Half-price penguin encounter, 69% off rock-climbing lessons, $30 hour Swedish massage, 2-for-1 Rodizio Brazilian Grill… These are only a few of many deals collecting dust in my Groupon account. I'll admit, I used to be a bit of a Groupon addict. Actually, the word addict is an understatement. I've spent hundreds of dollars on these smokin' deals and coupons. But, the truth is, its one year later and I never saw any penguins, learned how to climb rocks, relaxed through a Swedish massage, or gorged on Brazilian grilled meats. The truth is, 90% of the Groupons I buy, I don't really need or ever use.
I Don't Even Like Penguins
We've all experienced that phenomenon that occurs when you are watching TV, feeling perfectly satisfied, until you see a Dairy Queen commercial advertising a rich, creamy chocolate shake and then all of a sudden you have to jump in the car and drive to the nearest Dairy Queen or you might die. That is the magic of advertising. This same concept applies to Groupons. I don't even like penguins and have never had any desire to hang out with them. But for some reason when the half-price penguin encounter showed up in my inbox, it was such a good deal that I convinced myself I needed it. Seeing good deals advertised ever day made me buy things I didn't even want or need. Sadly, this explains most of my Groupon purchases.
My friends and I planned a white water rafting trip, using one of Groupon's deals. We failed to read the fine print and when we called the company to book our trip, we were disappointed to learn that only one person in the party could use the coupon, leaving the other five to pay full price. We emailed Groupon with our concerns and they promptly replied with a friendly message and refunded our money. Don't get me wrong, we were highly impressed with how Groupon resolved the issues. However, businesses often put limitations and restrictions on the deals making it hard for you to get what you actually want and if you aren't careful about reading the fine print you'll be disappointed.
Groupons have an expiration date. Trust me, I wanted to take rock-climbing lessons but I was so busy with work and school at the time, they were impossible to fit into my hectic life. When my busy schedule finally cleared up enough to hit the rocks, my Groupon had expired. I found myself rearranging my life to fit in a massage just because the deal was about to expire. Not to mention once you purchase a few Groupons keeping track of all their expiration dates and knowing when to use them is an impossible task.
Maybe if I learned some self-control and didn't buy every deal Groupon sent my way, was more detail oriented and better at reading the fine print, and was willing to plan my life around Groupon expiration dates; I would continue as a loyal Groupon member. But for now, these deals go straight to my junk mail. Grouponing is just not for me.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.