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Couponing to the Top of Mt. Everest

Mt. EverestI just finished reading an article in Forbes Magazine that talks about the 14 things all successful people have in common and one “thing” really stood out: Successful people are more excited about the journey than they are the payout. Wanna know if you’re going to be successful at couponing? Guage your level of excitement.

When asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, George Mallorey replied, “Because it’s there.” Not, “Becaiuse I want to be first,” or “Because I want to be the fastest.” He simply wanted to push himself outside his own comfort zone and see what he could accomplish.

George Mallory died during his third attempt at the summit and no one knows if he actually reached the top or not. But the point is, he kept trying. He learned from his mistakes and kept moving forward.

Now, couponing is nowhere near as dangerous as climbing Mt. Everest. Let’s face it – the worst thing that can happen to you physically is maybe a paper cut or you could nip your thumb with your scissors.

But ask any successful couponer what motivates them to keep clipping, sorting, filing and dumpster diving week after week after week and they’ll all say the same thing: Becuase it’s there.

To outsiders, couponing looks like a huge waste of time. There were probably thousands of people who thought George Mallory was wasting his time, too. So what? You’re gonna climb a mountain. When you get to the top you’re just gonna have to climb back down. Why waste the time?

They say similar things about couponing: So what? You’re gonna spend all that time clipping and filing those tiny pieces of paper, digging through ads and sifting through dumpsters, and for what? So you can save a couple of bucks at the grocery store? Why waste the time?

Because it’s there.

Almost every couponer starts out just trying to “save a couple of bucks at the grocery store” and if that’s your only motivation you’ll probably eventually give up. Like any new endeavor, there’s a learning curve. It takes a lot of time and you’re going to make mistakes. The first time you take your coupons to the grocery store you may only save $5, which makes it very easy to say, “Well, this certainly isn’t worth my time and energy. I give up.”

Mallory already knew he wasn’ the first, nor was he the fastest (assuming he made it to the top.) But he kept trying anyway. Successful people aren’t motivated by the idea of being better than someone else. They’re motivated by the idea of beating their own personal records.

Couponers often start out being motivated by the unrealistic idea that they can instantly save 85 percent on groceries, but let’s face it, you’re really only going to save about 5 bucks your first time out and $5 isn’t a very big motivating factor so it’s easy to give up. It’s like telling yourself you’re going to lose 20 pounds in time for that cruise next month. When you only lose 2 pounds the first week you’re just going to give up.

People who successfully lose weight do so because they want to look better and feel better about themselves without any other outside motivation. People who successfully make it to the top of Mt. Everest do so because they want to see just how far they can push themselves. There really is no other reason to make the trek – someone else has already been there first.

So, if you’re just starting out on your couponing journey, take a look at your motivation. If your only motivation is to see if you can save $50 a week then that’s probably all you’ll ever save. And you’ll probably give up before you reach that goal because it takes too much time and effort.

Successful couponers, those couponers who walk out of the store with a cart full of free groceries, don’t just happen over night. In the beginning they only saved 5 bucks. In the beginning they made huge mistakes – they let a moneymaker expire, or they miscalculated their total or they missed a sales event.

But successful couponers aren’t motivated by the dollar signs at the end of check-out. They’re motivated by the journey itself. They want to see just how far they can push their own personal envelope and they always want more.

So pick those scissors back up and start clipping. So what if you only saved $5 this week after hours of clipping and sorting? It’s 5 bucks better than your personal best and it will get easier, I promise. Frame that five-dollar bill and consider it your own personal Mt. Everest. Enjoy the challenge, enjoy the thrill of each small victory. Enjoy the journey and soon you’ll be standing at the top of your own moutnain – with a cart full of free groceries!

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