MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Remember when clipping coupons was the best way to save money? These days, however, more and more Minnesotans are “clicking” coupons on websites with daily deals.
But how good are those deals, and where can you turn if you want to get rid of a bad one? WCCO-TV found how to find all the best bargains in one place, and how to resell the ones you no longer want.
Helga Radio is one of those Minnesotans clicking coupons. When she logs into her computer, at least three coupon deals are waiting for her. She subscribes to Groupon, Living Social, Crowd Cut, three of the “deal of the day” websites that are popping up in the Internet. We even have one at wcco.com. The biggest website of them all, however, is Groupon; it is also the generic term most people seem to use to describe online coupons.
“My hair salon had a Groupon one time,” Radio said. “So obviously, I’m going to buy that and use it to my advantage.”
Radio estimates she has bought 10 to 15 groupons, some more memorable than the others.
“Skydiving was on my bucket list,” she said. “And when I saw the Groupon, I took it as a sign that I just had to buy it, and I’m glad I did.”
In fact, she got a group of four to buy in together. The lure of the deal was almost as big as the adventure itself.
“That was definitely helpful,” said Becca Mitchell, who went along for the skydive. “I mean, it was still a big purchase with the coupon, but that it was almost 50 percent off — definitely made it a lot easier to say yes.”
If you want to take the plunge, here is what you need to know. Most of the discounts are around half price, they’re sold for a short period of time, to a large group of people, and there may be some limitations. Most important, they expire on the same day for all of the buyers.
“Now that I’ve bought some and used some and not used some,” said Jennifer Westpfahl, “I have kind of figured out what not to buy.”
Westpfahl knows her way around these daily deals. She’s bought about a dozen, gotten deals on oil changes and movie rentals, dined at great restaurants, dealt with fine print, and beat some deadlines. She has also learned to only buy what she knows she’ll use. “I think it wasn’t until that first one expired that the learning curve jumped to let’s be cautious now,” she said.
And that’s why a new kind of site popped up. CoupRecoup is a place to resell these coupons before they expire, or get an even better deal by buying coupons from others.
David Erickson of Tunheim Partners, a company that studies and creates internet strategies, said that the coupon craze started in 2004, and took off in 2009, when the economy tanked.
In the future Erickson expects more personalized deals tailored to fit each customer’s needs.
However, Erickson wonders whether or not consumers will use groupon websites after the economy recovers.