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Money Leaks: Buying Groupons You Don’t Need

Posted By Jim On 09/01/2011 @ 7:01 am In Personal Finance | 5 Comments

Here’s a classic deal hunter’s dilemma – you see something on big discount and you’re very tempted to buy it because it’s such a good deal. There’s just one problem… you don’t need it now. It’s like seeing all those barbecue grill deals outside Home Depot at the end of the season. Those grills are fantastic deals, but you already have a grill!

Groupons [3], and discount voucher dealers like them, rely on this very mentality. You see a deal for a dozen cupcakes, or perhaps a massage; but how many of those deals are to places you already go to? How about Restaurant.com vouchers? Those 80% off discounts are pretty incredible, until you realize that you haven’t heard of 99% of the restaurants they sell vouchers to.

The reality is that most of the businesses that use Groupons and Restaurant.com are usually either very new or fairly low demand. What you end up doing is buying a voucher on deep discount for something you probably wouldn’t have purchased at full price anyway. In other words, you aren’t really saving anything. You’re spending when you otherwise wouldn’t have.

This is the latest edition of our new series called Money Leaks. [4]

Incidentally, I love Groupon. I’ve used it and various clones like Living Social, Saveology, and Buywithme a lot to get great discounts on things we already spend our money on. I’m a huge fan every time one of them offers discounted movie tickets or vouchers to a local restaurant we happen to enjoy regularly.

What if you’re stuck with a voucher you no longer want? Fortunately, you have two options:

  • Return it: Groupon lets you return your groupon [5] if you no longer want it. Some other companies are the same way, but always double check.
  • Resell it: Secondary markets have appeared for these types of vouchers. The most well known one is probably CoupRecoup [6] but there are plenty of them out there.

Personally, I only buy it if I know I’ll be using it within a month. If I don’t, I usually pass on the deal (I can always look for it on the secondary markets!).

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[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/money-leaks-buying-groupons.html

[3] Groupons: http://www.groupon.com/r/uu1152384

[4] Money Leaks.: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/tag/money-leaks

[5] return your groupon: http://www.groupon.com/blog/cities/the-groupon-promise/

[6] CoupRecoup: http://couprecoup.com/

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