Well, actually its a couple of brags on myself. This week, I paid off two of my medical bills and freeing up $125 from my paycheck to go towards saving and debt reduction. Can I get a "woot woot?" Tonight, I went to the grocery. Before my penny pinching summer began, it was not unheard of for me to spend $200+ at the grocery. That $200 was a huge hit to my bank account, leaving little money for all the other necessities (and sometimes frivolous purchases) I bought. Well, times have changed and I'm fully embracing the penny pinching lifestyle. Tonight, I had to embark on a marathon shopping spree. You know the kind--when your kitchen has nothing but butter, Ritz crackers and spaghetti noodles. Spending over $200 was no longer an option for me. So I planned. I planned my meals for the week (menu to be posted asap) and made my grocery list. I clipped coupons and figured out which were going to expire soonest and what items I was really going to need in the near future (because whats the point of buying ketchup for 50¢ less when you have two economy size bottles at home?). When making out my list, I now write "coupons" by the item that I'm buying that has a corresponding coupon. Too many times, I would have the coupon clipped and with me, and somewhere in the chaos that is grocery shopping and paying (especially at Wal-Mart), I would forget that I even had it. Then the coupon would expire. Stupid, I know. I arrived at the grocery, list in hand and I shopped. In my reckless spending days, I only bought name-brand food. I guess I thought that the off-brand would taste horrible and wasn't worth the savings. Ridiulous. I still believe that some items are worth the splurge and taste different. But whats the point of paying $3 more for a can of spaghetti sauce that tastes exactly the same as the store brand? So, cart overflowing with off-brand items and coupons in hand, I made my way to the check-out. Before going in, I gave myself a $150 budget. My total tonight, if you take away a $14 sundress I purchased for myself for tomorrow's church service, was $152. Yayyyyy! Don't worry, I'm patting myself on the back for you. I realize that some of you serious grocery shoppers out there are probably balking at a $166 grocery bill. But for two weeks worth of food for Marty and I and a completely stocked baby food cabinet and wipes, Maybe I can slowly whittle off $10 here and $20 there to get my total lower, but for someone that was used to spending $180-$230 at the grocery, I'm pretty dang proud.