Thursday, January 20, 2011

Groupon: Savings or Sinkhole?

People riding Segway scooters by the "Ope...Image by Chris Devers via FlickrWe don't get out much. Our idea of a date is cheese and crackers and a glass of water in front of the TV after the kids have gone to bed.

But I did buy a birthday present for Mr. Poorhouse from Groupon last year. You know Groupon, right?  You sign up, they send you an email every day for some local experience or service at pretty substantial discounts

The offer is generally something I don't want or need. A family trying to reduce its debt isn't in the market for bartending classes or spa days at the local salon. But, one day in the summer, a Groupon offer popped up in my email that represented an experience of a lifetime for Mr. Poorhouse. So I bought him a 2-hour Segway tour of our city for $45. (OK. I actually paid $90. I wanted to go too.) And once his October birthday rolled around (get it, rolled? Segway? Oh, never mind.) we redeemed the groupon on a beautiful fall day. It was wonderful. We saved about 50%. And we will remember it forever.

But of course, now I'm still getting the emails. I haven't spent any more money with Groupon. But it's slightly annoying to wade through the offers I can't afford all the time. 

And if you need to cut your expenses and you think it would tempt to to spend money you wouldn't otherwise spend or don't actually have, it certainly isn't a good deal for you. 
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