How to Use Groupon

By Jennifer Vally

Ever wanted to try indoor skydiving? How about a hot rock massage? Sounds cool, but the economy and your budget won't allow for extracurricular activities? Thanks to a discounted service called Groupon, you can try these and hundreds of other products, services and cultural events for up to 90% off the listed prices. Founded in 2008 by Andrew Mason, Groupon is an online, discount broker that negotiates huge discounts with vendors that are then passed along to the consumer. Get on your way to new adventures without putting a dent in your wallet.

Step 1

SIGN UP/ENROLL.Sign up at Groupon.com and register for your local region. As of November, 2010, Groupon is available in over 150 cities in the U.S. alone. After registration, you will receive daily e-mails with your local deal of the day. A minimum amount of people have to buy the daily special before the deal or group is "on." But, once the group is on, the deal will remain active for 24 hours or until the event sells out. The variety of offers are endless. So, if you don't see something you like one day, don't worry, you'll find something you like the next.

Step 2

PURCHASE THE DEAL OF THE DAY. You've decided to try the $160 acupuncture treatment for $25 and are ready to purchase. Simply click on the "Buy" link and make your purchase, using Groupon's secured site. Groupon purchases can only be made with a credit/debit card, but you can register several of your cards on the site and choose them on an individual basis.

Step 3

PRINT YOUR VOUCHER. When your purchase is complete, you will receive a notice by email with instructions for printing the voucher for your deal. Once printed, there will be instructions on how to redeem it with the vendor. Most offers are as simple as showing up with the voucher to redeem (restaurants, museums, retail stores), while others require calling or emailing the vendor for a reservation (salon services, estheticians).

Step 4

GIVE GROUPON AS A GIFT. See something that you'd like to give to a friend as a gift? Click on the "Buy it for a friend" link and purchase. You then have the option to either send the gift directly to the recipient's email or print the voucher yourself and personally present it.

Step 5

THE EASY BENEFITS OF GROUPON.Groupon is a win-win situation for both the vendor and the consumer alike. The vendor will gain new customers that hopefully will become regulars (not to mention the recommendations to others) and the consumer will get to try new places, experiences and products without spending too much money. Every deal is at least 50% off with some being as much as 90% off the retail price. All daily deals are written in such a way so you know exactly what you are getting. Example: $100 gym membership for $25.

Tips & Warnings

  • 1) Before making a purchase you are unsure of, you can get real customer reviews or help from a Groupon crew member by clicking on "Join the Discussion."
  • 2) Setting up a profile will help you track your purchases and personalize your deals.
  • 3) Groupon is registered with Ebates.com, an online retail broker that offers further cash rebates for all your online purchases.
  • 4) You get $10 to use for your next Groupon for every referral who makes a purchase.
  • 1) Groupon deals do sell out. If you see something you like, grab it before it's gone.
  • 2) Items do have expiration dates. However, they're more than fair, generally six months to a year after date of purchase. You can check the expiration date before you purchase.
  • 3) Don't get addicted. It's easy to be excited by all the drastic discounts. Make sure you have the time to take advantage of your purchase. Groupon and the vendor make money whether you use your voucher or not.