The Curse of Groupon: When Saving Money Goes Mad

11 Sep

I’m bleeding money this week, struck down by a particularly nasty condition known the Curse of Groupon.  Now, I love group-buying sites and all their money-saving spin-offs. In fact Skint sang their praises here a few months back.   

But signing up to these sites is a bit like having the January sales visit your inbox every day. A meal for two for a fiver!  A fish pedicure for the same price as a bag of chips! Who could possibly say no? Not me, it seems. At least, not as often as I should. I’m coming to realise that my pride in living the skint life has made me a Groupon marketers dream. I need only see the phrase 50% off to be clicking my little mouse and Paypalling my way out of another £20.  

Trouble is, I sometimes forget about what I’ve bought. Boy, I’m sure that Groupon loves me. As I found out in this fascinating article, if vouchers aren’t redeeemed Groupon keeps 100% of the profits, and doesn’t have to share with the participating restaurant/cafe/whatever.

Today, after realising I’d just passed the deadline for redeeming a Groupon deal, I got to thinking about all those times that group-buying sites were the winners in our little arrangement. The reading’s not pretty:

1) Bought a family photoshoot as a Xmas gift. Short deadline, bad weather and general slovenliness meant deadline passed before voucher could be redeemed.

2) Purchased deal for a cut and style at hair salon, only to forget to take the voucher with me. Discovered at the till, post-cut. Unforgiveable really, that one. 

3) Bought a hotel break. Hotel inundated with bookings meaning no vacancies left at the times I could manage. Gave vouchers to pals for free.

4) Bought voucher for some heavily discounted moisturiser. Out of stock by the time I redeemed it. 

Hmm, a sorry list there, huh? And the lesson is simply, act fast. Or if like me you’re genetically incapable of doing so it might be best to either avoid these sites or set up some sort of reminder system –  a sort of Groupon klaxon – that goes off two or three weeks before the expiry date.  

Happily, I have had some real successes with group-buying too. The highlights?

1)  A set of ten make-up brushes for £16. Top of the range ones, worth more than £100. They’ve made such a difference to my mornings and I know I’ll have them for many years.

2) A two night stay at a favourite hotel for a rock bottom price. This is Groupon bonanza – when a deal comes up on something you’d be doing sometime anyway. To hell with using group-buying to try new experiences – give me well-loved hotels over sky-diving any day.

3) Carpet cleaning for a snip. Glamorous, no. But oh so welcome. 

How about you? Group-buying sites – love em or hate em? Ever been seduced into buying a deal that you’ve never redeemed? Share your pain honey – it makes me feel better.  And if you’ve got any tips on how you avoid the curse of Groupon we’d all love to hear them.


3 Responses to “The Curse of Groupon: When Saving Money Goes Mad”

  1. Fijian girl September 12, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    Like this post and great tips. Thanks!

  2. valerie smith September 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    I have just booked two for afternoon tea with glass of champers at posh hotel in Troon, forgot also use of Leisure facilities. Followed by two for meal at Ashoka west end. Will now need to look for bootcamp deal or I will be very round soon.


  1. Slashing Energy Costs – The Group-Buying Way « Skint in the City - March 6, 2012

    […] usually I have some reservations about crowd-buying. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been seduced into buying something on a group-buying site that I didn’t really […]

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