Ask the Readers: Do You Buy Vouchers?

By Ashley Jacobs on 13 August 2013 (Updated 20 August 2013) 78 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to MG, Monica, and Chintan for winning this week's contest!

Buying vouchers from sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Restaurant.com can be a great way to save on new experiences, from dining to vacations to auto services. Then again, the lure of a deal can also get people to spend more than they can afford.

Do you buy vouchers? What types of experiences or services do you usually look for, and what sites do you use to find them? How do you decide if a voucher is worth buying?

Tell us whether you buy vouchers and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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    • Contest ends Monday, August 19th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after August 19th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
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Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Guest

My favorite radio station sells vouchers at 30-60% off; they expire in 90 days. I like to buy them for restaurant meals, for the thrift store, admissions to upcoming events we want to attend,etc. I see them as a savings tool with an occasional splurge.

Guest's picture
Mary Happymommy

I don't buy vouchers. I haven't really looked into it.

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Kay

No, I have not yet bought a voucher.

Guest's picture
Tyler

Do you buy vouchers? Yes!

What types of experiences or services do you usually look for, and what sites do you use to find them?
I usually buy vouchers for entertainment on Groupon and Living Social. Also, I buy vouchers on restaurant.com.

How do you decide if a voucher is worth buying?
If I know that I will use the voucher and it brings a significant discount.

Guest's picture
Lani C

No, I used to look for them but I found that they were either too hard to use.

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lostannfound

I bought two vouchers from Groupon this summer good for two tickets each to a wine tasting from local wineries. Though the price was great (half price of regular tickets), they certainly oversold and we were not even able to get through 1/4 of the tastings (wine & local foods) that were offered.

Guest's picture
Elena

I don't buy vouchers

Guest's picture
Chuck

I review the offers but only purchase deals at places that I already patronize. I use them to get great discounts at restaurants where I usually eat. I am strong enough to turn down a good "deal" at a place I may not go to.

Guest's picture
Matt

Yes, I (still) use vouchers, but I have learned to a) read the fine print and b) really only order those I know I will use.

Too often, I have been burned by limitations or exclusions (the service/product is only valid if you buy another service/product, valid on Wednesday from 1:23 - 1:28 PM ET only, etc). And at least twice I have found expired vouchers crammed in the drawer of my front hallway table for restaurants or items I thought, "Hey, that would be neat to try." Nope.

Vouchers are great, but only if you're certain you will use them and read the fine print!

Guest's picture
Peg Mooers

All the time. Great savings thru groupon!

Guest's picture

Yes! I buy use both Groupon and LivingSocial for deals at restaurants, spas, and gyms that use anyway. It's been a huge savings for me and I typically get a massage for $40 or so. I usually only buy a voucher for a company and I know and like so that I'm not dissapointed

Guest's picture
Nancy

I tried vouchers a couple of times but haven't repeated the experience. The only one that was truly successful was a groupon voucher for golf lessons at a nearby 9-hole golf course. My daughter and I took lessons together and had a great time. Most of the time the businesses and restaurants I would like to patronize do not offer vouchers. And I'm ashamed to say that I bought a voucher from Restaurant.com over a year ago and I still haven't gotten around to using them. So I think vouchers are not for me.

Guest's picture
KF

I used to buy them all the time, but now the deals are really bad. Seems like they've all started focusing on selling cheap crap no one wants! Oh well, the trend must be over.

Guest's picture
Christie

When you live in a small town, the voucher system has very, very few opportunities. So, nope, it's not for me!

Guest's picture
Ravzie

Yes, I get massages and stuff like that!!!

Guest's picture
Rowena

I definitely do buy vouchers. They're a great way to try new restaurants or experiences in my city with a cost savings to boot. I think it's important to research whether it's really a good deal or not though.

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Nancy B from Many LA

I will buy vouchers if it's something I can use. I do buy the Restaurant.com for my son and daughter-in-law, but only if it's cheap!

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Susan D.

I buy vouchers occasionally, but only for goods and services that I'd use anyway without the discount--books, concert tickets, a local bakery--that sort of thing.

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sherry butcher

I have used a voucher but when I went to us it I had to buy another $7.50 to use the $10.00 voucher. NO more vouchers for me.

Guest's picture
Becky

I like buying vouchers for things we were planning to buy anyway. However, I will also consider buying something unplanned if it's a great deal and would turn into something we would have planned for. :) You do have to be careful to read the terms. Some things may have extra costs in the fine print.
Last year we bought a great Christmas gift for my son on Shutterfly through Groupon.
It was a set package and if you wanted more pages, you had to purchase those. So, our 15.00 gift ended up being 48.00 Still a great deal and my son LOVED it, but you do need to be aware of those things.

Guest's picture
Monica

I buy groupons, I have tried Living social deals from amazon but I haven't had much luck with them. My family knows that around christmas I will buy some of them a groupon to go out and do something rather than to collect more junk.

Guest's picture
NYCMartini

I do buy vouchers from Groupon mainly for restaurants. I like the ability to try new restaurants w/o paying a fortune if the food isn't good.

Guest's picture
Maria S

No, I don't buy vouchers! With 2 young kids I sometimes am not able to make time to use them before they expire!

Guest's picture
Evelyn

Yes...I like buying vouchers. I mainly use it for things I know we will use like entrance to the zoo, bounce houses, things that the kids will like, etc. Sometimes, when we're going on a vacation at a certain location, I will actually search for vouchers to our destination to see if I can get deals on attractions and/or restaurants. We buy all kinds of restaurant vouchers in our area too. And for the vouchers we used, if we like it, we buy it if it's offered again. We also enjoy buying it for new restaurants and places we haven't been too. I do have to make sure we use it before it expires because it's only a great deal if you use it.

Guest's picture
Liz

Yes ! They are a great way to have fun and save money!! The food coupond and getaways are the best!

Guest's picture
Sarah

I do buy vouchers from time to time. I often buy vouchers for things I've been putting off doing anyway (checking out a new restaurant, making a photo book, whatever) because the expiration date on the voucher gives me a timeline!

Guest's picture
monique

I used to buy vouchers for restaurants that I already knew I liked, and also for restaurants that I had wanted to try. I would consider the deal worth the trouble if it was 40% off or more. About a year ago, I stopped buying vouchers because I didn't feel I was receiving very good service when I used them. Also, it became a hassle to keep track of the various vouchers and expiration dates.

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Amanda H

I do; i've bought them for restaurants and for spa services. The spa ones always seem to have extra qualifications and aren't as good a deal, but the ones for local restaurants are always a great deal.

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Betty D.

I don't buy vouchers. Some are very tempting, but I have to tell myself I don't really need what ever they're selling. Money stays in my pocket!

Guest's picture
Guest

I've bought several vouchers from various companies. For the most part, they are a good deal on events or restaurants that I want to try. Due to a few negative experiences and a couple of expired vouchers, I also read the fine print very closely and make sure I can redeem the vouchers within the allotted time. I agree that it seems that the quality of some deals (and merchandise) has gone down. I generally stick to companies like Groupon and Living Social who have good reputations.

Guest's picture
Guest

I buy vouchers for beauty services and fitness classes. I like to try new places and I'm always looking for a deal. I might buy restaurant deals from time to time, but only if I know they are cheaper than what I would have paid for a meal. For example, a $30 voucher for a 3-course meal isn't worth it when I'd normally only eat one course for $15.

Guest's picture
Shannon

Very rarely. It is it something I really wanted to try out anyways but generally I avoid them as unnessary impulse purchases

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Guest

My wife & I don't usually buy vouchers but we do use 'loyalty' programs to get certificates & discounts.

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Gina

I buy vouchers from Groupon, Restaurant.com, and Gilt. I usually buy restaurant or food vouchers. Most of them are a good deal especially for trying out new restaurants on the cheap.

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Jenna

Yes!

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Jessie C.

I do not buy vouches.

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lizzy

Yes. I use Groupon to buy things all the time!

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Sazzy

I love vouchers! I only eat or do activities in which I can use a voucher for. It is so much less expensive! My favorite sites are Living Social and Groupon.

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MELISSA HANSSON

Yes, I still buy vouchers through Groupon and other services. But I would say I purchase them about 75% less than I did a year or two ago.

Guest's picture
Guest

I use Groupon and 365deals for things I plan to do anyway. I also used them to try new fitness boot camps but ended up forfeiting the deal because I couldn't find time in my schedule.

Very important! -- Read the fine print for restrictions! Many of the special deals are for specific days or circumstances only. A local attraction sold many tickets on Living Social and people traveled to attend it only to find when they got their that their ticket was not valid for that day. They either had to pay full price or come back on the correct day. Lots of mad customers!

Guest's picture
Brandy

I just reciently discovered Groupon. I told myself I wouldn't buy into the "crap" but I've found some awesome deals. Unlike most, I'm not interested in spa deals and most of the resturants don't excite me. But their learning deals make me drool. Things I've wanted to learn for cheap, you bet! I wanted to take a TESOL class because I would like, at some point to travel and teach overseas. I was looking at the exact same course for the exact same program but the fees were way different. I paid $69 verses over $700. I call THAT a deal. Maybe I'll check out other deals as well.

Guest's picture
Dianne

I bought vouchers twice. Once was a gift I gave to my brother. He finally used it but he acted as if it were a burden instead of a pleasure even though it was to a place he frequented. The other voucher expired before I used it. I gave up on vouchers after that.

Guest's picture

I'm not a voucher buyer.

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Guest

I buy Groupons every now and then. I like to buy them though ebates to get the 3% rebate.

Guest's picture
Diane

I've bought vouchers for a few items and I'm sure I'll do so again when a deal appeals to me. I've purchase vouchers for xbox 360 Live for my sons, for massages, and for restaurants so far. I only buy a voucher if I'm certain it is something I will use soon and if it is a good discount.

Guest's picture
Trang

Yes, I have purchased Groupon, LivingSocial, and Restaurant.com vouchers, but I have cut down on these significantly within the past year.

Guest's picture

I've never bought a voucher, but I've thought about it. However, once I read through all the fine print {and there's quite a bit}, I realize it's not always such a great deal after all.

Guest's picture
DeeDee

Yes! I buy use both Groupon and LivingSocial. We bought a one night stay at a hotel for a great price and really enjoyed the discounted stay and it included a fifty dollar food credit, it was to celebrate my birthday. You do have to be mindful of the details listed.

Guest's picture
Mel

I don't buy them often anymore. Many were difficult to redeem, caused confusion at check out or I just forgot to use them.

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Shannon S.

I actually never use vouchers, I am afraid they will expire before I use them \!

Guest's picture

My wife recently bought a Groupon for half price for our son to go to a kids' gym for a week to break up multiple weeks of regular summer camp. He said he really enjoyed it. We sometimes purchase vouchers for restaurants that we like, but they are more and more going to coupon deals. I get quite a few coupon offers on Google Offers. I have read many horror stories from vendors who ran into costly trouble with Groupon or Living Social.

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MG

I buy vouchers for services and restaurants that I want to try or that I already use. The deals are great.

Guest's picture

I buy vouchers if it's for something I really like!

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Deena Thomas

I don't actually buy them .....I like looking and thinking what if, but then I also think they are acting desperate and wonder how long I have to use them before they go under........Also when reading fine print there are too many limitations on the card to make it viable for my uses.

Guest's picture
Michael

Hi Ashley.

I usually buy gift vouchers for my friends and family.
I think there is nothing better than gift vouchers - your friends can use them for whatever they need/want and you save yourself hassle of running around shops.
I usually buy Groupon vouchers and shopping center vouchers (some of them have their own).

Guest's picture
linnyvee

Yes. I buy vouchers for restaurants and spa/beauty deals.
I buy via groupon, living social, and gilt city.
Ideally I look for places that I am familiar with, but also look for places I have been wanting to try but the experience is out of my budget normally.

Guest's picture
KelR1

I have never bought a voucher. If I saw one for a store or restaurant I really like I might consider it.

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Christine P

I do if it is for a business I already know and like.

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Catherine

I don't usually buy vouchers.

Guest's picture
Guest

I used to buy a lot more, but now only for places I already go or have wanted to go. It's a good way to try out things like yoga studios before you commit to a place.

Guest's picture
Liisa

We buy a lot of vouchers! We started using them (from Groupon, Living Social, Restaurant.com) when we first started dating, and now after 5 years of being married it feels crazy to pay full price! With the vouchers, and being careful with what we order, we can go out to a nice dinner once a month or so for about $35. We also give them as gifts (I am subscribed in both our families' cities as well as our own) and use them when we travel.

We usually use them for thing we do or would like to do anyway, and it saves us a ton of money. I just have to be careful to only buy ones we will use, and not to buy too many at once! I keep a list in my coupon book so we keep track of the expiration dates and use them before they expire. We have had a few duds over the years, but overall they have saved us a ton of money and introduced us to some really great businesses! :)

Guest's picture

No, that's not something I know a whole lot about. But if they were a great deal, and something I would actually use? I'd give it a shot. :)

Guest's picture
Bethany

Sure do, if it will be something we would do anyway.

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Christina

I used to buy vouchers, but after a couple of bad experiences where I might as well have not had the voucher with the limitations or the extra not-explained fees sprung on after I had already eaten, followed by me letting a couple expire because I was annoyed by the whole voucher experience, I now only buy them very rarely. I've bought from groupon, living social, and amazon local, the buying process for all three is similar, but a pain to keep track if you have vouchers from multiple sites.

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J. Pario

No, I don't buy vouchers. I'm happy to see that others have had good luck with them, but I don't shop or eat out very much.

Guest's picture
Tabathia B

I buy if it has a long expiration date and for places like the Body Shop or local shops that offer great deals when combined with a voucher (that equals alot of savings). But I don't get them alot usually twice a year

Guest's picture
Alma

Yes I buy vouchers from Living Social and groupon.

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Happy Love

I've bought vouchers for restaurants, photo books, and house cleaning services. I prefer Restaurant.com since I can buy those vouchers when I want to use them and they don't expire for a long time.

Guest's picture
Roger

I will occasionally by vouchers from Groupon or Living Social but only for things I would by from those companies anyway, like restaurants we like. I did however get my wife a massage as a gift from Groupon once.

Guest's picture
Thrifty Writer

Yep. There was a time when I was on Groupon and Living Social's email lists, but after purchasing too many on impulse and not using them on time, I stopped and unsubscribed. Now I only look on the sites if I'm in need of a haircut. I look through the salon deals, cross-check them with Yelp, and buy. I'll also sometimes buy a voucher if theskint.com tips me off to a great deal, like $20 for $40 worth of groceries at my favorite (but pricey, and therefore occasional) healthy grocery store.

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Guest

Strangely enough, I just recently bought my first voucher. It was to obtain a discount at a restaurant. We were required to order $35 worth of food, and then got a $25 discount, so ended up with a $10 bill.

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Kristine R.

I actually do not buy vouchers - I always print them out and forget to use them.

Guest's picture
OFG

I buy children's products and gift cards from Groupon. I"m also a big fan of Yes to Carrots and other naturally based skin products.

Guest's picture
kristina

every now and then I do.....it's a great way to save money and an incentive to try a new restaurant....

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Carmen

We're in a rural area and most vouchers don't apply to us. I'm also too afraid of missing the deal once I've purchased them.

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GuKristyest

I use vouchers all the time. This is a nice way to try a nice dinner at half the cost. Recently, I bought one for a murder mystery dinner theatre. It was for 2. I split the voucher cost with a friend so we had entertainment and a meal for an inexpensive price.

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Abby B.

We buy mostly travel vouchers.

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Deb K

I've bought vouchers in the past, but I haven't for a while. Sometimes they have helped me save money, and sometimes they have expired before I remembered to use them. A few businesses even went out of business before I got to use the vouchers for the business, but I've been able to get my money back or transfer the voucher.