personal finance

The Best Way to Groupon

groupon-earnings

I originally wanted to call this post, Groupon: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, but I realize that title would be a bit unfair.  Groupon is a great website to get awesome deals and discounts.  

To be honest, Groupon is just one example of a discount website.  I’m talking about Living Social, Rue La La, The Clymb, etc.  There are so many amazing discount websites to score deals on.

And you know I’m all about deals…

Here are my Top 5 ways to score the best deals on Groupon.

1. Ask yourself, am I actually going to use it?

2. Always search for coupon codes before buying.

3. Share, share, share with your friends ($10 referral codes)

4. Double check the fine print.

5. Check travel deals if your dates are flexible.

1. Ask yourself, am I actually going to use it?

Before you buy a Groupon, make sure you know you’ll use.  When I moved to California I bought two Groupons almost immediately. The first one was for a haircut and shampoo, and the second one was for a juice cleanse.  I didn’t wind up redeeming either.  Luckily Groupon sometimes will allow you to either extend you redemption period or take a discounted Groupon.  After allowing the extension to expire as well I decided to take the discounted Groupon.  I had paid $25 for the haircut and had a 24 hour period to redeem a $20 Groupon voucher. (I do not know if Groupon always allows that, so don’t rely on it).  I decide to redeem it for a date night and set a specific date.  That way I knew it would actually be used.

My rule of thumb now is to only buy Groupons that I’ll redeem that day or make the reservation that day.  This way you don’t wind up losing money on expired Groupons.

2. Always search for coupon codes before buying.

If you get Groupon emails, they’ll frequently have 20% off codes.  Always check them before you buy. I also recommend going on Google and searching “Groupon coupons”.  There are numerous websites that have great discounts.

Finally, before I buy anything I go through Ebates or Swagbucks (depending which has the better cash back.)  I can normally get between 7-13% back through Ebates.  That covers the tax and then some.    I’ll do a more thorough review of Ebates and Swagbucks later, but if you’d like to get a free Swagbucks or a $10 giftcard from Ebates use these referral links. (Ebates.com and Swagbucks.com)

3. Share, share, share with your friends ($10 referral codes)

If you love Groupon and you think your friends would to, tell them about it.  Once you’ve signed up you can earn a $10 referral code.  That means free Groupon cash for you! Free Groupon cash allows you to try new activities that maybe you would never have thought to try.  Just make sure that you’ll actually use it!  If you don’t have a friend using Groupon and want to sign up through me here is the link.  (Don’t forget to tell your friends about Ebates and Swagbucks too)

I know some people feel strange about asking your friends to go through referral links, but it’s a great way for you both to save money.  It’s part of the reason I was able to get my Cricket Wireless phone so inexpensively.  You can find about more about that here.

4. Double check the fine print.

This applies with rule #1, am I going to use it?  Read the fine print to find out when it expires and what’s included.  A lot of beverage shipments don’t include shipping. You may thinking getting 12 bottles of wine for $75 is a great deal, but add $29 for shipping and it’s a totally different ball game.  You can still get the deal if you want it, just be cautious when it comes to the fine print.  When in doubt, call or email the seller before purchase. 

5. Check travel deals if your dates are flexible.

I have not been able to use this service yet because my travel dates never are flexible.  That being said, there are tons of wonderful trips at major discounts.  If you live by a large airport then you should consider looking into it.  

This was specified towards Groupon because it’s largely popular and the discount site I use the most, but it can be applied to numerous websites.  Moral of the story, be smart about your online purchases, and make sure they fit your budget.  

If you follow these 5 guidelines Groupon can be a great way to save money, try new things, and have a great time!

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