Frugal Family: Avoid Wasting Money with Deal-a-Day Sites

Up to 30% of coupons purchased from deal sites go unused…don’t be one of those people.

According to Seeking Alpha, up to 30% of coupons purchased from deal-a-day web sites like Groupon go unused. That’s easy to believe, when you consider that the average Groupon is bought by 550 people.  While deal-a-day web sites can offer tremendous savings to savvy customers, others find themselves wasting money on a regular basis.  Here are a few tips from the Five Cent Nickel on ways to make sure that you get your money’s worth out of these deals.

First, a few facts and figures: The average cost of a Groupon is $34. If you were to buy two a month, that’s about $816 a year spent on coupons. Use them all? Great! You’ve most likely racked up substantial savings. Are you one of the average consumers who let 30% of their purchased coupons expire? Then you’ve just wasted $244.

Here are some ways to make sure that doesn’t happen to you:

  1. Check to see if there is a Groupon app available for your phone.  If so, you can have alerts sent to you when your Groupons are about to expire. 
  2. Have coupons that you know you won’t be able to use in time?  Consider selling them. Several websites have popped up to allow you to sell unwanted Groupons and coupons. Some of the most popular are Lifesta.com, DealsGoRound.com, CoupRecoup.com, and Dealigee.com.
  3. Trade Groupons with friends or acquantainces. Try posting them on Twitter, Facebook, or even Craigslist.
  4. Have you had a Groupon turned down by a merchant? If so, don’t write it off. If Groupons have not expired and the merchant denies them, that’s a problem between Groupon and the merchant, not the merchant and you, the consumer. Contact Groupon and let them know about the problem, and they will most likely either refund your money or resolve the issue with the merchant.
  5. Make sure you read the fine print before purchasing the deal to make sure that you qualify. Some deals are specified as “new customer only” or are only valid on certain days or times. Do your homework to avoid disappointment and frustration.
  6. Finally, make sure you understand the coupon site’s policy.  Groupon’s policy clearly states that after expiration, the coupons are still redeemable for the purchase price (meaning, you don’t get the deal but you’re not out the cash). For example, if you paid $10 for a coupon redeemable for $20 in merchandise, but it has expired, you should still be able to go to the store and redeem the coupon for the $10 you paid for it. 
Kevin September 13, 2011 at 03:57 PM
Great article, I definitely fall in the 30% with deals gone to waste... but the problem is not just with Groupons. The problem is the exact opposite which is there are too many deal sites out there (700 and counting). I buy a deal and don't remember where I got it, and it expires because I can't find it. A super helpful mobile and web app is CityPockets (www.citypockets.com), which syncs with more than 30 deal sites and you can see when they expire and get the vouchers from one place.
Lisa Kuebler September 14, 2011 at 05:14 AM
That's a great tip. Thanks!
Angie Knopp Thomas September 14, 2011 at 12:31 PM
Its funny that you wrote about this, it just happened to me for the first time in two years of living the Groupon way but it was a triple whammy. I just got so busy with the onslaught of a new school year that I lost track. So I just went and printed all of my vouchers from all the sites and placed them on my gmail calendar with reminders about their expiration dates. A good alternative for the non-apping folks! Great article Lisa!
Sherly Chang September 15, 2011 at 07:34 AM
I will not buy sth just for the coupons are going to expire, I will not buy unnecessary things even if I have the coupons, I would like to check with the online coupon sites if I need to buy sth, it there are coupons, that would be perfect, I love to visit CouponSnapshot.com; Savings.com, Coupons.com :)


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