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Day 84: Groupon and Swarmjam... deal or no deal?

So, I guess Groupon has become pretty well-known, especially after their disastrous Super Bowl ads. I haven't actually purchased anything from them, but I keep an eye out for something that may catch my eye. The closest I got was in January, when I nearly bought discounted day passes for the gym I wound up getting a memberhsip at... but oh well.

Just to keep this straight in my own mind, Groupon is a company that local businesses can make a deal with where they offer a small number of discounted coupons which people can purchase from Groupon itself. And I will assume Groupon makes its money by taking a cut of the sales? This works to encourage people to try stores and salons and things they might not regularly (hence increasing the customers going to these smaller businesses) and it makes people happy (by getting them cheaper stuff).

But, much like the coupons that appear in the weekly flyers I put directly into recycling, is it saving money if you buy something you wouldn't regularly? Like, I get it that if you're going to buy toothpaste anyway and you see a toothpaste coupon, then you save money. But if you never usually buy a certian brand of something, then buy it with a coupon... have you saved money, or just spent more than you would he ordinarily?

Swarm Jam (which was suggested by reader CC), seems even more confusing to me. You have to accumulate points (Groupon has some sort of points system in place as well, I think) and then you use those points to bid on coupons (of which there are a limited amount, and which are for different stores every day).

Is it just me, or does all of this coupon-ing seem like a lot of time-consuming work? Though it pays off. TLC has a show all about people who live entirely off of coupons, I guess. I don't know. Coupons = frugal, if it's for something you would have bought anyway.

For April, I will challenge myself to use a coupon. I can't remember the last time I ever used one (if ever?)


Anonymous said...

Let me clarify SwarmJam a bit: You get a daily deal in your inbox for SwarmJam. You have to pay for the things you want with a credit card (I've purchased 1/2 price vouchers for both the Awl Shoppe and Paddock Wood Beer). You also accumulate points every time you purchase something from them, which you can then use in an online auction to get free gift certificates to places like Best Buy or Starbucks. I hardly have any points - I think you'd have to buy an awful amount of stuff to get enough to actually get freebies, but I still appreciate the half price vouchers...CC

Foster said...

Oh, OK. That seems a lot more straightforward. The first email I got from them was like "bid using your points!" and I got totally confused. But if it's just like a Groupon thing, that makes more sense. Thanks!

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