Not long ago I wrote my first article on frugality and confessed that I was more frugal than I thought. The internet has made frugality not only trendy but also easier to practice. The marketing giant Groupon, for example, is one of these sites that helps people save money. Or does it?
Times I have really saved money
I’ve now bought a few things from Groupon and have been really happy about it. One of my first purchases was Karma. My son Robbie wanted to play hockey so I needed to buy him a bunch of expensive equipment that he would grow out of in a year. Low and behold, All Sports Replay which is a store that sells used hockey equipment had 50% off Groupons. I cold not have been happier.
Everyday I get and email reminding me of the deal of the day. Most of the time, I am not interested in the deal of the day and the email goes right into the trash but every now that then there is that perfect groupon that suits me. One of my happiest purchases was 53% off bread at McGavins. With 4 hungry boys we go through a lot of bread so this was a no brainer!
Times I spent money
Does Groupon always save me money or does it entice me to spend money I was not intending to spend in the first place? For example, I got an email with 50% off of items in a local Hobby store. I’ve always thought it would be fun to have one of these cool remote control cars (not the ones you can buy for $50 at Toys R Us but the ones that the hobby enthusiasts have). My kids and I have watched some of these cars race in the park and immediately I thought about buying the Groupon to get one of these cars for my boys (OK for me too).
I missed out on the deal because I was travelling and doing a workshop but I think this is an example of where Groupon and other sites like it cause us to be impulsive and spend money we may not spend in the first place.
It reminds me of the cartoon where a spouse comes home after a shopping spree with bags and bags and says “Honey . . . you should see how much money I saved today!”
Are you an impulsive spender?
Gail Vaz Oxalde says According to research, 88% of all impulse purchases are made because the item is on sale.
With Groupon there is a sense of urgency because deals usually expire daily. Sometimes we are forced to make a decision without really thinking it through. With items like the used hockey equipment or the bread, it was an easy decision to make either because we use the products anyway and or it was a case of good timing.
Sometimes the fear of missing out on a good deal can cause us to be impulsive and buy something we might not have bought in the first place. I feel no remorse for missing out on the remote control cars so it might have been one of those impulsive purchases where the car sits in a pile of stuff that either never gets used or gets used once in a while.
Buying cheap is not frugal if you don’t use it. I remember buying a booklet of coupons that got me good deals on golfing but I never used the coupons. That was not frugal nor smart.
Groupon can be like that. I have a friend that loves trying new restaurants and Groupon is great for this because there’s usually a deal for a restaurant every week. She has bought more coupons than she can feed herself. She admits she has to stop buying these deals and start using them. I am free for lunch next week!
You only save money when you buy things that you were going to buy anyway, but buy it for less. Obviously you don’t save money when you go out and buy things that you weren’t going to buy – even if it’s priced at 75% off.
What are your experiences with Groupon? Care to Share?