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 8 posts from March 2011 for this blog.
As it goes - thriftily
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just won a free book via site.  I always enter contests for books and things - I don't win very big - but when you consider the retail prices of books, it's not too bad!

For some reason hubby encouraged me to go to HIS favorite Valley thriftshops on Sunday.  But I should have known - he has thrift shop ESP - & what did I find, but practically new Sperry Topsiders in his size for $7.99 - They are in a nice light spring color & perfect for him.  We used to get our Topsiders at Big 5 on sale - but I think Sperry has re-thought it's distribution plan - They have, however, just opened a store in the out in Camarillo, CA - I would have considered shopping there - but this was even a better DEAL.  Hubby sprayed the inside of the shoes with anti-disinfectant spray & then used my foot powder.  Hubby dresses better than he ever has - from thrift shopping!

I found a silver-plated dish (have to look up the hallmark) - & a leather bag for $7.99!!! Now, I think this was a case of mistaken identity - perhaps they thought it was vinyl?  But  a leather bag at that price is impossible not pass over.  Now that I have dragged hubby thru Nordstrom's & Macys a few times - noting the prices of the leather handbags - he no longer can carp at me snapping up an $8 find - (I recommend that tactic to all of you bargain hunters.)

Of course, the same day he found an amp for $20 - like the ones he had been looking at new at Radio Shack for $80! (He has a gig coming up with his AA songs at a local convention & is getting equipment together....we also bought a stool for $10....)

Going slow on the clothes unless it's cheap or fabulous - Also picked up a large ceramic vase at one store & some fancy dried /dyed queen Anne's lace & made an arrangement to put next to the TV & cover all the wires....Those are the little niceties I enjoy getting from thrift shops - fancy dried flowers that I couldn't afford otherwise....When one is thrifty - one can afford to treat oneself!

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Dollar Tree Quickie Tip
Monday, March 28, 2011

Hey - if you are new to dollar stores like DOLLAR TREE & the 99 CENTS store - you can go to to see what they offer.  They even sell items here by the case - if you need that much! It's doesn't cover everything, of course - like the relaxation CDs I have bought there - but You can see the range of the usual merchandise - & more specifically, what you local Dollar Tree will be stocked with....


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Free Books
Friday, March 25, 2011

Just received a free book from - It's a $13 value & I am supposed to review it on their site - no prob. I have done book reviews in the past in exchange for books I wanted to read - not a bad trade....The publishing house have extra copies floating around all over the place....

Also check out the Random Read It Forward Program - & become an eHarlequin insider & you will get free books, too. 

Not to mention free downloads - freestufftimes lists them daily - Even without an eReader you can put them on an eReader program for your PC.  And try Gutenberg project for old free classics...

It's been pouring here - we are caught inside & all that FREE  reading matter makes it a lot cozier....

PS They are not free, but Dollar Tree now has brand new paperback & hardback books for $1 (You could read them carefully & keep them clean & then give as gifts!)

PPS I always look at the bargain rack at Barnes & Noble - That's the only place I allow myself to buy books there....


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

The torrential rains here in So. Cal have kept us home & inside. No boat! Last Sunday, I actually asked to do my editing work long distance on the phone + internet - the rain was SO bad, and hubby & I really didn't want to have to fight our way out there.  I don't do it often - but it worked out fine - except with interfacing MAC to PC I almost lost an hour's work! Luckily I found it in the "temporary files".  WHEW!!!! Remember that your computer has such things - & keeps work temporarily...& send documents in Rich Text File when you are interfacing with another program - RTF -It makes the document easier to convert.

I have a free program called CC Cleaner, which gets rid of temporary files and cookies and such - & helps the computer to run better. With all the surfing I do, sometimes the computer seems to get tied up in knots & then a run of the CC Cleaner helps it out!

We are keeping to budget - which is a lesson - because I think it's because we have been staying at HOME.  I did buy some yarn & trimmings at the local thrift store - no clothes.  I am on a clothes hiatus, I have so much stuff....Only GREAT things & of course, cheap nice t-shirts!

Out buddy George lost a lot of his clothes in a fire - so we went to the Sta. Paula thrift shop with its wonderful dollar rack & bought him some things. At $1 a piece, we could afford to!

Then, because we knew he needed money, we bought a djembe drum (with case) from him. It's a lovely drum, & as I have been drooling over djembe drums with ceramic bases for a long while, I knew it was still a deal. We give at home.

The neighbor lady across from me is old and ill & she is frankly always "borrowing" money from us for medicine & the bus & so on.  She may be a bit out of it - but she is an El Salvadorean refugee and has had a very hard life.  So we figure that it's our way of giving - we give at HOME.  And I try to give her little things on the holidays and so on - to brighten up her rather drab life.  Now that I have learned some Spanish, we can communicate better & I know that she is grateful, as she brings us food and so on when she can -

Having good neighbors is a benefit - It adds to your security as well as creating a friendly atmosphere - I saw a commercial about security systems in which they said that most of the robberies occur during the DAY.  Well, not here - even though we are in a modest neighborhood.  There is always someone looking out for the security of the "house."  So no electronics are necessary!

My friends are selling lots of things on eBay - vintage clothing & such - I really have to look at my collection & put some up for sale.  I have some beaded bags & they have gone through the roof.  Perhaps it's time to unload some.......?

It's Spring after all - spring cleaning & all that - I have my generic Zyrtec allergy pills by my bedside, so I won't forget to take it...& I did have some killer sinus headaches last week - a bit of homeopathic Tree solution & some Sudafed helps - & my freebie neti pot with the salt water to cleanse my nasal passages! I do it all....

How's the pollen by you?  I look it up on a free pollen forecast from the drug companies so I know how to dose myself.....I am my own allergist at this I am my own doctor for many other minor ailments.  But it's better than having someone in my nasal passages with a scalpel! I stay away from doctors as much as I can. 


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Honest Scavenging, etc.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I confess, I am a hopeless scavenger - it's very hard for me to leave perfectly good stuff in or by the trash! And this week, there have been some pickings:

  • Sunday up in Calabasas, an upper class neighborhood where I work - Hubby & I found a set of 3 brown metal folding chairs out for the trash.  Now - these were slightly rusted & not for inside - but I keep on trying to furnish my apartment with OUTSIDE chairs - & these are good enough for that - & not so good that anybody will STEAL them! And if they do, they were FREE, so who cares?  Washed them off & fixing the broken plastic on the seats with duct tape....
  • Also found some items out by the trash when I went to get the chairs from the garage - a Pier !-type box/side table, a corner rattan stand & a chrome garbage binThey are used, of course, - but not hopeless.  I think I am going to try to leave the box outside as a side table & the corner stand could either go outside for plants, or inside the apartment in the corner...& perhaps hubby will approve of the garbage bin.  (If not, we can always take them up to Venturat to sell at  the Boaters Swap Meet on 3/25.) Hmm,.what else can I sell???

My neighbors, heaven help them, are prone to leaving good stuff out by the trash bin.  Stuff that I would have dragged off to Out of the Closet, but as Armenians, they don't seem to have gotten into the swing of things there.  They actually were embarrassed the few times I have had yard sales here - as they don't get it that it's an old American custom & doesn't mean to advertise that we are as poor as some of the Mexican ladies who hold perpetual yard sales on corners around here! Just thrifty!

I have an old oil painting that I rescued from the trash when an old neighbor lady died - I just washed it off & touched it up & hung it in my bathroom.  And you know, similar ones go for $20+ at some thriftshops  - & it even has a nice frame.  Who cares what the steam from the showers & baths do to it!

Oh, & I found hubby wearing one of the free tshirts I got over the internet for him. 

Another idea - I have found internet freebies offers that you can share with your friends - & I am signing up my acting agent and other friends to get those.  The one I could even personalize with a Happy Birthday greeting to my agent! & voila! a GRATIS present.....

I also had sent off for a FREE 3-day Metro pass - which I am giving to my neighbor, who is quite poor.  Hope it can help a bit.  She is our charity.  We give at HOME.(But we did donate to the American Red Cross for the disaster in Japan.)

NOTE:  I do find all this radiation threat from Japan very worrisome - & find myself looking up radiation exposure charts on the internet to see if the news media is being frank with us.  Not that there is much one can do besides cover oneself up & wash yourself off when you come inside & stay inside.  (Thank heaven I avoid xray exposure.  The last thing one needs is extra radiation....)

We did not go to the boat last weekend due to tsunami warnings - as there was an advisory & who knew what could happen? I assuage my fears by always thinking of an escapt route to take if necessary - altho I think the Channel Islands do protect us somewhat....And when I get scared, I always stock up on more disaster supplies - water & so on....helped me in the Northridge quake.

I bet you Midwesterners fell better than we do out here in California.  Keep the faith.


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My Week
Friday, March 11, 2011

Went off to the dermatologist for my scalp issue & ugh, got "1st level care." - So he didn't know much more than ME.  I suppose I could have avoided going to the doctor all together - but I want to get RID of this crappy dry scalp!

Got stronger reading glasses - Always pick "generic" eyeglass frames - which are the most thrifty & which I like the best, anyway! (Don't want to pay a premium for a designer name...) So, my glasses will be $65 in the end - some of which is paid by my husband's insurance...

Stopped off at a local thrift shop I don't normally go to - (I was in S. Pasadena) - Found some black jeans & a white sweater on the dollar rack! And picked up some painted metal plant/candle holders with leaves on them to use as jewelry "trees."  I had been looking at them at Urban Outfitters and elsewhere  - but they were, of course, pricey there - Here I bought a set of 3 for $1.25 each.  Now I have draped my jewelry I wear artistically on the holders!

Also bought some small things for hubby for his coming birthday - as he is always with me, it's hard to shop for him....

Took a scenic route home through neighborhoods I don't usually visit & stopped off at the Atwater district shopping street & took my walk up & down looking at things. (Have to get myself MOVING.)

Ugh.  There were the new parking meters I had heard about - which only took $1 (coins?)/quarters or an ATM card.  I threw in one of the quarters I usually save for laundry, and with the 3 mins. left on the meter for 18 mins. in which to walk. Did find a new used book store that is actually BUYING books - and passed on the info to my friend who is looking to sell a library from a clergyman he knows.

Also picked up the brochure from a dance/exercise studio there.  They have "community" classes very inexpensively - That's a hint for you all.  Yoga/Ta Chi and similar places often offer cheaper "community" classes in a reflection of their one spiritual heritage....($5 instead of $15!) But very early....

Had an audition yesterday,  for which I had to drive all the way to Santa Monica - & then I got lost & had to use my emergency reading glasses & pull over to read the map.  It was one time I could've used GPS - but maps are much less EXPENSIVE & you can learn the terrain from them, too....There had been hassle about confirming the audition - but I got there very early & it was such a big call that it didn't make any difference! (It would be nice to make some $ from all that.)  I had to turn down a very little job for $ yesterday - because my agent had sent me on the S.M. call - but I tried to be very sorry all around.....It was no big deal - but even pin money...

I have clothes which I save for "good" and for auditions - & I take them off as soon as I get home & get into my t-shirts & jeans....makes everything last longer....That's a benefit of living in a modest neghborhood. 

On Thursday morning on my way to my doctor's in Pasadena, I was filled with gratitude - the mountains were lovely in the distance, and I drove through Los Feliz by Griffith Park and thought to myself what a nice part of Los Angeles I live in.  That's why I have stayed there all those years -

Right now is offering a FREE Kindle download of an old household manual - THE AMERICAN FRUGAL HOUSEWIFE by Lydia Maria Francis Child -  It's one of those old-fashioned 19C? early 20th C Household guides.  I ran into an old volume like that when I was in high school, and it helped to get me started on my frugality program.   Lots of interesting old remedies and so on.  And some down-home old time American frugal philosophy, much of which still holds true today.

A Kindle would be nice, but did you know that you can download free books to a KINDLE program on your PC? has almost daily lists of FREE Kindle downloads - and the Gutenberg project has all kinds of interesting free books, as well.....I have been sneaking in peeks at my Kindle books while I am on the computer.

P.S. Because my scalp has been irritated, I used cranberry juice on my hair for red highlights and rinsed it with cold black tea.  That, and the usual hydrogen peroxide for my streaks - It all worked, too! Answering surveys online for free mascaras - They are giving that stuff away - I haven't BOUGHT one in ages.



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Latest Frugality
Thursday, March 03, 2011

Sitting here warmed by a $6 electric heater hubby picked up at the thriftstore when I complained of the cold. We had good luck to find one in a cold snap here.

What have I received in the mail?

  • Magazines, of course
  • My daily subscription to the Wall St. Journal
  • A bottle of Kiehl's lavendar lotion (for filling out forms for L'Oreal)
  • A bottle of Frizzease which I won from Marie Claire

My el cheapo navy fedora arrived, too, which deserves some time here....I was surfing the net and looking for duplicates of the slippers I had found at the Thurs. (Tues.?) Morning store - and landed up at - You may know the name, as I believe it's them who advertises heavily in the Sun. ad supplements. Somehow I landed on the sale page & notices that they were selling men's "rain hats" for $3.99.  Now, by the look of it, this was the same sort of hat selling fashionably for $15+ - & the shipping was FREE, so I treated myself to a navy nylon fedora to add to my fedora wardrobe.....And sure 'nuf, it was EXACTLY the same model I have & have seen elsewhere - in navy nylon - but not a shiny kind.  In short - a GREAT stylish fedora for $3.99!!!

This validates a rule I have formulated over the years - If an item is in style & there is a generic equivalent - shop generic & save lots of $$.  That would be getting olive tshirts & camo pants at an Army-Navy Surplus Store.  My ex was big into that, & we shopped often.  I was surprised at the good deals I could get - even for me.  And he got boots & so on.

Lots of clothing is really uni-sex, as they used to say in the olde dayz....except that the placket for the buttons goes one way for men,  & another way for women (ditto the fly, I think). But who notices?  So if you find something in men's wear that you like & it fits you, why not?

The secret for both generic and men's wear is that the makers are not slaves to fashion, & produce the same basic items day in & day out - which makes the finished product cheaper than the fashionable ones! I looked at the ads that came with my hat - & perhaps someday I will venture to buy some jeans or something there....I do like plain generic clothing I can accessorize.


Making great progress with what ever was affecting my scalp - & by the time I see a dermatologist, It will be 3/4 cured! There was an interesting article in the latest FORBES magazine about Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business prof, who managed to have a heart attack, advanced -stage cancer & a stroke all within 3 years.  And he survived it ALL.

He was very pro-active in his own care, finding that diet affected his diabetes as well as his coumadin dosage - and he bought his own testing devices to take home & put them to good use - When he had a stroke, while waiting 3 weeks to see a speech therapist, he went out & bought himself Rosetta Stone's ENGLISH & began to re-teach himself language! (It can be done - my own father re-taught himself language after his cerebral episode, too)

One of the conclusions of the article were that much self-care would be emphasized in the future.  Now I just thought that self-care was a result of my crummy ins. plan - but it's all over now.

Altho how we are all going to train ourselves as diagnosticians is almost beyond me. (There is, however, a lot of info on the net nowadays....)

The moral is the same old one - don't get SICK if you want to be frugal! Invest in your own HEALTH!  End of life care is terribly expensive - so hope to just conk out as my grandmother did, without any real illness before her death...She dreaded "the old people's home" and so do I - One needs to see life and noisy kids and animals and all rather than being around sick people all the time!

I don't think I am doing too badly - my contemporaries are all grey or white-headed! and look years older than me.  I don't know about my innards - but I am doing the best I can there, too!

And knock on wood - no cancer or anything like that for me! (What was that prof doing to his body to have 3 such serious calls in such a short time? He doesn't seem to ask himself that - but he does seem to have been driven, which couldn't have helped.... )

That's Pam's rant for the day!  How are you all?


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Cheap link(s)
Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Had to share this test of one's frugality - Look in your trash!

Check out - I get it on my facebook page & there are lots of great links!

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