Thank you so much for joining me on AddictedtoSaving.com! My name is Liza and I began my money-saving journey in the Spring of 2009 as a way to stretch a limited household income. I had lost my job and my husband was self-employed. As you can imagine, income was very tight. I cut as many expenses as I could by contacting every single company that we paid bills to each month. Despite this, we still struggled financially although God provided for us month in and month out. To be fully forthright, our mortgage payment went unpaid for many months. We had no choice – we had to prioritize the money we spent on expenses each month and necessities like electricity, water, and health insurance were our priority. My husband and I literally discussed every purchase we were going to make to make sure we were both on the same page – even if we were just going to spend $10.00.
Every week, I would continue to go to the grocery store and spend what seemed to be $100+ on just a few bags of groceries. When you don’t have enough money coming in to cover even your groceries, you know it is time to make a change. I remember watching The Today Show one morning and watching a woman go grocery shopping and spending what seemed to be around $5.00 on around $80.00 worth of groceries. I wanted to be that lady. So, I submerged myself into the world of couponing and found that in about 5 months, I had learned not only to save money, but also that as I saved, I was getting more groceries for every dollar spent. It was a crazy concept – save more money and get more for my money? I loved it. And, I felt a level of empowerment that was missing for quite a while. I wasn’t able to contribute to my family by earning paychecks BUT I could contribute by saving hundreds of dollars each month.
I started telling my friends and family and found that many of them were asking me questions on a daily basis. I found myself emailing them “how-to” emails so often that at one point, my husband suggested I start a blog. So, I started Addicted to Saving in November of 2009. My blog started as hobby where I would post 4 or 5 times a day. Fast forward to now. I now blog full-time on Addicted to Saving as well as give Addicted to Saving 101 seminars throughout the state. I also have had the honor of being a frequent guest on many television shows. My life now revolves around couponing. I try to use my blog as a ministry to help others with the goal that as you learn how to coupon, you will pay it forward by donating your food, toiletries, etc. My blog has also blessed me as I have met so many of you via emails and Facebook and have learned your stories. You all inspire me to continue to work day in and day out.
Many of you have followed our adoption journey the past few years. We experienced much grief and heartache along the way, but we are now so thankful that we have finally become parents to Asher. We brought Asher home from Ethiopia in August of 2013 and our life has never been BUSIER or better!
We are also parents to our furbabies. Louie (short for Luigi), a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and Rosie (short for Rosetta), a gray tabby cat.
During my free time, you will find me doing one of two things, cooking or running. I love to run and I like to run at least a few half marathons each year. Running is an excellent outlet for me – often I will think up recipes or blog posts as I’m out running!
Thanks to some friends, family and Addicted to Saving Facebook Fans who provided fun questions, below is a random FAQ about me:
How did you survive the tough financial times you experienced? My faith in God promised that He was with me always. Despite the financial hardships, He was standing beside me protecting me and I had to trust that He would take care of us. We always had a roof over our heads and we always had food to eat. We learned to appreciate and be thankful for small things that we had previously taken for granted.
How do you stay balanced? I’ve found that as my blog has grown, it has been more and more difficult to remain balanced with my priorities. I love to run. I also love to cook. So for me, experimenting in the kitchen with spices and food from my stockpile is a lot of fun for me.
How much do you run? I run as much as my body and time allows I have previously run 2 full marathons, 15+ half marathons, and countless 5 & 10ks. My long runs are usually on Sunday mornings so Sunday afternoon is usually spent lounging with my legs elevated. **update – now that I’m a mom chasing a busy baby boy, I don’t get to elevate my legs..
What made you decide to share your knowledge with so many? I so desperately want everyone to know that with a little effort, you can very easily reduce your out of pocket spending on groceries/toiletries/household items by well over 50%. I know that many of you are in dire straits and I want you to know that there is hope! Couponing will not save all of life’s problems, but it will help you save hundreds of dollars each month.
If your house was on fire (knock on wood), what one thing would you grab before running out the door? Well, after seeing that Asher and my hubby was safe, I would grab my dog first and then would try to grab my cat. I don’t have any physical possessions that matter more than my family.
Do you ever go shopping and take people with you to help teach them? I have done this and find that it is so much fun! I wish I had more time in the day to do this on a regular basis!
What’s the one product you get most excited about getting with coupons? My excitement probably varies from week to week. I love getting good deals on things like Ziploc baggies, laundry detergent, canned beans (see below), salsa and hummus.
What’s your household’s favorite go-to meal? I love making home-made pizza (I used to use Publix pizza dough but thanks to the advice of many of my readers, I have now switched to Sam’s pizza dough. Sam’s is so much cheaper and so easy to spread.) Lasagna is also a fun go-to meal because my husband loves it and raves about it. (Even though I use the recipe on the back of the Barilla lasagna noodles box – shhh – don’t tell anyone) And, this isn’t a meal, but we have coffee brewing all morning and most afternoons. Coffee is a staple in this house.
Do you have any favorite quotes or words to live by? I thought about getting a tattoo with this Chinese. But, because I’m not a tattoo person and because I’m a chicken, I will probably never get it inked onto my skin. My words to live by are “Strength from God.” I repeat this saying in my head when I’m running marathons or half marathons. I remember that each step is a gift from God and that he is giving me the strength to endure to the finish line. And, a new motto of mine is “Choose Joy”. There are so many people out there who have it much worse than I. I need to Choose Joy each day regardless of what life throws at me. (I did have a hard time this morning when the lid to my favorite casserole dish shattered all over my kitchen counter and floor..)
Do you hoard anything? YES – I have a major hoarding obsession with canned beans. I know I know – how odd am I? But I love canned beans – black beans, chick peas, cannelloni beans, etc. Beans last forever, have high fiber, high protein and you can do so much with them. So, if you come to my house and see that I have 80+ cans of beans, you will find that I will offer for you to take home any and everything in my stockpile.. Well, everything but the beans.
How hard was it to get started couponing and how long did it take to get off of the ground? For me, it did take me a while to fully understand how to coupon. I didn’t grasp the concept of the difference between store and manufacturer coupons. I didn’t understand the concept of stockpiling. It took me between 4 – 5 months to really grasp and understand what I was doing. And, by the end of the 5 months, I had a sufficient stockpile to live off of which helped decrease my future spending. I found that I started consistently saving 80% each week after I had been couponing for 5 months.
Are there any items you will purchase without a coupon? Yup! I’ve found that the way that I am able to stay motivated to coupon week in and week out is to allow myself to purchase items without coupons! My favorite splurge item to buy without coupons is carrot cake from the bakery section of Publix, fresh bread in the Publix bakery, and Cabot Sharp Cheddar cheese – I make a mean mac & cheese with Cabot cheese. (just to name a few!)
Do you have a luxury item you will splurge on? My weakness is purses. I know that most women love clothing, shoes, makeup, etc. For me, I love purses. I will only buy purses with coupons and sales though. My favorite coupon is Coach Outlet’s 30% off coupon. If they have a 50% off sale, with the coupon, you are scoring big bucks off of a purse!
How big is your stock pile? My stockpile would probably disappoint most of you. Even though TLC’s Extreme Couponing contacted me about going on their show, I by no means have an extreme stockpile. I have enough food to last us 6 months and I have enough toiletries and household items to last us 6 months to a year.
Do you have kids?
We don’t – God hasn’t blessed us with children. **Update – we do! A beautiful boy named Asher who we brought home from Ethiopia in August, 2013. We do, however, have animal babies – I have a dog (Pacey, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) that I would give my right arm for. He actually is a very active participant on this blog as he is usually nestled next to me as I type deals all day. He is sick with cancer so we are trying to enjoy each and every day that we have with him. **Update – Pacey is no longer here and just typing that grieves my heart. We do have another Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Louie (he is pictured above). We also have a cat named Rosie. She is a skinny little thing and still looks like a kitten even though she is almost 9 years old. I am a huge animal lover and I admit that if I could, I would have a house full of animals and yes, you all would then call me the Crazy Cat Lady.