7 Ways to Get the Best Deals on Groupon
I can't resist a good deal, and I hate paying full price for anything, so whether I'm buying clothes, planning a trip, or looking for a place to eat, I'm searching for coupon codes and two-for-one specials.
For the past few years, Groupon has become my favorite go-to site for deals and discounts. From restaurant vouchers to small electronic items, I've definitely gotten my money's worth. Yet, while Groupon is an excellent place for saving money, not every item on the site is a good buy.
If you haven't discovered the savings potential of Groupon, I urge you to sign up today and start taking advantage of the deals. But before you make your first purchase, here are a few tricks to make sure you get the most out of Groupon.
See also: Best Daily Deal Sites for Big Savings
1. Compare Prices
Browse the different categories on Groupon, and you'll find the Groupon price for an item and the regular price, which is provided for comparison purposes. The Groupon price will always be cheaper, giving the impression that everything on the site is a deal — but this isn't necessarily always the case.
Different merchants can sign up with Groupon to sell their products or services through the site, and while some do offer lower prices, others raise or inflate their prices to trick shoppers into thinking they're getting a good deal. With a little comparison shopping, you might find the exact item at a local retailer or another online site for less.
About a year ago I saw a watch on Groupon with a price of $100 and a regular retail price of $175. But after some research I found the same exact watch at Macy's and Dillard's for $95. The point: be a savvy consumer and don't assume everything on Groupon is a best buy.
2. Shop Groupon Through a Cash Back Site
If your credit card (or favorite cash back site) partners with Groupon, you can earn more by purchasing your Groupon through the site, according to Jon Lal, founder and CEO of BeFrugal.com.
"All you have to do is click through a cash back shopping website first," he says. "Visit your favorite site, check their cash back rate (BeFrugal currently offers 6% cash back on Groupon purchases), and click to activate the cash back. It will then redirect you to Groupon's website to make your purchase."
I did this a few months ago when reserving a hotel room. Since Discover offered 5% cash back on Groupon purchases, I booked the hotel by accessing Groupon through Discover Deals and got $40 cash back.
3. Read the Fine Print
It's important to read the fine print with any online purchase so you don't have any surprises. Taylor Gordon, a personal finance writer at Trendy Cheapo, recommends paying close attention to the fine print when buying in the "Things to Do" and "Getaway" categories.
"Those deals often include special requirements, expiration dates, and other limitations, and activity locations may not accept your voucher on high traffic days like holidays," she says. "Plan ahead and read each detail to ensure you understand the ins and outs of the deal."
From personal experience, I've noticed that many hotels on Groupon require 48 or 72-hour notice in order to cancel a room reservation without penalty. This is different from non-Groupon hotel reservations, which allow cancellations up to 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. on the day of arrival. Also, the prices for vacation getaways are based on two travelers, which means you'll pay more if traveling alone. And if you're buying a restaurant Groupon, there might be a limited selection as some restaurants have a special Groupon menu for customers with vouchers.
4. Refer Your Friends
If you're having fun saving with Groupon, spread the joy. Refer your friends and get $10 in Groupon Bucks for every person who signs up and spends at least $10 in the first 72 hours. The more friends you refer, the more money you can earn and use toward any Groupon purchase.
5. Download the Groupon App
Download the Groupon app to your smartphone or tablet and start saving no matter your location. If you're looking for a place to sleep, eat, or play, just open your Groupon app on your mobile device, and based on your GPS location, Groupon will find nearby savings and deals.
6. Sell Unused Vouchers
Some people see an amazing Groupon deal, make an impulse purchase, and later regret the buy. I can't say it hasn't happened to me before. Rather than let your money go to waste, however, give the Groupon to a friend or sell your vouchers through websites like CoupFlip or CoupRecoup, which are sort of like Craigslist for coupons where visitors can buy and resell their deals.
7. Sign Up for Groupon Alerts
There's an option to receive Groupon alerts via e-mail. I encourage this because the site often sends deals of the day and newly listed deals, giving you a head start before a merchant sells out. Additionally, from time to time they will send coupon vouchers to users, gaining you an extra discount.
Do you know any other tricks on how to get the most out of Groupon? Let me know in the comments below.
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