Combine the idea of coupon savings and group buying power and you have the latest greatest way to save money on goods and services you would probably buy anyway. In Portland, we are lucky to have four companies that offer group coupon discounts. There’s no cost or obligation to sign up for any of them.
Groupon is the granddaddy of group saving programs. At just two years old, the Wall Street Journal has called it the fasted growing company ever. To start saving money with Groupon, you simply need to sign up for their daily email notices.
Each morning you’ll receive and email, describing the day’s deal. In order for the deal to go into effect, a certain number of people need to buy it. You’ll usually have 24 hours to purchase. Sample offers include local and national coupons like restaurants, clothing at The Gap, teeth cleaning and automotive repair.
With Groupon’s huge success, it’s no wonder other companies have copied the model.
LivingSocial operates much the same way as Groupon. Each morning, you’ll receive an email with that day’s deal and you’ll usually have 24 hours to purchase. With LivingSocial, you have the option of telling friends about the deal you just bought. If three of them also purchase, your deal is free. Sample offers include yoga classes, Moonstruck Chocolate, sushi and wine tastings.
Yollar. The newest kid on the block, Yollar works much the same way as Groupon and LivingSocial. Yollar is associated with KGW TV and recent deals include restaurants, a small boutique on Fremont and a session with a personal training coach.
Tozmoz is a locally owned company that offers savings of 50% or more on things like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, salon services, snow board lessons, running shoes and more. Like the other programs, you sign up to receive a daily email and you will have a certain amount of time to buy that day’s deal.
Save even more money. With some of the programs you earn credit when friends also sign up for the deal.
Warning: Don’t get over zealous. Unlike coupons that you clip, with group coupons, you must pay for the discount in advance, so don’t buy more than you know you’ll use. Pay close attention to expiration dates and terms of service.
Pay close attention to expiration dates and the rules of the deal. Some are not eligible for Happy Hour or drinks. Others are.
Tip: Both Groupon and Living Social have mobile phone apps. Download them for free and you’ll have access to your coupons on the go, without having to print them out.
Remember tipping should always be on the pre-discount price.