The 411 on Social Coupons
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The 411 on Social Coupons

Posted on Friday, December 9th, 2011 at 12:32 pm
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Social coupons are different than the coupons you would find in your Sunday newspaper or on your favorite online coupon website.  Consumers who use social coupons can often find some great deals.  It is debatable whether or not retailers and restaurants also gain from their participation with a social coupon site.  If you have never heard of a social coupon, then you should read over this quick explanation about what they are.

Typically, a coupon is something that you clip, or print out, and then take with you to the store.  The coupon will say exactly what product it can be used on, how much of a discount it will give you, and when the coupon will expire.  In general, anyone who finds a coupon can use it to save some money at the grocery store, or at a department store like Walmart or Target.

Social coupons are different.  You won’t find them in your Sunday newspaper, or on your favorite coupon website.  People have to sign up with a particular social coupon website before they can access the deals that are offered through it.  Signing up is free.

Social coupon websites want you to select a city or town that is closest to where you live, so that it can show you offers that are in your area.  Not every social coupon website will be connected to where you live, unless you happen to reside in a major city in the United States.

You may have heard of some of the more popular social coupon websites.  Groupon and LivingSocial might be the most popular ones.  Others include SocialBuy, Tippr, PeopleDeals, and EverSave.  Google just got into the game with their GoogleOffers, which is currently in beta.

So, first, you pick one of these websites, and register.  Next, you select a city or town from a drop-down box that is either the town you live in, or one that is close by.  Now, you will be able to see what the website is offering.  Usually, there will be one deal offered every day, but some of these sites will place a shorter time limit on a particular deal.

You could find a coupon that will save you 50% off dinner at a local restaurant.  There might be a coupon for a discount at a local spa, or a local attraction (such as a zoo).  If you find an offer you like, then you will need to buy it.  The amount you are spending depends on the specific deal.  You need to think about if it is worth it to spend that amount of money in order to receive the discount that goes with it.

In general, once you buy a social coupon, you will get an email that contains a voucher.  Print it out, and take it with you to the restaurant, store, or other venue that the social coupon is for.  Make sure you use it before the expiration date, (which could be anywhere between one and three months from the time you bought the social coupon).  The restaurant or store will honor the deal that is printed on your social coupon.

Ideally, local businesses can connect with a social coupon website in order to catch the attention of new customers.  For example, a restaurant could offer a social coupon for 50% off of a dinner for two.  The restaurant isn’t going to make very much money when someone uses the social coupon.  But, maybe that person will really like the restaurant, and will become a repeat customer, (who will pay full price next time, and every visit thereafter).  Things don’t always work out that way, though.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.