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