up in Ojai to use, and have bought a VERY cheap little car from our mechanic - that's for my use, although I haven't driven it yet....The Mercury seems to like the transmission goop we put in, and has very few clunks - If the little car doesn't pan out for our use - we know several people who would be happy to buy it. Wouldn't it have been nice to have been able to do the Cash for Clunkers thing - but it, alas, was only for a new car - and we can't really afford those monthly payments right now.
  • Found hundreds of dollars worth of yarn at the thrift shops up in Ventura last weekend! So now my yarn stash is renewed at about $.20 on the dollar,  Nice stuff, too - better quality than I could otherwise afford - or that's how I justify me buying all those bags of it.  Now or never sort of thing.
  • Also found hubby some tshirts for $.50 at a sale at one of the old ladies thrift shops.  He needed them, as his are getting ratty - and these were just the right size. In addition, found some nice $.25 paperbacks and a $1.25 fashion ring with a glass "stone".  They were having a sale!
  • Hubby found a practically new Bill Blass golf shirt at the thrift shop in Ojai - and I found more yarn - and at another one at pair of very nice navy knit pants, and a silk scarf and a couple of visors.

I don't feel too guilty about it all, because we do almost all of our shopping at dollar stores and thrift shops, with occasional forays into real stores for sales if there is a coupon. I have a new coupon for a pair of pink underwear from Victoria Secret, of all things - to justify my next mall walk. (The weather here has turned rainy. )Ha! When I told a friend that hubby had grunted at spending $40 - he laughed and said that I had turned hubby into as big a cheapskate as I am! (Well - $40 is NOT what it used to be....)

At least we do most of that sort of shopping at these thrift shops on the weekends - and during the week will only buy food or medicine!  One of my new prescriptions has a co-pay of $40, as there is no generic - ugh.

  • We also used a coupon for 2 for one iced coffees at McD's - hazelnut - sweet, but nice.
  • Another clothes secret - some  maternity clothes fit me just fine!  I didn't notice that the peasant dress from Target was from a maternity line until I brought it home (I did black out the maternity on the tag, though!) And the navy knit pants had that maternity elastic, too - I  find that there are very nice things on the maternity racks sometimes, because there is all this stylish maternity wear - and they have barely been used, too! I am sort of boxy in my physique by nature - never had much of a waist - so things cut for expecting mothers fit me just fine.  But don't TELL anyone...
  • Exchanged a small pile of newish books at Bart's (the used bookstore in Ojai) for trade credit and received a $9 credit, most of which I immediately spent on their $.50 books.  The books I exchanged had been expensive new (one marked $25) - but I hadn't spent that much, as they all came from thrift shops and so on & the $25 one had cost me $.50 - so I got the better part of the deal. Nice to exchange books, as it were - all with NO money and a bit of hunting.

That's all for now folks! No pix because I am at hubby's laptop & no pix there, sorry....

P.S. I think the economy is making everyone cranky - what do you think? 




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Comparisons & Deals
Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Had a $10 Target gift card, so hubby and I did a mall walk (it was smoky from some brushfires outside anyway...) and I thought I had gotten a tunic which was about $10 off the sale price with the gift card - which made it about $10 - and hubby found $2.99 pillows (elsewhere they had been $7 on sale), so we got 2 new ones- BUT the filmy tunic never made it into the pillow bag - and we never got it! Called Target - luckily we have the receipt - and they say they will make good.  We will see....

Found some more thrift shop yarn, and a nice pair of pants for $3.  But my odd coup was to make a ring out of a $.25 hoop earring with a dragon fly on it - it was made of silver wire, so I bent it around my finger & broke off the part that goes in your ear.  Very cute.  And it fits on the middle finger where I want to wear it... Gee, the plastic rings like the one I got at one of my Oriental cheapie bargain stores for $1 cost TEN DOLLARS at Target!!??  And the silver-toned long chain necklace I bought for $2 at the thriftshop cost almost $20 at Target, too - and mine is of a better quality. (But another silver wire ring flipped away when I took it off my finger last night before knitting, and I CAN'T FIND it!  I did find my blue plastic watch I had gotten for $1 - similar ones in Target were $12.)

Another find - a woolen/acrylic blend sweater on a dollar rack.  It was pilled - and I had to take off the the furry tufts, but for $1???  It's in fashion with a hood to wear as a sweater jacket, too.  And a great fall color.I think I will be wearing it A LOT.  Funny how that goes....

Hubby steered me into a Ben Franklin for more yarn....I showed him the prices even with some off - so he would realize why I grab at bargain yarn wherever I find it! (I got a ball at a thrift shop for $.25!)  And now I have some accent colors so I can continue to make my scarves.  Heaven knows how many I have by now.  HOW do people pay $80 just for YARN for a sweater?

Oh, the pink/grey sweater from another dollar rack I thought I was going to rip up for yarn turned out to be a cape of sorts - so I am opening the seam in front (it's just thread) and will actually wear it.  Another fashion item.  I am also taking out my grey sweater coat from the closet.  

I have boots to wear - but it's never really COLD enough in So. Cal.  The Hollywood sylphs wear them - I don't know how they manage....

Received the package of 3 "shape/underwear" garments from yesterday.  A great buy.  I pick up those sort of things when I see them, because otherwise they are dreadfully expensive...but at $3 each, not so bad....

Unexpectedly found a couple of nice new hardback books at the Dollar Tree of all places!  Bought 4. They will make nice Xmas presents, along with the scarves, of course.  And my brother's birthday is in December, too....(By the way, I saw a sign at the checkout that they will have vintage clothing??? I will check it out at their website, now that I think of it....)

Did I mention that I mended my knee length jeans?  one pair was good enough to wear to that audition and I forgot all about the mending....

My weakness is that I can't seem to manage a "one in, one out" policy for my clothes - so I continue to accumulate.  A buddy says he will have time to help me out next month after getting through a move.  I watched a TV program about hoarders the other night, and hubby made some knowing wisecracks - but my accumulations are MUCH better organized than those undifferentiated PILES.  And they have HOUSES, too - not just a one bedroom apartment! But the emotional aspect hit home for me.  There is a strong emotional attachment to things, which some of us have....and the fact that you probably can't do it without HELP - if you haven't been able to tackle it - & you know, that's OK.  The women seemed really so sad somehow. And therapy is almost always in order.   

I have the added justification of my checkerboard life as an actress besides everything else.  I could use a closet the size of my bedroom, like the stars have! I read an article about having only 30 outfits of quality - but that's for a business woman - it would never work for me. I have jeans/tshirts/sweatshirts, etc. for home and writing and computer work.  Then upgrades for going out - and costumes for auditions (I save old ugly clothes I wouldn't wear otherwise!) And clothes to wear up at the boat where it's beachy....

Still haven't started the yoga classes, yet.  Found my mat,though...

Can't believe rich women pay their dermatologists for regular skin care. (I was looking at book about being classy.) I would only go with a bad rash! It's not that hard to tend to your own skin if you pay attention.  My skin used to be oily, but has dried out - so, I change my regimen...And even then there is leeway for climate, etc.  There is so much info out there on the net - there really is no excuse for ignorance.  And so many great drugstore brands, too.  

For some reason my nails are like rocks nowadays, and I can't figure out WHY, as they have always been weak.  The COQ10 I have been taking?  The glucosamine for my joints?  I really don't know, but I have nails for the first time in my LIFE.

Checked up on a letter we got from Blue Cross about my psych's bill - turns out we don't owe anyone anything, so I don't know WHY they even SENT it.  But perhaps the phone # will help me find a practitioner within the system, as I can't afford my outside therapist anymore....

Still nervous about getting my Social Security early.  I am going to get some $ by the end of October - I had no idea it would be so fast, as I had read that it would take 3 months! But, you know, we really need the money - and I am practically retired anyway.  You can't call writing $4 articles for Associated Content WORK, really - it's just pin money.  But it does go on my Paypal Mastercard, so I can use it to order things on the net.....

Had an audition for a FRENCH commercial.  Americans throwing snowballs in the summer -  for France? - Would be nice $, though. But you are warned to file paperwork with the French government or they will take 33.33% off in taxes.  (And the teabag folks complain here!)  But that includes one's healthcare, so it's probably a deal in the long run....As for me, I try to stay as healthy as possible.

So that's the news from not-so-Lake Woebegon! (No lake, though....except Lake Casitis which we drive past every once in a while....) Ha! I saw a 1950's scifi flick on TCM and they were using the beach at Zuma Beach N. of L.A. for Chesapeake Bay?? and they blew up L.A. buildings that were supposed to be Washington, D.C., too. I had forgotten that there was an actor in it I met in the 70's - he had become a writer to support the family, but still missed performing...Me? I chose to starve, I guess - and pennypinch!














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