I have a love-hate relationship with Groupons (note that I refer to ‘groupons’ as the term for daily deal sites just as I would say ‘kleenex’ to describe tissues- you with me?). When they first became popular, I was unemployed and was buying them like it was my job. My reasoning was that I needed to “experience city life” on my measly babysitting salary. Well, let’s just say I bit off a little more than I could chew and ended up with a bunch of soon-to-expire groupons to gyms, restaurants, classes, stores, etc. Overall, I don’t think I saved any money but I indeed “experienced” more than I would have otherwise (even though many of these experiences included crappy restaurants). At least I know where not to go, right?
As a seasoned daily deal consumer, I thought I would get you up to speed on when to buy a deal and when to just say NO!
Buy: Restaurants that you have been to and liked, restaurants in your neighborhood that you want to try, restaurants that you have been dying to go to but are too expensive to go otherwise.
Resist Temptation: Restaurants that you have never heard of, restaurants that are not in your neighborhood, restaurants that are offering coupons in many different forms (this means business is hurting and there is usually a reason why…).
Buy: If the class or gym is in your neighborhood and you are trying to find “your” exercise class. Surprisingly, this one actually worked for me.
Resist: Classes and gyms that are not close to home or work, classes or gym memberships that you would never buy without a coupon (because if you like it, you can’t afford it in real life, or if it didn’t interest you before, you will never even use the groupon in the first place-trust me on this one).
Gift Certificates for Shops/Goods
Buy: Places where you currently shop (i.e Amazon or Whole Foods)
Resist: EVERYWHERE ELSE! If you go into that store with a gift certificate to spend, you are likely going to spend more money than you wanted to in the first place. Buying a groupon will not “save” you money… you are buying something you wouldn’t have bought without a coupon. In turn, you are spending more money by purchasing the coupon in the first place and putting yourself in a position where you will have to try to resist even more temptation once you walk into the store.
Buy: Activities that you buy with friends, or if it’s something you have been dying to try but it is too pricey (ie cooking classes or skydiving).
Resist: Activities that require friends who didn’t also purchase the groupon, obscure activities that you probably never wanted to do in the first place (ie pole dancing).
Enough of my groupon rant- now onto what brought me to this topic in the first place! My friend and I bought a Living Social deal to this event called Wine and Canvas. This broke some of my rules since it is not something I had desired to do beforehand, but I bought it with a friend and it was a good excuse for us to get together. It was $17 for a normally $35 class.
The event was at the downtown Chevy’s in the back room. I got there a little late, but was immediately thrown off when there was no wine waiting for me! A deal called “wine & canvas” sure sounds like it should include at least a small glass of wine. Fortunately, I was quickly distracted by the free fresh chips and salsa and completely forgot about the wine.
They had an easel, canvas, and paints already set out for us, ready to start our masterpiece! They had an example of the painting we were going to make that night, and they walked us through how to make it, step by step.
The instructor made each step so small that it seemed so easy, and by the end, we actually had some decent looking paintings!
These might even be wall-worthy…
Overall, this deal was a steal. You get some good deals, you get some bad ones, but no matter what, daily deals will get you out of your apartment and make you experience something. Just don’t be naive like I was and think you are actually “saving money!”