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 2 posts from December 2011 for this blog.
Still Bargains to Be Had!
Thursday, December 22, 2011

Usually I have done all my Xmas shopping BEFORE Thanksgiving - but due to the fact we were unemployed last summer & beyond, I was behind....

So - I have been knitting fingerless gloves - or mitts.  I downloaded the easier knitting pattern I could find - FREE off the internet - & have been knitting away through my stash.  I even had to get MORE yarn from storage - which gives me a chance to go over my stash - Whew!  It IS large.  But yarn is so expensive, that when I see it for $1 or 2 a skein, I BUY it.  Hubby really has NO idea how much yarn is - especially if it's wool - & I wanted to make most of the mitts out of wool...At a pair of mitts per ball/skein or so - that would be $5-6 & I have knitted a LOT of them - 8?  That would be $40-48 retail (for materials) & I didn't pay 1/2 that! (And I picked up $1 hardback books at Dollar Tree to go along with them....)

Bargains do make me an impulse buyer, I admit....I picked up a cashmere/wool sweater in a lovely teal with a Saks label at a Goodwill in Santa Monica - It was pilled, but I knew I could fix that - & with some scouring with a special little de-pilling tool I have had for years, it's now very nice! (& for $6)...I also bought a wool felt hat for $1.98 (similar hats were in the Anthropolgie store nearby for $48-100!)

Hubby & I also stopped into McCabe's music store on the way to Santa Monica - & there in the bargain rack were all sorts of heavily discounted Xmas & religious music books - marked mostly $1 each & some for $2 - I calculate that we bought over $100 worth of music (per back label retail value) for less than $10!

We are recycling our gift bags & hubby dug up the gift wrap from last year - We are always very thrifty vis a vis wrapping.  I dug up the wooden African figurines I had bought for colleague over the last year & gave him a grouping in the recycled tissue & Santa gift bag from a gift hubby has received!  They were for his collection & he loved it!

We also have taken out our Xmas CD collection for the holidays.  A few years ago there were a slew of Xmas CDs at the 99 Cent Store & we stocked up.  So now, we have an extensive library of them - even Xmas Reggae! 

Playing Xmas music at a local church with a buddy of mine - so we have been playing & rehearsing.  Also, with my actress hat on - I have been cast in a project to be shot in January - so,in my own way, I have been busy!  

Treated myself to some skin care items with $10 discount from Amazon & $10 from Serious Skincare...which, I suppose paid for the shipping....I so rarely PAY for skincare items that I get sticker shock, & these were on the $20 or so, on the low end, too....But one has to break down every once in a while when all the freebies, etc., run out! 

We have to pay hubby's tuition for the renewal of his credential, too.  He did get into a pilot program through UCLA & it's $3000 instead of $6000 - but we still have to fork over chunks of $1500!  Had to put it on a new credit card (which has ruinous interest rates) - & we are pledged to pay it off FAST. On the bright side, we did have some money stashed for this purpose.....but credit cards DO come in handy sometimes....& since the cut in tuition is so great, we still come out ahead....

Oh, did I say that my friend & I went down to the Music Center at noon to hear highlights from Mozart's opera Cosi Fan Tutti sung by young singers? It was FREE. We even found a cheap parking space (a miracle downtown!) Such a lovely program! (That's almost the only way we get to hear such live music these days....)

And I am still getting my freebies (yesterday it was a sample of coffee) and magazines & I am reading my free subscription to the Wall St. Journal....(I like the liberal arts features.....)

So all is well here with us.  And I hope, with you, too....

Happy Holidays! Happy Winter Solstice! etc.






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It's Coming or Advent
Friday, December 09, 2011

Advent does mean "it's coming" in a sense - & I am sure that we all are scrambling about! 

I am knitting like mad, because - having not done my usual summer/fall Xmas shopping, I have decided to give everyone hand-knitted wool fingerless gloves.  I found a VERY EZ pattern free on the net & I dug up my yarn stash & needles & so on from storage.  It is messing up the living room - but I cannot really help it. I've already made half a dozen pairs, and it's 2 more weeks til Xmasin which to knit! (Hubby has NO IDEA, as usual about these things - a ball of WOOL costs $6-8 retail & I use about a ball per pair of gloves - so, the ones I have made already would cost almost $50 in retail yarn!)  Also made hubby a pair of wool slippers - my first.  None of these productions is perfect, frankly - but for that, get a machine, I say!

Decorated the apartment - & just as well, as we seem to be spending Xmas here - & going off between Xmas & New Years - trying to fit everyone in! Hubby went & got some pine boughs, so I could make my traditional holiday arrangements in vases around the apartment. Since I have never had room for more than desk top trees (I have several which I put up yearly) - I like having vases full of pine boughs, to get the piney Xmas tree experience.  And they ARE FREE at your local Xmas Tree stand - as they trim them, & they were just going to throw them AWAY! (Or you can get them for very little - hubby tipped the guy at the tree stand a few bucks - ) Then I decorate the boughs - you can even hang ornaments on them! 

I have picked up a few Xmas things on my thrift shop visits (One I know has good deals in decorative items, whereas everything else is nice, but not cheap...) But no more than $20 worth! And for an Xmas outlay that's not bad, especially when a box of VERY nice XMAS cards is included! 

But then I have never spent much in the Xmas rush - my idea of a splurge is buying a few $5 bargain Barnes & Noble books for hubby! (I always go to a certain Barnes & Noble, as they always have a better selection of bargain books...)

I do feel cozy - the wreath I snagged at a drug store sale a few years ago is on the door - & there are even little lights around what hubby calls my Xmas "altars"!  Because the trees are so small, I buy small ornaments to scale which I enjoy looking for.  I suppose it's back to my old dollhouse days, when I did the same! But Xmas brings back the child in all of us, no?

Hubby & I are playing Santa & Mrs. Claus for the 7th or so year in a row up at Channel Islands Harbor.  Hubby is a GREAT Santa Claus & I am Mrs. Claus & am generally a helpmate...(& they even pay us something!) The children are always so cute & we do enjoy it!

How are you guys holding up?  Baking cookies? Having parties?  Do tell!




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