What to do about Groupons

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Or any other group deal buying site.  I’ve found myself using Living Social more often than not, but regardless of where I’ve bought I’ve had some positive and negative experiences.

The Positive

One time I had a credit on my account for $10 for some reason unbeknownst to me.  I searched for the cheapest deals they had, and found one for an ice cream place we love.  $5 for $10 worth of sweets.  I got two of them.  $20 worth of ice cream for free.  Instant awesome family time.

I also got an oil change/tire rotation package.  It sounds pretty sweet, but we’ll have to see how it goes.  $33 for 3 oil changes, 2 tire rotations, and some other thing that I don’t even know what it is.

Also, I got to preorder some seats for when we went to Yo Gabba Gabba a few months ago.  I was so sure they were going to sell out.  Which leads me into the negative.

The Negative

When I ordered those tickets, I didn’t get to pick specifically where they were.  Just a general section.  They were great seats, but I found out the night of the show that they weren’t sold out.  And for $15 more (total) I could have ordered from the venue itself and picked where we sat.  Maybe gotten a bit more center.  It would have been worth the $15 to me.

Another time I ordered a photo package at a studio.  When I got there, I found out they regularly have better deals than the Groupon I bought.  It was marked 89% off on the site or something crazy like that, but I could have gotten 95% percent off by using the store’s regular sale.  So for things that are regularly “marked down,” it might be better to just go check it out yourself.

Another time I ordered a photo cards.  Or the opportunity to make some.  I got the software and decided it sucked.  So I resold my voucher for its full value.  After that, I wrote a whole post about how you can resell those vouchers.  It was info I was glad I had.

Oh, and recently Living Social got hacked.  So if you have an account, go change your password if you haven’t already.  I’m still kind of worried about what information may have been obtained.

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15 thoughts on “What to do about Groupons

  1. The Frugal Cottage

    From what I saw about the Living Social hacking (at least from the email they sent out) it was only their password database that was compromised. The email said they have a separate database for credit card info and that that one was fine and not touched.

  2. The Frugal Cottage

    Oh yeah, and I don’t know how popular yelp is in your area, but I almost always check out a place’s yelp reviews if I’m not familiar with them, before I buy one of those vouchers. I almost bought one a few weeks back for windshield replacement. It sounded like a fantastic deal. Then I read the yelp reviews of the place and the owner was involved in multiple lawsuits. Found a better place on yelp, and it ended up actually being like $100 LESS than it would have been even with the groupon for the sucky place. It helps that just about everything around here has yelp reviews, but I use it a lot to vet out some of these deals.

  3. Sheila Simmons

    As a business owner, I don’t like Groupon. It’s not great for the fitness business owner because they make you take your prices very low, then the take half and on top of that, most of the Groupon clients don’t stay. They run to get the next deal, they aren’t loyal. I don’t use them for my business.

    1. femmefrugality

      I have heard the same thing from so many business owners. I get very excited when I find one for a business that I’m already loyal to, but it hasn’t really inspired any new brand loyalty on my part.

  4. Meredith

    I am so big on these deal sites, but you are wise to point out some of the negatives. I used to buy them a lot more blindly, but now I am trying to be more selective–things we will actually use or places that are convenient for us to go. We ended up driving almost an hour to use one deal–not worth it! Smart tips, my friend!


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