Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You've Got Mail

I'm sure most of you have heard of Groupon by now. You enter your email address, pick a city, and they will email you daily deals for things in that city. The deals can be anything from spa services, hotel accomodations, products, tickets, etc. Usually you will have just one day to decide if you want to purchase the deal, but sometimes they last a little longer (they will show as a "side deal" on the right side of the page).

I absolutely love Groupon. And it's not just Groupon - I subscribe to about 25 of these things. Yeah, that's not a typo. If you're interested, I have an entire spreadsheet of the deal sites I subscribe to like this. Yes, it means I get a lot of emails each morning, but I actually really look forward to them. (You know, writing this makes me wonder if I need to get a life..?) Most of the time the deal is written in the subject of the email, so you can just scroll through your inbox and delete the ones that you're not interested in rather than reading all of them.

I've gotten some REALLY good deals through this site. Recently I got a full-day lift ticket, equipment, and a ski or snowboard lesson at Mt. Sunapee for $20. That's not a typo either. $20!! It was actually $40, but I had a credit to the site, so I got it for $20 (more on that in a minute). I've also gotten a 1-night stay at the Ramada Castle Hotel for $75 and it included a FREE 3-course dinner for my boyfriend and I. The place was gorgeous:

We've also scored some cheap restaurant certificates, a cruise around Boston Harbor for a decent price, and some corn maze tickets for only $2 each! It's a fun way to check out some new places or do some fun family stuff without spending a lot.

Ok, some tips:
  1. Groupon is great, but other sites have some amazing deals too. I like BuyWithMeLivingSocial, and Eversave the best right now. There are also some sites that cater to a particular area, for example Local Ginger has deals specifically for Massachusetts' North Shore area, and The Local Deal focuses on the Worcester area. 
  2. If you're going on vacation, say to Disney World, update your subscriptions so that you receive emails with deals from the Orlando area as well. You might be able to score a cheap meal or even some park tickets or souvenirs. Even if you're not going on vacation, you can sometimes find good deals in other cities that you can buy and use at home. For example, I saw a retail store deal that I wanted to share with my mom, but it ended in Boston before I got the chance. We changed the city to Phoenix and they were still offering the deal, so we were still able to buy it to use here at home (or anywhere!).
  3. Refer friends! Most of these sites will give you a unique referral link to pass along to friends (thru email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc) and when your friend signs up and makes their first purchase, you will get a credit towards your next one! This is how I was able to get the Ski deal for only $20 - I had referred 2 friends for $10 each, giving me a $20 credit on the site. Pretty cool, huh?
  4. Check the fine print. Most of the deals are not valid until the NEXT day, so you won't be able to use it that night. They're usually good for quite a while though. The restrictions are usually minimal, but just make sure that you will be able to use them. If you buy something that you think you may not get to use, you can sell back deals from some of the sites on Lifesta
I'm off to check my emails! I would love to hear about all the deals you find!

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