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 4 posts from February 2012 for this blog.
Pricey THRIFT?
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gee, I read about thrift shops across the country with items for ten cents - but up in Ventura, where I usually find bargains - the lowest price seems to be $.99!!! (OK, I did get a powdered eye shadow for $.30....but that was unusual on this trip....)

Hit the downtown Main St. Ventura thrift shops & gee - they were EXPENSIVE!!  They had boots for $75+!!! And elsewhere they had paintings (not very large or good ones) for $149???Purses for $50+!!!!  I did score some bath gel & bath salts - & a cheap necklace - but  - frankly, I was appalled at the PRICES at those thrift shops! Have they all gone NUTS? That painting might cost $149 (might, I say) - but you GO to thrift shops to get a MUCH better deal than THAT!!!

The pricers at those shops seem to have gotten on the "collectible" wagon & lost their heads! I did find a silver-plated angel candleholder for less than $2  & a long vintage silk scarf for $1- & hubby found overhead film very cheaply - but overall I found the experience terribly FRUSTRATING!!! And usually I SCORE & have such FUN!  Do they think they can get eBay prices???

We went to Dollar Tree for practical items - such as generic zyrtec & vitamins & I found more chocolate-covered coffee beans (caffeine that's easy on the stomach) - & we always buy pickles there - I DID score a copperish satin headband for my headband collection - but the lip butter (2 in a pack)  I had picked up last time was all GONE (or I would have bought some more)...All very practical....

But one does have to stock up on vitamins & I buy several of Dollar Tree's sleep formula when they are on the shelf -  as they are effective & a good deal...I also found more scar gel - which has helped me recover from the terrible rash I had around my mouth from contact dermatitis - the drug store brands are EXPENSIVE. Over the years, I found that I end up being my best dermatologist - by trial & error - And I am also trying NOT to take the generic zyrtec when not necessary, as that's the last effective allergy medication that's generic....( & therefore cheap)...But the pollen levels are VERY HIGH!

On the other hand, I do regularly spend $50 on every health food store visit (about every 6 weeks) for the nostrums I take to help my allergies....MDs sneer at homeopathic remedies - but they have WORKED for me - so if it's only the placebo effect - who CARES? My mother got me hooked on air cleaners to help when the pollen levels are high - & I even put one on the boat - which seems to be helping.....Somehow MDs don't manage to get to discussing such options & one is on one's OWN. (Oh, the air cleaners are all thrift shop babies.)

FYI hubby discovered last week from a friendly pharmacist that if he changed one of his prescriptions just SLIGHTLY, there would be only a $10 co-pay - instead of the $70 out of pocket we have been shelling out for six months or so!!!! Do you think that it occurred to ANYONE else to let us in on this???   Remember that MDs often do not factor in COST in their prescriptions!!! So if money is tight, please remember to ASK them about generics and lower-costing options (besides asking them for samples!)

Oh - we are middle class on paper - but for all of our frugality, we just squeak by.  Hubby got a scholarship for his continuing credentialing courses - but it's still several thousands of dollars out of our pockets! Does anyone consider these professional costs when calculating salaries? Of course, we DO get to deduct that $ from our taxes.....

Taxes - that's coming up, too... Will do them myself via Turbotax or a similar program for the Fed & a form for the State - (They make you PAY for online state tax filing?? and once the Fed is done, the State is EASY.) I even used the internet to get an extension last year.  Very efficient.

So - boy am I glad that hubby & I had a nice Presidents Day weekend! We really NEEDED it! Now back to the grind!!! (Do you think Abe Lincoln was a vampire hunter?  Just asking.)




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A Frugal V Day
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hubby & I had a fairly fugal Valentine's Day - 

  • I made a card with some card stock & an envelope I had plus a graphic of an old valentine I had found in a throwaway newspaper, which I glued on.  I then wrote my own sentiment on the inside of the card with my red calligraphic pen.  It worked so well that hubby thought I had BOUGHT it!
  • Lo and behold the bag of Ghirardelli Milk & Truffle Squares arrived in a ox in the mail just on Valentine's Day! (I received them as a sample through the She Speaks program.) So I wrapped it up in some red cellophane I had saved - with some recycled ribbon.

Cost of it all = Nada!

Hubby had gotten me a card & a box of chocolates...We had mutually agreed that we wouldn't go overboard for V Day, as we both have money down on musical instruments - our presents to each other.  (But I DID buy a set of high-threadcount burgundy sheets for us from One Sale a Day on the Net.!)

We ordered takeout, and he had special juice & I had some wine & then we got ROMANTIC!  He just loves it when I put on RED lipstick....

Hope you all had lovely Valentine's Days, too - 


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Refurbishing, thriftshopping & so on
Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Back to the life of a frugalista!  Wandered around South Pasadena & window shopped in the clothing boutiques.  So many things I liked - but would never pay that much $ for - This is the land of the $15 headband (on sale)!  It was nice - but I manage to get a LOT of mileage our of my Dollar Tree ones! (Think I was wearing a thin one that afternoon....)

I DID buy a vintage rhinestone necklace - it was so pretty, I couldn't resist, even though I paid too much money for it - (more than $5 is a lot for me!) It was missing a few stones - which is why I got it relatively cheap - But yesterday I proceeded to rehab it by moving some stones from the back to the front & gluing them in - I also covered up the dark holes of missing small stones with metallic silver nail polish & then sprinkled silver glitter on the spot - It makes a nice substitute for missing stones.  Did the same where I had lifted the rhinestones from the back closure - Really fairly good camouflage!   It's a choker & I don't know WHERE I will wear it - but I will find an occasion....Just fits me - it's small, as so often happens with vintage pieces....

Had great success at the Pasadena Salvation Army - Hadn't been there in months - & we happened upon a 60% off sale on clothing.  Some of my finds:

  • a pr. of Steve Madden denim high wedges for $1.80 (new Steve Madden shoes are @ $100 & up!
  • a nice coral t-shirt - for @ $4
  • a coral jacket from Land's End - @$4
  • a pr. of knit pants in a cool pattern - @$4 (the pants + jacket + t-shirt = a nice outfit!)
  • a pr. of black pants - originally capris, but almost full length on me - with sequined stars on the outer seam of the leg.  A bit glitzy for me, but at @$4, I took a chance....
  • a vintage sewing basket with a red silk lining for @$5 - It was the padded red silk on the inside of the top that did me in....(No doubt a semi-antique which escaped the vintage annex next door....I mean, how long has it been since there have been sewing BASKETS that were WOVEN & lined in red SILK?)

Hubby got a blue nylon Columbia jacket for @$5 - & a big framed poster for his office at @$7~

That's how I spend my clothes budget! All together we spent $40! 

Remember - #1 EVEN THRIFT SHOPS HAVE SALES! and #2 thrift shops in better neighborhoods have better merchandise!


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Real Busy w/OUR TOWN
Friday, February 03, 2012

Sorry, sorry, sorry - I have been so busy that I have NOT been domestic.  I was offered a part in a distinguished production of OUR TOWN at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA - directed by the reknowned David Cromer (he won a genius grant in 2010) - & I could NOT turn it down....

Great experience - did I say it starred Helen Hunt?  Boy, once again - they are ALL so miniscule - any of you out there who have any doubts - or those teenagers in anguish - please be reminded that people in show biz nowadays are TEENY!  Not an OUNCE of fat anywhere! (Not me - but then I am a character actress, no?)

One of the pleasures of the play was the opening party - & I WAS able to take out that long pink ultrasuede vest I had bought, which had just been hanging in the closet - I wore it on top of a sweater & my blue corduroys with a blue velvet scarf - & I was one of the warmer ones at that patio on a chilly Santa Monica roof restaurant!  Hubby came & enjoyed the glitz - it's nice to have a chance to wear one of my bargains & show him the overall purpose of my wardrobe! (Gee, I spent less than $20 on that vest....)

Domestic hints? I see people on the net complaining about touching up grey hair & using hair mascara - but I usually use a combination of red blonde Roux tint dabbed at my greying temples - or put on HOT strong coffee (also covers grey) -  Finally back on the computer catching up - 

Hubby's taking piles of my freebie magazines to school to distribute.  Apparently, even the kids like to look at the pictures when they come into his office & it calms them down to leaf through them.  As they are inner city kids, I am sure that they don't get to look at magazines that often....

Through my freebie sites I also always look out for freebies for school.  Just signed up for a Lego magazine today because I thought the kids would like it.  I also send for posters and other materials which hubby can bring to school....

Also looking at the pix to see if there are images I could use in my homemade Valentine....It's getting close.  There is a coupon giveaway I put up on my Facebook page (I often share deals there) - It's at pamelaruthmunro - because there are loads of "Pamela Munro"s in the USA.  Who knew?

A musical friend tipped me off to FREE tickets to see a little opera by the L.A. Opera at the Cathedral - This time I called in and actually managed to GET them. (They go very FAST.)

Oh, hubby is home from work - gotta go, see ya!



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