After five courses of farm-to-table French-American cuisine and a bottle of red wine, my boyfriend and I were feeling pretty good.
We felt even better when the waiter brought the bill, despite the astronomical total it showed at the bottom.
Why? Well, we had already paid for this delicious set-price menu with a Groupon at 36% off the price.
Plus, we got an extra $20 off that thanks to a bonus Groupon sale.
I’ve used Groupon to discover new restaurants, to book massages, and even to try horseback-riding lessons, all at a fraction of the full price.
Discount sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial can be huge money-savers, especially when you use them in the three scenarios below.
3 best ways to save money with a coupon site
Although discount sites can bring you big savings, you don’t want to get carried away.
After all, buying something you wouldn’t normally buy because it’s on sale isn’t actually saving money — despite what advertisers would have us believe!
As long as you’re making thoughtful choices, these sites could offer major savings.
1. Cross off experiences on your bucket list (or discover new ones)
Have you always wanted to try acupuncture, go kayaking, or sample the yoga studios around your city?
Check out a coupon site for local deals that can point you in the right direction while chopping 25% or more off the price.
You might even find new activities in your city, which is what Roketa Dumas, a lifestyle blogger at Socially Acquainted, did when she came across a brewery scavenger hunt called Brewed Clues.
“It’s regularly $25 per person, plus tax, and that includes three half-pints of North Carolina craft beer, the tip, and your mission materials,” said Dumas. “It was on Groupon for $18, but I used a 20% off code and got it for $14.40.”
As a savvy couponer, Dumas also used savings site Ebates for more money back — in this case, 6%. The full-day experience ended up costing less than $15 for Dumas and her boyfriend.
“I loved it because it was a walking investigation, so there was outdoor exercise on a beautiful day,” she said. “It took up a couple of hours, it allowed us to explore a part of the city we don’t get to often, and we found some really cool breweries we may not have been to otherwise.”
With the right deal, you can enjoy unique activities that are easy on your wallet.
2. Discover local businesses outside of your regular haunts
Besides activities, you can also find many deals related to all kinds of other services and products.
I’ve also used Groupon to buy haircuts (back when I was less picky about who cut my hair). These deals saved me hundreds of dollars on services for which I would have otherwise paid full price.
Actor and motivational speaker Andrew Mondia has similarly used Groupon for a wide range of products and services.
“You can get great deals, from dentist checkups [and] basic cleaning to buying a brand new micro-duvet to laser hair removal services,” said Mondia. “So far this year I have used it to have a photo shoot and for some work on my lower back.”
He especially loved the massage deals he found while living in London. “It only cost me [about] $40 for a $120 massage,” he said.
Mondia estimates he has saved close to $5,000 total thanks to discount sites. “It’s great if you are on a budget and looking to get new things or services for a cheaper price,” he said.
3. Get discounted prices while you’re on vacation
Some of these sites offer deals all over the world, so they can be money-savers when you travel. Since you’re probably doing lots of activities and sightseeing anyway, consider using one of these sites to avoid paying full price.
Dumas, for instance, used a Groupon to visit the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
“We went to D.C. last summer, and my daughter really wanted to go to the International Spy Museum, but it was $22.95 per person, plus tax,” said Dumas. “While I was checking Groupon about two months later, they had where you could buy a voucher good on admission for two, plus I used the additional 20% off code and scored it for far less than I would have paid to go out of pocket.”
She and her daughter visited the museum a few months later when they returned to D.C. Soon after, Dumas found another deal for a getaway to Hershey, Pennsylvania.
“[I] found a Groupon deal for The Hershey Story museum,” she said. “It was a package for four for $45. It’s regularly $90, but I paid $36 after a 20% [off] code.”
Dumas enjoyed the museum (and four hot chocolate flights) for $54 less than she would have if she’d paid full price.
“I would say as soon as you know you’re going on a trip, check Groupon to see if there are any activities or restaurants you’d like to try in that area,” she recommended. “Also, make sure to keep checking Groupon every couple of days, at least once a week, because new deals pop up all the time.”
Travel expenses can add up, but these discounts will help take some pressure off your budget.
A few words of caution about coupon sites
Although coupon sites can be a great way to discover new experiences while saving money, there are some downsides for which to watch out.
Some reviewers have noted that businesses don’t treat them as well as they do full-paying customers, for example. Others have bought a coupon only to discover the business was closed or not accepting new appointments.
Dumas, for instance, tried to use a brunch deal three times at a local restaurant with no success.
“The first time, they were closed during a time they should have been open,” she said. “The second time, they were open, but we were told it was past brunch hours. The final time, we were told they were no longer serving brunch at all because it wasn’t cost-effective.”
The restaurant ultimately honored her Groupon by providing dinner, but it had stopped offering the brunch deal she had initially purchased.
Mondia similarly encountered a closed business after purchasing a pedicure deal. Fortunately, he contacted Groupon customer service and got a full refund to his credit card.
Before buying a deal, make sure to read the fine print, just in case you encounter a problem when you try to redeem it.
Explore other discount sites besides Groupon
Although Groupon is one of the most popular discount sites — it has over 49.5 million global users, according to the company — it’s not the only one that can help you save.
For even more deals on activities, services, and products, check out these other sites, too:
Plus, you might take a page from Dumas’ book and pile on the savings with a cash-back site such as Ebates. Also make sure to check out this extensive list of online cash-back tools for saving money every time you shop.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
|Lender||APR Range||Loan Amount|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.
All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.16% to 35.89%. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at time of application. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% and the average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months or longer.
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.
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