Are you living social by grouponing?

Last week I did something I almost never do. I bought a living social deal. I signed up for both Groupon and Living Social a little over a year ago, and after about two weeks of receiving their daily emails, I bowed out. I was sick of receiving a bajillion emails from them for redundant, unexciting offers. You can only get notified of a 50% off spa treatment or manicure offer so many times before you start to go crazy. I’ve unsubscribed and never looked back.

So what was this last deal that was so good, I just had to get it? Meh, it was nothing exciting. Just a 50% off restaurant coupon at a place in Seattle I’ve never heard of or been to. I figured it would be nice to take Girl Ninja out on a sweet date now that I’m back, and no better way to do it then at 50% off regular price. This time, however, after making the purchase, I made sure to “unsubscribe” to email notifications. I don’t want Groupon, Living Social, or any other similar company emailing me every day.

If a Groupon or Living Social deal is truly incredible, I almost always hear about it through other means. Whether it be someone’s Facebook status “Hey I just bought the Nordstrom Rack Groupon” or a text message from someone else that says “Dude, Ninja! Five dollars off frozen yogurt!”, word spreads quick when a unique opportunity arises.

I no longer rely on Groupon or Living Social to tell me about their fantastic deals. I know this means I’ve probably missed a few deals I would have been interested in, but that’s the price I’m willing to pay to not get email spam every morning.

How do you feel about Groupon or Living Social? How many “Daily deals” would you say you buy a year (I’d say 4 for us)? Do you think these businesses are here to stay, or just a temporary fad? Are there any better, less annoying alternatives (I like Woot and Steep and Cheap)?

26 thoughts on “Are you living social by grouponing?

  1. I’ve bought a handful. In all except one it was somewhere that we have eaten or shopped at regularly. We took a chance on a photography deal. that turned out OK though the photographer was a bit of a mess in terms of her personal life and how it impacted her business. No complaints. I think the biggest key is to buy for deals that you would normally by anyway or can substitute for another purchase that you would have made (like the dinner you would have taken GN to anyways).

  2. when i first heard about livingsocial, groupon, and google deals — i immediately subscribed to every list. i was excited to wake up each morning and look at my cell phone to see what their “deals of the days” were..

    however, i have since unsubscribed from all of them… i wouldnt have bought any of those things in the first place.. so even tho they are offering discounts.. they are still getting me to spend money that i wasn’t planning on spending in the first place.. that isn’t going to help me get out of debt 🙂

  3. My roommate got ripped off on a group social scam deal for a movie chain, so I’ve been extremely skeptical of these deal sites. Also, I hate my email inbox getting clogged up with anything that’s not of immediate or personal importance, so I haven’t really signed up for them. I do get travel deals from a few flash deal sites that I monitor for where I might want to travel, but they go to my junk email account.

  4. I’m like you and buy a couple a year to my favorite restaurants. If the subject doesn’t interest me, I just delete them (I signed up for living social and groupon both).

  5. I have purchased a couple things from site like those. I got my wife’s christmas gift from one (she really wanted to convert a wedding photo to canvas and those pop up fairly often). I also got some decent deals on haunted houses around halloween and most recently we got 50% off at our favorite upscale local restaurant.

    Overall I just look them over quickly and decline to purchase anything.

  6. I’ve never used Groupon or Living Social, but I have used coupons that I get in the mail or newspaper. However, there is a great convenience store called QuikTrip that is all over the place where I live. I signed up at their website and in exchange for doing a quick survey every month I print out a coupon for something free like any size drink or a new sandwich they are offering. Love me some free stuff!

  7. I prefer http://www.restaurant.com/
    I have purchased multiple coupons from that site. It’s a great way to try new places without having to risk paying a fortune for crappy food. I recommend getting just ONE coupon to start off with, because they will send you promo codes to get 50-90% off after your initial purchase. $20 gift card for 2 bucks? yes please!

    Just put in your zip code and you can try tons of local places on the cheap!

    Note: I am NOT affiliated with them and have only purchased their coupons on multiple occassions. Just sharing my cheap ninja food deal with others!

    • I second the love for restaurant.com! There’s always a 50% off coupon. Groupon definitely pressured me to buy more, so I unsubscribed. I’ll wait around for free cone or donut day.

  8. I’ve never used Groupon or Living Social… I don’t really enjoy going out that much, and if there really was a fantastic deal that I just HAD to take advantage of, I would hear about it from friends.

  9. Well, I love it. We have tried many new places to eat. I converted VHS to DVD – used some one night getaways and very soon we will be touring a local Whiskey mill.

    I use my coupons and that is the only way they are good to have. I have given them as gifts also.

    I don’t do emails but I have the app on my iphone that I check every morning while my computer is booting up so I can read PDITF and then glance at Manteresting of course.

    My favorite deal is the lighting deals on Amazon – some amazing savings on things I would have bought anyway.

  10. I do Groupon. Over about the past year, I have bought 2 Old Navy deals, one for a pizza place, one for a natural foods store and one for organic produce.

  11. We’ve bought probably 10 of these deals in the last year. Three of them were returned (got a refund because the propieter didn’t advertise appropriately or gave us grief upon attempted redemption). Three have worked out quite well (a photography deal got us great photos of our little one’s first Christmas at an extremely cheap price, and a hair salon that got me the same thing I usually buy for about 1/3 the price, and a car detailer that did an exceptional job). Two others were meh, mediocre at best, and I haven’t tried to use the last two yet. I delete most before opening the e-mail, because I know we won’t be interested. You have to be selective or else you get snookered into buying stuff you wouldn’t buy otherwise. Like anything, they can be helpful or harmful, depending on how you use them.

  12. Fo some people it will encourage spending and others it won’t. I only used it once. For the most part, I do not frequent places that use it as a promootion.

  13. I’m in the same boat, I hated getting all the emails and I have enough friends that pass along the good ones that I don’t need to worry about it. So far, I’ve only bought two. 1/2 off rock climbing at a gym in a town I don’t live it but would be house sitting at. Definitely worth it for 10 days of working out. And half off a local brew shop that I use. Got 50% off a carboy!

  14. Great point – it’s not unlike the news in that sense, that if something is important enough it wil turn up on your radar somewhere else.

    I reckon we probably buy 3-4 deals a year, too.

  15. I might use it a few times a year. Not that often. I especially like it when there are groupons for stores, rather than services. Last year I got groupons to Chapters (book store), American Apparel and Sears! That’s pretty awesome.

    I hate the emails, too, though, so I usually just check in when the mood strikes me and risk missing out. But I do agree that the best deals almost always find me. And especially if there’s a deal that is right up my alley, someone will usually email me about it specifically if they know it’s something I’d like. If you like the reminder, but just not a lot, try signing up for http://dealpage.me/, which aggregates all of the deal sites for the area. It’s much less annoying!

  16. I am obsessed with groupon style sites but I only ever buy things that I was going to buy anyway.

    For our vacation this year our family of three will be spending 10 nights at a beautiful tropical island resort, for the same amount I was about to spend on 4 nights in a motel an hour from home…. Our budget is very limited in the areas of entertainment, dining out and travel, but we make every dollar count with discount deals… It’s like clipping coupons for people with a small grocery budget, but instead of worrying about how we’re going to fit 20 boxes of cereal in the cupboard, we’re doing what WE enjoy. It’s not for everyone, but I love it!

    I don’t know what the equivalent is in the US but we have sites like buyii.com.au which captures most of the daily deal site offerings on one page so I don’t have to subscribe to any particular one and get bombarded by emails.

  17. I used to love buying deals! That use to be all that my bf and I would do when we’d go out. It would be how we tried places we’d been meaning to try. My main issue was budgeting. I have a certain amount of money set aside for eating out each month. But if I buy a groupon in February, but don’t use it until April, I can’t figure out how to shuffle my money around to make it work.

    Nowadays, I buy daily deals for one of 3 reasons –

    1 – It’s a place on our “to try” list, or in other words, we were going to go there eventually anyway.
    2 – It’s a place we absolutely love, and probably would return there anyway.
    3 – It’s something that I normally wouldn’t do because it’s cost-prohibitive in my current budget but with the deal, it gives me the push to give it a try (like golf lessons, house cleaning, etc)

    I also use Yipit to aggregate all my deals. You select what deals you want to hear about, and only get e-mails on those topics. So I don’t get e-mails from them on say, book stores or hair salons.

    We’ve also given them as gifts within our circle of friends, but that’s because we’re all pretty accepting of the “deal” world.

  18. I’ve bought a whole bunch and other than 1, I’ve always used them. I’ve stopped buying them for awhile now and I don’t plan to buy any again – unless an absolutely amazing deal pops up. I can tell you that I have been tempted by their 8 day China tours including airfare (for about $1500) but having to take that much time off from work keeps me from buying them.

  19. I’ve bought a a handful of groupons and living social deals. Usually it has been to a local restaurant that we eat at anyway. Almost all of the other “deals” in my area have been useless to me, such as tanning salons and beauty parlors. Also, how does one become a member on your blogroll?

  20. We buy a “deal” about once a month but only to places we want to try or places we already really like. We’ve never wasted a deal!

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