We live in a Golden Age of Coupons. Every morning when I open my email, I see offers from Gilt City, Daily Candy, Living Social, and Groupon scattered among news briefings and actual correspondence. I signed up for these missives because I love a good deal, but for the most part I delete them unread; I can’t forget my mother’s folk wisdom: You can go broke buying wholesale.
I guess not everyone’s mother told them that: Groupon, the best known of the Internet-discount services, was valued at $30 billion in its June IPO.
Intrigued by this ludicrously large sum, I resolved to stop ignoring Groupon’s emails and to see what all the fuss was about. Because I’m fitfully prone to extremes, I also decided to test the usefulness of Groupon on a micro scale. For one full week, I spent money on only Groupon deals. Groupon was, effectively, my sole currency.
First I implemented a few ground rules:
- I limited my spending to $200, a number meant to encapsulate all my non-rent/non-recurring-payment expenses, including food, and to be roughly equivalent to what I spend in a normal week.
- I did allow myself a few emergency purchases like a subway pass, toilet paper, etc., and loaded up on groceries beforehand.
- I could use only newly purchased Groupons, not stockpiled ones, and
- My goal was to spend them all within the seven-day period.
(One of the genius/terrible aspects of Groupon, depending on your perspective, is that people often fail to use them before they expire—resulting in a burgeoning secondary market. I wanted to avoid this particular kind of suckerdom.)
Read how his week turned out in the full article on Slate.com…
- Groupon: What I learned by living off Internet coupons for seven straight days. (slate.com)
- Coupon clipping craze!!! (artsyprincess.wordpress.com)
- ‘Extreme Couponing’ Tied to Newspaper Thefts (newser.com)
- SavingStar Giveaway: Win a $200 Gift Card (livingrichwithcoupons.com)