Using group discount sites to save money can be fun and frugal. However, it's important to know not only what sites to turn to, but also the ins and outs of these sites to make the most out of the deals you find.
Groupon is a top-rated website and app that offers national discount deals for select products and services as well as local deals things like restaurants, hotels, activities, and events. Save by:
- Watch your email for limited time promo codes. These vary, but might include a monetary amount off, a percent-off discount code, or exclusive travel promos. Search the Groupon Store page to see current offers your code(s).
- Maximize your savings by browsing the site for store coupon codes that can save you money shopping elsewhere online (some of which are exclusive to the site).
- Flash sales are often for products only available for short time periodsthat yield a significant discount. Compare what is on the Daily Deals page to other retailers before you buy.
Get Cash Back
Get cash back with a linked credit card. Make sure to personalize your profile beforehand so your local cash back deals appear. Deals are free to claim and vary from 10 to 40 percent; you earn your reward once you use your linked card at the restaurant or venue on the offer.
Refer Friends for Rewards
Once a newly referred friend buys their first deal, you'll instantly earn $10 in Groupon bucks. You must have a credit card linked to your Groupon account; that's where the reward will be deposited. This can only be used on the Groupon website and has a $100 lifetime cap.
Watch Limits and Expiration Dates
A few things to keep an eye on include:
- Many deals only allow you to buy a certain amount, such as a limit of one deal per person and the option to buy one as a gift.
- Other restrictions, such as venues not allowing the Groupon to be used at parties, or requiring the promotion to be used all at one time, are also common.
- Expiration dates vary and may have either a specific expiration date or expire within a certain number of days after purchase.
You have three days to cancel a purchased Groupon Local deal for a refund and two hours to cancel an order of Goods for a refund. Getting the actual monetary value paid for your deal (not the promotional amount) from the vendor or venue is up to management discretion. Within two weeks of the expiration date, you can also trade in your deal for Groupon Bucks.
Get More With Loyalty Programs
If you link your participating travel loyalty program to your Groupon account and use it when you make your purchase, you may get a promo code that provides miles or points on what you buy. Examples of participating programs include Choice Privileges, American Airlines AAdvantage, and United Airlines Mileage Plus.
LivingSocial offers a wide range of both local deals and physical goods via its website or mobile app. Now owned by Groupon but with a separate web presence, it also shows deals at a glance and is customized to specific cities or areas for you.
Save money through:
- The Weekly Savings section can help you save on things that you might be doing or purchasing anyway from coffee to exercise classes to kids' activities.
- Sales events that offer even greater discounts on certain activities, products, services, and restaurants. These are more limited in time than the regular promotions, so don't wait if you find a deal you like.
- Find promo codes in your email inbox; these are meant to be invite-only for existing LivingSocial customers. These might be for free shipping on certain items or an extra percent off code good on any site purchase. These deals can't be shared or transferred.
Tell Friends to Earn
Earn $10 for each person you refer who is a first-time customer. Once the referred friend has purchased a voucher, you'll be eligible for $10 in Deal Bucks. However, there is a lifetime cap of $100 in Deal Bucks for friend referrals. You must have a credit card on file to get the reward.
Expirations and Cancellations
You have a one day window to self-cancel a Local deal, and an additional two days to cancel with a representative. Cancel products within two hours for a refund (you may also be able to return some items, depending on the product and partnering vendor). If your voucher expires, you can trade it in for Deal Bucks within two weeks of the expiration (equal to the amount you originally paid).
Aggregate deals from local merchants are available on LocalFlavor. Options available here are more limited than on Groupon and LivingSocial, though available deals can go up to 50 percent. The deals available also vary widely depending on location. In major cities in California, for example, there are more deals than in midwestern states.
New Customer Promotion
New users can get a special sign up bonus (which may be up to 25 percent off your first order) and are tailored to your particular location. Home, dining, auto, activity, retail, and health and wellness products and services are available.
Restrictions and Expirations
None of the deals available in LocalFlavor can be combined with other offers, and they have specific dates for expirations, so it's important to watch those closely. They have the advantage of a longer refund window, offering a full refund within 14 days on any unredeemed voucher.
Travelzoo offers travel deals for various destinations around the world that are limited in time and in number on its website and app. It's specifically focused on travel, so can be a good choice if you are just in the market for a discount vacation package. You can set your location as well as search national and global deals.
Check the Fine Print
It's important to keep in mind that the travel deals they offer are restricted to certain dates, so you'll need to ensure you can travel accordingly to make the most of the deal.
Also be sure to check the unique details for the travel package advertised. You can discern whether it includes things like meals, parking, activities, or other services or extras.
Although it depends on the specific travel product or package, Travelzoo offers refunds on most purchases if they are done within seven days. You can do this online once you are signed into your account. Consider that some purchases are non-refundable, and those with date-specific events are considered a final sale. After seven days, no refunds or credits are given.
This is also a more specialized site, but Restuarant.com can help you save if you are in the market for getting discounts at local dining establishments. The website promotes special deals from a variety of restaurants, and you can search or put in your zip code to help you find a specific area.
Choose a deal for a restaurant you like, then select a certificate amount (these range from $5-$15 dollar options to $25 for gift certificates for a $50 value). Then you simply go to the restaurant, use your promotion, and save.
Look at the Details
Check the reviews, menu options, and overall prices before getting your promotion to make sure it's the deal that's right for you. It's also important to keep in mind that gratuities are based on your overall meal and beverage price before the discount is applied. Minimum gratuity charges may also be applied. There may also be minimum purchase restrictions, so look for those details.
Exchanges and More
If you are unsatisfied with your dining experience, you can exchange your Restaurant.com certificate so you can redeem it at a different restaurant venue. According to the website, the eGiftcards don't expire, so you can exchange them at any time. Restaurants will need to follow local laws concerning alcohol sales and gift certificate redemption, so check before buying.
Another way Restaurant.com can help you save is with their Specials area filled with area-specific deals (such as theater events, movie tickets, sporting events, and others) that you can select discounted options for. These are listed as daily deals and may have additional costs listed as processing fees depending on what is purchased.
Yipit works as an affiliate site, linking to deals through sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. It has exclusive filters that help narrow down the deals to the ones specifically tailored to your preferences. You can also search by category, city, and more if desired. All deals are subject to the terms of the affiliated websites.
Get the Most for Your Money
Though local deal sites are not as widespread as they used to be, you still have some options when it comes to getting great deals for activities, travel, restaurants, and even retailers in your area. Make sure you understand what an offer entails before purchasing, and you can save while enjoying everything from everyday necessities to special occasions.