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What I’ve Learned from Hip2Save: 10 Life Lessons in 10 Years

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life lessons learned in 10 years – Collin sitting at her dining room table

When I started this Hip2Save journey TEN years ago, I never would have imagined where it would take me and where I would be today. It’s hard to put into words what this journey has done for me and what I’ve learned on this amazing ride — it truly has been life changing!

I know this site seems like it’s just about saving money on the surface, but really it’s about so much more than the coupons.

It’s the story of a girl who lacked confidence and was struggling to keep her personal life together while trying to cope with her own addiction. A girl who felt shameful and stupid, as if she had nothing to offer the world. A girl who was buried in debt and overwhelmed when the reality of her situation came to light.

… BUT, it’s also the story of thousands of individuals everywhere who found a passion for saving money and realized they were really good at it — so much so that it gave them the confidence to conquer other areas of their lives! It has truly been a profound and life-changing ride for me, and from what I’ve heard from so many Hip2Save readers over the years, you’ve found much more than just coupons too!

That being said, here are 10 things I’ve learned over the last 10 years at Hip2Save…

1. Let others help you and let go of the guilt.

Like most, I started off trying to do everything myself because that’s what we do, right? Well, it wasn’t long before I became completely overwhelmed with work and home and mothering responsibilities. So while I was still technically doing everything for the site, I wasn’t really doing anything well.

At that point, I started to ask for help. I remember back when I first hired someone to clean my house. While this was a task I knew I could do myself, and I have some control-freak tendencies, I just didn’t have the time to tackle the mess. I needed to learn to let go and accept I can’t do everything. And more importantly, I shouldn’t feel guilty about not being able to accomplish it all.

Then, I let my hubby go to the grocery store on his own, arming him with a shopping list. As a deal shopper, this posed it’s own complications… He would often come home with products that literally had peelie coupons attached to them — talk about frustrating! Then when he would take the kiddos out to fun places, I’d become infuriated after seeing how much he spent without checking for a discount offer first.

BUT here was my husband doing his best to help, and though things weren’t getting done how I would normally handle them, my checklist was getting completed. Over the years, I’ve grown to very much appreciate all he has done for our family. He’s truly the most amazing dad and such an incredible husband. He shows this in his actions every single day. ❤

With all that said, this doesn’t mean the guilt went away overnight. It took me a while to learn to trust these helpers in my life and appreciate their assistance rather than sweat the small stuff. I focused on the tasks that I was best at, and reminded myself that the rest would work itself out.


2. Embrace everyone’s differences.

Most people are not like you — and that can be a good thing! Whether it’s adapting to your spouse’s habits, managing various communication styles with co-workers, or just co-existing in a world full of individuals from all walks of life, we all have to learn to live together harmoniously. The differences are what makes life interesting and helps you grow as an individual yourself!

In the book I’m currently reading, It Takes One To Tango, the narrative helps you understand how you are the driver in how you choose to act in relationships. More importantly, you are the one responsible for the changes. Learning to embrace the differences is the key to success, in business, in relationships, and in life in general!


3. It’s not ALWAYS a bad idea to do business with family.

I work with my sister Bryn on a daily basis — she’s been by my side at Hip2Save almost from the beginning and I couldn’t be more thankful for her! Even though we’re sisters, we are different in so many ways, and oddly enough I think that’s why we work so well together.

While most people say you shouldn’t do business with your family, I believe it comes down to trust and support. The bond we have built over the years, through both the site and our personal lives, is one I deeply cherish, and I truly don’t feel like I would have made it this far if she wasn’t by my side.

And since I know she’ll be reading this, I want to leave a little note for her —

Bryn —  I can’t even begin to express how much you mean to me, and how much I appreciate all your help throughout the years – the past 36 years to be exact. From never-ending Monopoly games when we were kids to now running a business together, the unforgettable memories we have created bring a huge smile to my face. The times we laughed until we cried, and even those difficult times when we supported one another and got through it together. Thank you.

Your passion and dedication to Hip2Save means so much to me. I truly am so grateful to have someone like you to rely on. I couldn’t be more blessed to have such an amazing sister, co-worker, and best friend. You are my rock and I love you more than words could ever express 💗.

Everyone needs a Bryn in their life. 


4. Find your passion and work doesn’t feel like work.

Passion is key in everything we do in life, because when you’re passionate, you’re unstoppable. I get up most mornings excited to work and find myself giddy during the day since I truly love what I do. On top of that, I love that the Hip2Save community shares my same passion and I get all fuzzy inside when you guys are just as excited as I am!

Sure, there are some things that are a little less fun, like hours and hours of meetings about technical website stuff that I don’t really understand, or spending the weekend trying to figure out why something isn’t working correctly on the site — but my excitement for Hip2Save and all the great deals never waivers.

All that said, life is too short to not do what you love, so find your passion and make that your life’s work.

If you need a little inspiration, these are my favorite quotes about thriving with passion!

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

If you love your work, you’ll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you – like a fever.


5. Don’t take it personally.

When I first started Hip2Save, I would have regular crying episodes as I was so sensitive to the mean comments left online. People would write things that I think they’d never in a million years say in person because it’s easier to hide behind a computer screen. Over the years, I have grown a very thick skin, and learned to mostly ignore the nasty comments from trolls and those who don’t know me personally.

Trust me — it takes a lot of work to learn to stay positive and focus on the people who lift me up rather than bring me down. Since I’m a cheerleader by nature (even though I didn’t make the cheerleading squad in high school… I tried out, but apparently I’ve got no rhythm 😂), I’m always rooting on my team members with positive encouragement.

I’m happy to say that for the most part, I’m honestly no longer really bothered by the negative comments and emails. I think sometimes people’s comments reflect their frustration over their own lives and truly have nothing to do with me at all, so I just let it roll off my back and move on. But, it’s all the sweeter when I get kind comments and emails from readers . You guys make my day over and over again, and I’m so thankful and appreciative when you take the time to leave words of encouragement or share personal stories with me! Thank you.


6. Find balance in your life.

life lessons learned in 10 years – Collin and her kids playing

Finding balance is not easy for anyone, no matter what you’ve got going on in life. For me, it’s being a wife, a mom, a business owner, and just being me, since it’s just as important to check in with myself from time to time. My life can sometimes feel like an unbalanced washing machine that’s dancing all over the laundry room until it throws an error code and just gives up!

This is one of my biggest struggles, and I can’t say I’ve mastered it yet. But what I do know is that my precious kiddos are growing up so incredibly fast and I’m realizing how important it is to cherish all of the time I get to spend with them.

On top on that, I’m learning just how important it is to be truly present. And by present, I mean not half listening to them because I’m thinking about work, not checking my phone while they’re talking to me, not playing a board game with them while I’m typing on the computer… But instead really focusing on them and taking in all of these incredible memories we are making together as a family.

I think balance is about so much more then trying to juggle it all — it’s about focusing on the things that are most important in the moment that’s right in front of you and letting go of the rest.


7. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and you find unexpected strengths.

Collin

When I first started Hip2Save, I was a terrible writer — I mean look at this post from 2008 🤣. Seriously, I could not write well at all, but I was so excited to share the deals I was discovering that I pushed past it! I taught myself how to blog, how to write, how to deal with all the logistics that come with starting a website, and in turn, how to create a thriving business.

And none of that would have happened if I didn’t step outside my comfort zone and take risks. Whether they worked or not, I knew I’d be learning something from the experience and isn’t that what life’s about?! Trying, failing, succeeding, learning, and creating memories in the process.

Another hurdle was putting myself out there more, letting myself be more vulnerable, and finding comfort in my own skin. I’ve learned through the years that being raw, open, and honest is so important to me. If I can touch just one person by sharing my own personal struggles and weaknesses, then building up the courage to tell my story is well worth it.


8. Pay it forward whenever you can.

life lessons learned in 10 years – Collin's Hip2Help shirt

One of the great adventures and memories of the past 10 years was the Hip2Help Tour. In 2011, we took a 10-day journey through the south to help people who had suffered so much after devastating tornadoes tore through their towns (and in some cases destroyed everything the communities had). Hip2Save readers sprung into action and sent in thousands of dollars worth of products and local readers secured an amazing amount of donations too.

It was so humbling to see the generosity of readers, and it was an even more humbling experience to see the gratitude of those receiving the donations. It’s one of my most favorite Hip2Save memories.

Pay It Forward Couponing

While it’s obvious that couponing can save families from feeling financially stressed, it also affords couponers the ability to be more generous in ways they didn’t think possible.

There are so many ways that the Hip2Save community has paid it forward, whether it’s giving back at the holidays, helping other save by sharing your own money-saving knowledge, or simply paying it forward with simple acts of kindness. The generosity I’ve seen from readers over the years is so inspirational, and I especially love reading the comments where the Hip2Save community connects to help one another, even though most people are complete strangers!

Being a giver to is truly what life is about. ❤


9. Have confidence in your decisions and in yourself.

Confidence has been something I have honestly struggled with MY WHOLE LIFE. Gaining confidence is something I’m still working on, but boy have I come far. 

Being confident doesn’t mean that you think you’re hot stuff. It means that you’re comfortable in your skin, you LOVE the person you are, you know your worth, and you truly believe that you can do anything you set your mind to — and no one is going to change that. I make an effort to remind myself of this every single day and always choose to own who I am.

Self confidence is the most attractive quality a person can have.

How can anyone see how great you are if you can’t see it yourself?

When I started couponing and realized I was really good at it, that confidence spilled over into other areas of my life. I know that sounds so crazy, but it’s rewarding to find something you love, thrive at it, and then help others find their own passion and strengths within it as well!

No matter who you are, there are always opportunities for guilt to creep in to make you feel like you’re not enough or you’re not right. And this goes way beyond couponing — whether it’s your personal or professional life, finding the confidence in your decision making is life-changing. It’s helped me grow as both a businesswoman and a mother, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.


10. Don’t take it all so seriously and have some FUN!

It’s SO important to learn to laugh at yourself, be kind to yourself, and just own who you are! At the end of the day, we are all human — we make mistakes, make bad decisions, and may not always say the right thing. Everyone knows that life can hand you quite a few lemons, but it’s how we choose to squeeze those lemons and learn from them. We can laugh at awkward moments (trust me, I have lots of them 😂), learn from poor decisions, and love ourselves for being unique and unlike anyone else on this planet. Embrace YOU!

Smile big. Laugh often. Never take this life for granted.

I’m kind of a crazy girl sometimes, and while that’s great for making entertaining videos, I totally embarrass myself over and over again — and I just roll with it now. I’ve learned to laugh at myself when I say something wrong or overshare a bit, and I never would have discovered that if it weren’t for Ma. She understood how to squeeze those lemons and get the most of out them. She lived a beautiful life and I hope to follow in her footsteps.


So there you have it!

Of course, there are so many other life lessons I’ve learned on this journey, but these have had the biggest influences in my life. This has been one the most challenging, exciting, tiring, and totally fun rides I’ve taken.

And I can’t end this post without saying that we would NOT be here if it weren’t for the thriving Hip2Save community. I’m not sure if all you readers know just how much you mean to me and my team. It’s because of YOU that I’ve learned the value of generosity and kindness, and I can’t thank you enough. Through the ups and downs, this community has been there and I feel so grateful to wake up every day and share my passion with millions of you as my job!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for 10 fabulous years! Here’s to many more… 😄


Collin founded Hip2Save in 2008 and has over 10 years experience as a deals and lifestyle editor, strategist, and creative copywriter. She is debt-free and has been featured in Parents Magazine, Today.com and MSNBC. Connect with Collin on LinkedIn


Join The Discussion

Comments 191

  1. Patti Smith

    Collin, you are such a beautiful woman. Thank you for all you do to help us save money. Many more anniversaries to you and Hip2Save!

    • Maria

      Agreed! I started following in 2011 when I graduated college and had a less than zero bottom line. All I wanted to do was pay off the debt and save some money, but this site has become a surprisingly positive part of my daily life. Your amazing outlook and vibes make it seem fun to save and it became a game for me… I am now debt free and own a home, but still love saving money and sharing it with others. So grateful to you and your influence on my life!

  2. jamie Destefano

    This was such a beautiful reminder that we are not perfect , we do our best…and that IS good enough. I have to tell you I teared up a bit reading this. It hit home. You are an inspiration and have been since I started following you in 2008! Happy Anniversary!!!

  3. Janet

    Collin, I am so glad that you have found your “way” in life. You are a real sweetie and a true inspiration. It’s been a fun ten years. Hip2Save is THE BEST!

  4. Anne

    Collin, you are amazing! Loved hip2save from the beginning. You truly care about your followers, thank you for being awesome

  5. nancycrom

    What a wonderful post! One of my life lessons is to be grateful for what I do have, instead of feeling bad about what I don’t have. I am very grateful for your website that I’ve been following for many years. It’s helped me through being a stay at home mom on a tight budget, then a single mom on an even tighter budget! Thank you for all you do!

  6. jonnychiri

    I’m all for #8!

  7. pebipebi

    This article is truly an inspiration. You are an inspiration. I wish 10 years from now I could look back like this too. Thank you!

  8. Aunt Jenny

    Collin,
    Before Hip2Save: I would leave my purse in my car, thinking there is nothing in it anyway so if it gets stolen,oh well.
    After Hip2Save: My purse has coupons, gift cards and actual cash money now so it’s never out of my sight.

  9. HVMom

    Collin I’ve been with you since practically the start! You are the best, truly. I’ve learned so much and so have my sisters. We have parlayed that knowledge into being able to donate over a ton of food each year to our local St Vincent de Paul food pantry the past several years. We could not have done this without you. We are grateful. ~4 sisters in Oregon <3

  10. just me

    So Proud! Just Beautiful! You couldn’t have said it any better! I made both of my daughters read this! To be strong, fearless, and go for what you believe. I’ve been with your site for 6 years now and I believe everything happens for a reason. Your site saved me also! More than coupons and saving money…..At one of the most bleakest hours of my life when I was swimming in medical and not knowing how I would pay for day to day things your site gave me something to look forward to daily. From the crafts, recipes, frugal tips, it all gave me something to look forward to. Anyway, Thank You!!!

  11. kim palmer

    U THE BEST!

  12. Suszy P

    I just wanted to say how much i’ve learned from your blog and how much I’ve saved over the years from checking the Hip2Save website throughout the day- both in money and in tips that you and Lina and everyone one else has shared! I really love this site! I have gotten pulled away at times from checking due to other things going on in my life – family sicknesses, moving, family dying, basic life stuff happening. I can’t tell you, though, how comforting it is that I can come back here and know that this site has only gotten better. (And I was worried when you were partnering up with some other advertisers! Lol) I love the recipes – even when they were about diets I wasn’t planning on doing and now that you are into Keto and my husband and I are doing Keto – I am totally excited to go to hip2keto.com and find awesome tips there too!! So… what I am trying to say is … THANK YOU THANK YOU so much!! I appreciate you and Bryn, Lina, Amber, Cassandra, Holly and everyone else that works so hard to help us! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Amber (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You’re so welcome! We appreciate YOU too! 😉 Thanks for joining us here each day!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Aww, How sweet! You’re most welcome! SUPER happy you have enjoyed the site through years and are now enjoying Keto with us too! Yay!

  13. Lmb

    Thank You Collin for ten Great years!! You’re a true inspiration:)❤️

  14. Jennifer B

    Thank you for ALL that you do….and all that you share with us as your followers. You are such an inspiration and I have tremendous respect for what you have been able to work through, and how you used the painful “valley times” to grow stronger and find your new path. Your words of advice are wonderful!! Your videos are so entertaining and educational- FUN! 🙂 I am so thankful for you and all that you continue to do to help all of US save money!!! God Bless!!!!

  15. deir

    Thank you so much Collin for everything you do. Thanks to you and the Hip 2 Save team I have been able to save so much
    through the years and also help family. You are an inspiration God Bless you and your family !

  16. mayd2bz

    What an amazing testimonial! Couldn’t agree more of these! It’s really on point! Thank you, Collin for all the things you’ve done 🙂

  17. Melissa

    I’ve been with you since almost the very beginning. I’ve dropped a lot of the other coupon blogs and only follow a very few now, but you’re still on my list. You made the cut! I love your blog! Your deals are rock solid & so are you, Collin. Thanks for saving my family a ton of money over the last decade.

  18. Brian

    Add one more:

    #11 “I have an online family too, that checks in daily, and LOVES H2S.”

    I can’t say it enough – THANK YOU all!!

    • Liza (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      You’re SO welcome Brian! Thank you for checking in with us every day!

  19. Aimee E.

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!! Thanks for teaching me yrs ago. I thrived, grew, and now others have gained from my teachings as well…but only because of the breakdowns originally found here on your site. I always referred to right here!!! Thank you…and here’s to another however many years!!!!!

  20. Cindy

    ❤❤❤❤❤❤

  21. Renee

    ❤️❤️❤️

  22. tipaye

    Hey, Colin! I’ve been following you for a long time. This post really touched me…I love to see women succeed and YOU SURE HAVE! I love the life lessons you’ve shared and find your story beautiful. Just keep on growing…and being you…and you will continue to have a beautiful life! Thanks for everything! 🙂

  23. MaK88

    I wish I could see the grand total of all the money your efforts have saved me since I’ve known you. Multiply that by 1,000 and it’s still no where close to how grateful I am! <3

  24. Amymae1100

    Thank you for this. You are such an inspiring woman. Thank you for always trying to stay positive and passing that positivity on to your readers! Mostly thank you for sharing so much of yourself and being so vulnerable to a bunch of strangers to help others with their own struggles. <3

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You are SO very welcome! 😉 Thanks so much for your super sweet comment! It really means a lot!

  25. KarenJ

    Hello Collin, I have really enjoyed reading all of your posts regarding Hip2Save’s birthday. They are so uplifting just like this site is and ya’ll have really helped me be able to provide & do more for my family over the years. Cheers to you!

  26. Sav4vac

    Mrs Hip, I read all of the posts in the morning and night before I go to bed to get my deals of the day. With 3 kids a full time job and an amazing supportive husband that is so proud when I come home with such amazing savings and also stands waiting on shopping carts while I figure out my deal…. I don’t have anytime that I used to have with boxes of hours of coupon clipping.
    Not only are we able to do so many family experiences because of all of the money we save but I am able to have the time to coupon again because you and your team make it so easy!!!! I am addicted to Hip2Save and I cannot thank you enough for all of receipts I gleam at while walking out of the store!! I live by a great quote …. I would rather try something and fail then never try it at all and say what if…..
    I’m so happy you tried because you definitely succeeded!!!!!! Thank you for all you do!!

  27. Carina

    Loved number 7

  28. Jessica Guzman

    Love this it made me cry!! Thank You Collin and your team, your work and website has seriously puts so much joy into my life. It’s like when I open the browser and click on the Hip2Save Icon I know without a doubt there will be something positive on your website, either to save my family some extra money or add something fun to my life that makes me laugh or gives me inspiration to do a simple DYI. Words can not express how grateful I am, but I will try with a big Thank You!!!!

  29. Madonna

    When you said 10 years, I couldn’t believe it. Bc that means I’ve been following this site for over half of that. Your post took me down memory lane and the tough financial times I’ve had with my own family. This site truly brightened those times especially when I could afford something I normally couldn’t. Thankfully those hard times are past us and now I’m an occasional visitor of the site just looking for some great deals.
    Thank you this site…it helped more than you could ever know. ♡

  30. Heather Bradford

    Wow! Ten years! I remember when you switched to hip2save.com after we crashed the other site when you had all of those giveaways. (Am I remembering that correctly?) I had withdrawals waiting for your new site to get up and running! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    You have helped my family, extended family and co-workers save so much money for so long!

    A huge thank you to you and your whole crew from the bottom of my heart! <3

  31. Theresa

    I love saving money. I love shopping for groceries. I do not know how many years I’ve been checking Hip2Save for great deals. I do not know how much money I’ve saved because of Hip2Save. I do know that I love Hip2Save. You are the best, Collin. Thank you.

  32. Karine

    This is truly inspirational, thank you Collin!
    Congratulations to you and your whole team!!!

  33. Ellen

    Beautiful!!!! Thank you for being YOU! Loved the tribute to your sister, ma, and that early-day DIY “lemonade” post. Gotta know your roots lol.

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