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Groupon Review

No one enjoys clipping coupons.

Saving money, yes. Spending hours combing through newspapers and store catalogs to save a few cents on canned beans? Not so much.

Fortunately, Groupon offers a searchable system to find deals on virtually anything — local retailers, big-name brands, vacations and tours. You can purchase Groupons for yourself or gift them to friends and family.

With over 200 million downloads, shoppers are taking note of the money-saving potential. Whether you’re looking for deals on everyday services or planning an elaborate vacation getaway, Groupon may have a discount for you.

What is Groupon?

Groupon is an online marketplace where you can unlock discounts on entertainment, attractions, travel, food, and other goods and services.

Originally, Groupon was a daily deals website. Each deal lasted 24 hours and required a certain number of users to participate in order to unlock the savings. Nowadays, Groupon offers discounts for local businesses, vacation packages, live events, and products. You can even earn cash back at local businesses when you make a purchase using a card linked to your account.

This Groupon review includes how the platform works, the different ways you can save money with Groupon, and what to look out for.

Free Price Company makes commission on your purchases.
DollarSprout Rating Simple to use, terms vary for each offer.

Groupon at a Glance:

Groupon is an online deals marketplace. You can save money by redeeming coupons, purchasing offers for local retailers, ordering discounted goods, or earn cash back by shopping with a linked credit card. Terms vary for each offer, so you'll need to read the fine print for instructions on what's included and how to redeem your deal.

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Pros

  • Free to sign up and claim deals
  • Savings up to 90% off regular price
  • Brand-name bargains
  • Digital coupons don’t get lost
  • Option to print coupons if you prefer
  • Mobile app makes finding deals easy
  • Deal of the Day offers more savings
  • Groupon Bucks for bigger discounts
  • 30-day return policy on many goods
  • Earn money for referring friends

Cons

  • Not all deals are a true bargain
  • Some require a minimum purchase amount
  • Limits on travel and hotel dates
  • Deepest discounts limited to new customers

How Does Groupon Work?

In order to claim a Groupon deal, you’ll first need to sign up for a free account. Groupon will ask a few questions about your interests so that it knows which deals to show you in the future.

Groupon Sign Up

Review Groupon’s Deals

After logging in, you can browse discounts on products, services, and things to do in your neighborhood. Groupons offer up to 90% off, but most fall in the 30% to 50% savings range. Popular categories include:

  • Featured Listings
  • Things to Do
  • Beauty and Spas
  • Local Discounts
  • Goods to Buy
  • Groupon Getaways
  • Deals of the Day
  • Groupon Coupons

Browse Groupons

If you know what type of deal you want, then you can use the search box to find what you’re looking for. Otherwise, you can click through the categories to find discounts in your areas of interest.

Choose Your Groupon

Once you find a Groupon you like, click on it, choose the option you want (if there are multiple), and select “Buy” or “Give as a Gift”.

Groupon Deal

Each Groupon has its own rules. Some require a minimum purchase or are only redeemable on certain days of the week. Be sure to read all the details when choosing your deals.

Groupon Fine Print

For example, the “Fine Print” on this Groupon says that sales tax of 9.25% isn’t included and must be paid at redemption. Socks are also required and must be paid for separately. If you didn’t read the details, that could be $20+ in unexpected expenses.

Redeem Your Deal

Once you purchase your Groupon, you’ll receive an email that includes instructions on how to redeem the offer. For products and online orders, you’ll need to go to the merchant website, place an order, and enter your Groupon redemption code. After you apply the code, you’ll check out as normal and pay any fees not included in the value of your Groupon.

For live events and local merchants, you may have to print your Groupon or show it on your phone at the venue, pick your tickets up from will-call, or redeem your code on the merchant’s website. Be sure to read your voucher for instructions on how to redeem your deal.

Groupon Review: The Details

There are many ways to save money using Groupon. You can book an all-inclusive vacation through Groupon Getaways, browse local automotive deals, or look for coupons from your favorite retailers.

Groupon Getaways

To search Groupon’s Getaways, select “Travel” on the top menu. You can browse by travel dates, region, or destination. If you’re not sure exactly when or where you want to go, try searching by interest such as beach, family fun, last minute, romantic getaways, or deals under $99.

Groupons travel deals include both local and international trips. You can book your hotel through the site and plan the rest of your trip separately or sign up for a complete Groupon tour. Tours come in four styles:

  • Structured: Includes flights, transportation, hotels, and daily activities
  • Free-Form Vacations: Includes flights and hotels, but you choose the rest
  • Cruises: Discounts on luxury cruise vacations
  • All-Inclusive Resorts: Discounts on luxury resorts

Again, be sure to read the fine print for details on additional fees, cancellation policies, and what you need to do at check-in.

Local Deals

While Groupon offers great deals on luxuries like vacations and spa treatments, it can also help you save money on everyday necessities like an oil change, tire rotation, or gym membership.

The “Personal Services” subcategory includes deals for online courses, electronic repairs, and fitness classes at up to 89% off regular price. It’s common to find a $200 online course on sale for $5 or $10.

Goods

Groupon also works as a discount shopping app with categories for home and auto, kids, electronics, grocery and household, health, fashion, pets, and more. Try sorting by price range, category, shipping options, and customer ratings. This way, Groupon lists the items according to your preferences.

If you’re not happy after your buy, most Groupon Goods are returnable within 30 days. Exchanging your item for a new one is usually another option.

Groupon Coupons

Groupon is one of the best coupon websites online today. Instead of shopping on multiple discount sites, Groupon brings vendors together into one place. Search for deals at places like Nike, Sprint, Under Armour, Walmart, Amazon, and StubHub.

Groupon Coupons

Coupons can vary according to the type. Read the fine print to see if it’s a printable voucher, promo code, or digital coupon, and be mindful of the expiration date.

Groupon+ Cash Back Deals

Groupon also functions as a cash back app. As a user, you can earn cash back by linking a credit card to your Groupon account. Choose your deal through the website or Groupon app, make your purchase, and you’ll automatically receive cash back on your credit card statement. There’s nothing to print or turn in.

Rates vary depending on the specific deal and retailer. You can find all the details in the fine print section for each offer.

Groupon Bucks

If extensive discounts, coupons, and cash back aren’t enough, Groupon Bucks lets you earn credits toward future buys. These apply automatically on valid purchases and will work on the main website and through the mobile app.

A few exclusions on what you can’t use Groupon Bucks for are:

  • Groupon gift cards
  • Market Rate getaway reservations
  • A few of the Marketplace offers
  • Anywhere else it’s excluded in the Fine Print

Groupon Review FAQs

Now that you know how Groupon works, let’s review some of the common questions and misconceptions about the platform.

Are Groupon Deals Cheaper than Buying Directly from Businesses?

Shopping with Groupon only makes sense if it saves you money. Businesses offer discounts on Groupon in order to gain exposure to a larger audience and customer base. Most often, the deals are cheaper than buying from the business itself.

Keep in mind that businesses can change prices or offer another discount after advertising on Groupon, so what’s a good deal now might not be as great of a deal if prices change in the future.

Who Sells on Groupon?

Groupon features deals from major brands and local businesses in the following categories:

  • Food and drink
  • Health and wellness
  • Beauty and spa
  • Culture, activities, and events
  • Home, auto, and local services
  • Hotels and travel
  • Goods and retail

Does Groupon Refund Purchases?

This is one area where it pays to read the fine print.

The refund policy varies by each deal category. Self-canceling an order is sometimes possible if you do it within a day or before the order processes. Other goods may offer refunds for up to 30 days post-purchase.

What Happens if My Groupon Expires?

Watching expiration dates is key to get your money’s worth. If yours expires before you use it, you still have options. According to Groupon, your voucher is still worth the amount you have into it. Cashing it in with the merchant will put the amount toward the original goods or services you were buying.

Does Groupon Have a Refer-a-Friend Program?

Yes, Groupon offers a reward for referring new members. Each time a friend signs up for Groupon using your custom link, you earn $10 in Groupon Bucks.

Groupon Review Summary

With Groupon, there’s no need to clip coupons or spend hours browsing for deals online and trying every coupon code to find one that works.

Groupon is a one-stop destination for saving money on almost anything. Each voucher explains how to redeem the deals in a few simple steps. As long as you follow the instructions and read the fine print, you’ll save money with every buy.

 

Author

Amy is a freelance writer with bachelor degrees in business administration and legal studies. She has a passion for personal finance and is on a mission to help everyday families develop better money habits and escape the burden of debt. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, Money Tips, and various other personal finance publications. Amy makes her home in Michigan where she serves as a Girl Scout leader and teaches work-force development training to low-skilled workers in her community. When she’s not writing about money or perfecting her budgeting spreadsheet, Amy enjoys playing board games with her family and watching Marvel movies.

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