Monday Dare: a penny saved is a penny….say what?!

Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Try, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made before The Projectstarted and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please, feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”

This week: I will revise Lizanomics and make it work. Then petition a small country to adopt it.

Remember when I saved $45 in one week by using coupons, then I bought a $300 pair of shoes as a reward? Hark! Lizanomics was born!

Lizanomics [liz-uhnom-iks] -noun

the financial applications of a delusional grown-up rooted in the belief that saving a penny merits a purchase of up to and possibly greater than one hundred dollars

With just a short and manageable 42 weeks and 2 days left on The Project (hey, it’s all the way you look at it, folks), I’m spending the week sifting through my Lizanomics rules to see what can stay and what must go.

So far I’ve sorted out:

  • DUMP: Subscribe to every possible retail email, membership program and newsletter to stay abreast of sales, promotions and new merchandise notifications. This shit is dangerous.
  • DUMP: Buy an item because it’s on sale. “I’ve never owned orange pants before and it’s already 70% off!” and “I’m buying these baby clothes because I might get knocked up again!” are never good reasons. Put that shit back.
  • DUMP: Buy an item “just in case.” You don’t need that back-up ball gown unless you’re a fairy princess and your main mode of transportation is a unicorn. 
  • KEEP: There is nothing in this pile so far. I am shocked.
  • KEEP: I take that back. I make special exceptions for Tim Holtz products. Because I love him.

Dare I ask…do you have your own rules for spending and “saving.” Do share!
photo via

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    Noa-nomics=Fuck you, I need that.

  • Prima Mama

    Saving money at the store is right up my alley. I am the supermarket queen, known for getting $150 worth of groceries for $30. It’s too much for a comment, but the gist is watch your store’s sales ad – everything goes on sale in a pattern. Clip coupons every week. Sign up for the savings club card. Don’t be brand loyal (except to mayo. Helmann’s is the best). Those four things will save you a ton of money.

    I refuse to pay the mark-up that grocery stores use to make profit, and while it sounds like a lot, I scan the ads and clip coupons while having coffee on Sunday morning, and it takes a little over 15 minutes to save $70-$100 at a time. Worth it. Wish my job paid me that much.

  • dsilkotch

    I’m doing the homestead thing, or trying to. It’s a slow process, but every year I get a little closer to self-sufficiency. My goal isn’t to make more money, but to need less.

    When I decided to get serious about it (right after my marriage ended), the first things to go were DirecTV and the magazine subscriptions. Don’t miss them at all.

  • Elizabeth – Flourish in Progress

    noa- i like your style.

    prima- say what? that’s awesome. do you find that most of your savings come from food or non-perishables like soap, shampoo, etc.? I’ve used coupons to buy food before but we are such slow eaters that a lot of it expires. trying to work that out.

    dsilkotch- you saw that i forgave you for the whole “fraught” thing, right? =)
    what did you find that you liked after you gave up the tube and the rags? magazines have been hard for me. i’m still loitering at the market reading my weekly gossip because I can’t buy the magazine.

  • Keri S.

    Your blog is motivating and hilarious. I will keep following!

  • areyoukiddingme

    We live like we’re poor around my house…it’s very weird. But we’re all not very material people in practice (in theory, I am extremely interested in material possessions. I just can’t bring myself to part with the cash for things.). I am an impulsive shopper, but I am also very busy gauging my net worth/debt ratio constantly. If it looks like my husband’s contract job might end, I find I don’t need to buy anything. When he’s overseas making premium money, I want to shop all the time.

    We don’t subscribe to cable, magazines, newspapers, phone service. However, here’s a magazine tip, as long as your not particular. There’s a site called e-rewards which will pay you for taking online surveys, and one of their offers is magazine subscriptions. All the other rewards are not really worth much ($25 off at How’s that going to help?), so it’s easy to stick to magazines.

    But really, I have an internal sensor about most things that bleeps “Too expensive” at retail and most sale prices. I don’t feel things are worth what they’re marked, so I don’t buy them.

  • areyoukiddingme

    Sorry, that should be you’re in the second paragraph…

  • Julie

    Oooh, I have one for the DUMP list: If my husband gets to spend $X on useless fun stuff then so do I! Drain the account and fill the house with junk twice as fast! Wheee!!!

  • Amanda

    My husband and I were also in a contest to see who could spend more money than the other. Now we have 3 checking accts: our main one, and one each that has our monthly allowance. It helps me not get pissed at his for spending so much money.

  • Jennifer Clark

    I’m really, really attempting to stop the mindless consumerism. I’m not much of a shopper, except in specific departments. Bed and Bath gets me every time. Housewares is another danger zone.

    Sounds like what you like to do is “spave”. “Spave” verb meaning spending money to save money. Example: my neighbor knocks on my door. She is holding a massive watermelon. “Want a watermelon?” she asked. “My husband spaved. Buy one, get one free.”

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    keri- welcome! glad to have you.

    areyoukiddingme- ha!
    what are your impulse weaknesses? i wish i had that internal bleeper. the only bleeps i hear are “bleeep, I can’t believe I didn’t buy that bleepin thing.”

    julie- this is a fantastic idea. i will consult my husband. i LOVE useless stuff.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    amanda- it’s a must to have a private allowance. do i really my husband to know i spent 50 dollar on bookmarks? i think not.

    jennifer- this is GENIUS. forget lizanomics. i’m all about spaving. p.s. you have neighbors who give you stuff. damn, let me come to mayberry

  • dsilkotch

    The one “unnecessary” expense I’d have a hard time letting go of would be Netflix. I’m introducing my kids to all my old favorite tv shows and classic movies, and Netflix makes it easy and cheap. The family bonding time is priceless.

    Okay, another unnecessary expense is our two horses, but it would be really hard to let go of them, even if I could find a buyer in this economy.

    I’d also have a hard time living without internet access, but in this day and age that’s practically a necessity, right?

    I love gardening, growing my own food. I love eating my own homegrown food. I’m not a big fan of cooking, so we eat a lot of it raw, but I hear it’s healthier that way anyway.

    We like to read, and we all check out a lot of books from the library (bonus: free!)

    My son’s a talker, so a surprisingly large amount of our time is spent in conversation. And I’m amazed at how much I love that. :^)

  • TheBabyMammaChronicles

    See, I know I’m a sucker and magazine addict so I really should subscribe to more magazines because I end up spending 3x’s as much buying them off the shelf. But impulse buying is what I have to watch out for in all forms. And these days Im a HUGE sucker for anything for the baby. But I really want to buy a house eventually so I’m trying to always keep that big goal in mind.

  • TheBabyMammaChronicles

    And you’ve got my vote by the way! Well deserved too!

  • Megan Yowell

    I helped you out and voted! By the way, my good friend Lindsay…your bolg make over-er suggested we all check out your blog! I’ve been HOOKED ever since :) You make me literally “laugh out loud” with your writing style, antics, and realness. I look forward to reading it so much I check it daily!

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    dsilkotch-teach me how to grow my food! actually, what i meant to say is, please just teach me how not to kill every living green thing that enters my home. *hand to hear* about the conversations….i hope it stays that way forever and ever

    babymamma- hey friend! thanks for the vote. omg, i am THAT person that just buys all the magazines at the store and spend 5x the amount of a subscription.

    megan- thanks for your support and bringing me one bump closer the The Most Important Thing in My Life. Oh, my family? What family?=) and welcome! p.s. Lindsay is the BEST.

  • RollerScrapper

    My biggest money saver is to take a photo of the thing…I first tried that at a swap meet where I collected pictures instead of stuff. so now if I’m in target and enamored of a bunch of piggy banks, I can curb the urge to buy by snapping a pic. I am going to emulate you for 30 days because I’m about to move, so I’m excited to see if I can curb the amount of stuff I will have to move…thanks for the inspiration!

  • Megan Yowell

    You are welcome LOL! Yes she is :)

  • Elly Lou

    Spaving?!? Brilliant! Imma two for one my fool head off!

  • Dsilkotch

    Elizabeth, if you have a yard the easiest way to grow some of your own food is to to plant edible perennials: a pomegranate tree, a grapevine along the fence, an asparagus patch in a sunny corner. The nice thing about perennials is that you only have to plant them once, and they’ll produce for decades with minimal care.

    If you live in an apartment it’s trickier, but some people do well with container gardening on the patio or balcony. That’s more work and maintenance, though.

  • The Empty Envelope

    I gave up magazines a few years ago and if I *really* get the urge, my library has them all! I can sit and read them there if I want. You can take out the non current issues as well.

    I used to coupon more, but got tired of running around buying the papers, trying to work the deals (one place *always* screws up), then finding out that hey, my kids won’t eat a, b and c or they are allergic to the things that there are good deals on.

    Menu planning, watching the ads for meat sales, shopping at the farmers markets and using stores like Trader Joe’s and Aldi that always have good prices help a lot.

    I try to stay out of craft stores, thrift stores or Target unless I need something and if I see something on clearance, I make myself think about it for awhile. This works for me, but I hear the more time you spend in a store, the more money you spend. I put things back the longer I’m in a store. Drives dh crazy.

    The best thing for my budget this past week has been being so busy I can’t think straight. I will confess to going through the Caribou drive through a few days a week for a mango tea, but it’s still cheaper than my diet Coke habit that I just gave up.

    And I’m a sucker if my kids ask for books.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    roller- i can always count on your for a chuckle…well, a chuckle and then an “a ha” because you give me some wise words, lady!

    elly lou- you and me both. that’s, like, the best excuse ever to buy more. oh, i’m just spaving….

    dsilkotch- ok, i’ll git me one of them low maintenance plants. I once killed a cactus, tho, so don’t hold your breath.

    a. i need an aldi over here. i used to see it on jon and kate and i really wanted to check one out. i miss that whole drive through for coffee or tea experience on my project. not quite the same when you tear a tea bag out of the paper wrapper at home and dunk it in some hot water.

  • Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress

    b. that is good advice….spend less time in stores. sometimes i take a sandwich to a craft store and make a day out of it….just kidding….kind of

  • Staci

    I’m super cheapo! I just bought two 50 oz. bottles of detergent and a 4 pk or Izze fruit drink for $3.00! I LUV coupons. I bought a Crop in Style for more than 50% off. I rarely buy groceries that aren’t on sale and then I use a coupon on top of that. MY DS gets so embarrassed when I do my “I- saved- $ happy- dance.”

  • bschooled

    Consider it clicked.

    If you don’t win, I’m going to sculpt you an award myself.

    The way I stop myself from spending is by transferring my addictive personality onto other things. First it was blogging, now it’s writing. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it will be “Watching General Hospital”.

  • SteffanyF

    Hahaha, ohmygod, backup ballgown unicorn riding?? I want that the be my LIFE.
    Basically I’m a poor grad student so I never buy anything. Ok, that’s a lie, I just don’t buy AS MUCH as I used to. I think what really helped to curb my spending was being more concerned about where my clothes came from. I always ask myself how I would use something and if I really need it. Sometimes I just walk away and if I’m still thinking about it days later I will go back for it. Mostly I online shop, though, so when I want to stop spending money I just don’t go to all my favorite websites.

  • Elizabeth – Flourish in Progress

    Staci- Where?! I buy the Sunday paper sometimes…but that coupon clipping business is a honed skilled.

    bschooled- um, so, if i win, could i get that sculpted award anyway?

    steffany- hola! i already ride a unicorn everyday in a ball gown…trust me, it gets old. i’ll let you borrow Sylvester (my unicorn) if you want. just be sure to polish his horn thing.

  • Staci

    I paid $3.00 at CVS. I used my register points coupon. I didn’t even know that they took regular coupons until some time ago.
    I save big at Pathmark grocery store too. I usually go to 2 grocery stores. My local Pathmark is good but the fruit is always less expensive (and better variety and price) at my local Associated.

  • Elizabeth – Flourish in Progress

    Staci- i don’t have two out of three stores you mentioned. but, i know it’s not about the stores, it’s about the discipline and having a keen eye. ok! you’ve inspired me today. i can do this!