Ever since Groupon started in 2011, I have been a huge fan. They have come a very long day from the day where there was only 1 offer per day and it changed daily. Now there are hundreds if not thousands of offers available every week. There are many categories that you can choose from. My favorites are restaurants, things to do and services.
Whenever I buy a Groupon, I always check which shopping portal gives me the most points per dollar spent. This way I earn points towards award travel at the same time that I’m saving money on the things I buy – it’s a win win!
These are probably the Groupons that I purchase the most. Andy and I don’t go out to eat very often, usually just once or twice a week, but when we do we like to spend as little as possible.
There are 2 types of restaurant Groupons:
- Set menu
These are my preferred Groupons. You typically get something like 2 drinks, 2 appetizers, 2 dinners and dessert. I like that when you get to the restaurant you know that you only have to cover the tip and anything additional that you order.
- Fixed value
Some Groupons are calculated as as set dollar amount towards dinner. These require a little more work to use them. You’ll need to calculate what you have spent and how much more you need to spend to hit the minimum amount. I usually defer to Andy for this as his mental math is much better than mine.
Groupons are particularly good at restaurants that are somewhat expensive, like sushi which I feel like is always overpriced. We often purchase sushi Groupons as it allows us to eat sushi regularly at a reasonable price. Living in Chicago there is an abundance of sushi restaurants, so we’re able to try new places through Groupon quite often.
To make sure that the restaurant is happy with their decision to advertise via Groupon, make sure that you tip on the full amount and are nice to your server. Typically I wait until it is time to pay to pull out my Groupon to ensure that the server is attentive to me and doesn’t assume that I’ll be a cheap tipper because of my Groupon.
Groupon Things to Do
I have been able to do a ton of cool things through Groupon, most of which work really well for a larger group activity. I went skydiving and hang gliding with friends, had a relaxing evening painting pottery with another friend, treated my family to an architectural boat ride and had date nights with Andy taking a glass blowing class and going on a Segway tour of Chicago.
Andy got his scuba certification with a Groupon which allowed us both to go diving on our honeymoon.
Groupon services have also saved us money. It was 4 years since my furnace was installed and realized that I should probably have a checkup to make sure that everything was running well. I was able to pay half the list price and had a really great technician look at it. He even alerted us to a blocked drain for our water heater which we would not have noticed had we not had him come.
Andy never pays full price for tune ups on his 3 bikes. Many bike shops offer Groupons during their slow season to keep some consistent business coming in. I’ve also enjoyed massages and facials, something that I would never treat myself to at full price.
I have only ordered 2 things from Groupon Goods but was pleased both times. The thing that I have purchased multiple times is toothbrush heads for my electric toothbrush. The name brand ones are ridiculously expensive and even though the generics offered on the site aren’t quite as good, they are a small fraction of the cost and worth it to me.
You’d be surprised the number of things that Groupon offers. You can do a quick search on the site to see if what you’re looking for is available at a lower price than you can find elsewhere. Make sure that you do check the pricing, some of the items that they have do not aren’t a great deal.
Groupon offers free shipping for orders of $25 or more, but the shipping is extremely slow. It sometimes takes 2 weeks to even ship the order and with it being mailed through the post office, it takes quite some time for there.
I have not personally purchased a Groupon travel deal because planning trips is half the fun to me. If you aren’t big into planning travel, have flexibility on travel dates and live in a major metropolitan area, Groupon travel might be a great option for you.
Tips for getting the most of out of Groupons
- If you’re new to Groupon, please use my referral link which gives me a $10 credit towards my next purchase.
- If you’re going on a vacation, check Groupons available in the city that you’re traveling to. You may be able to save money on some sort of excursion or enjoy a discounted dinner when you are there.
- Make sure that you track the expiration dates of your Groupons. If you don’t use one before it expires, don’t worry, you will still get the value that you paid for the Groupon.
- Check the Groupon site often as deals change frequently.
- Look for Groupon promotions – sometimes Groupon will offer an extra 20% off deals which helps drive the cost down even more.