How to Take Advantage of Groupon & Living Social

Social buying sites are great. Who doesn’t love getting a $90 massage for just $45? What about dinner at your favorite restaurant for half price? It’s a win win for everyone involved (well, maybe not the spa or the restaurant). The two big juggernauts in the room are Groupon and Livingsocial and they’ve become huge businesses by selling these vouchers socially.

Both have referral programs where you can get money or free vouchers for referring your friends. The key is to do it smartly, no one likes a friend who constantly peppers them with referral requests, right? Here’s how to take advantage of these referral programs.

Don’t Be Annoying

You only earn the referral money once. After they sign up and buy their first deal, you can’t get another $10 from Groupon or Living Social. If you’ve asked them once, don’t bother asking them again. You don’t know who signed up and you risk coming off as annoying!

Search Secondary Voucher Sites

There are plenty of sites where you can resell your voucher, in case you don’t want to use it or change your mind, so why not start there in your search for a voucher? You can often get an even bigger discount or get access to a hot deal that you missed before.

Check Restaurant.com

A lot of restaurants use these sites as a marketing tool and if you see a restaurant on Groupon, chances are you’ll see them on Restaurant.com too. Check for Restaurant.com coupons because you will almost always see some deal where you get a $25 gift certificate for less than $5.

Groupon and Living Social are great businesses that help many people save money, but you can do even better!

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Rapid Rise in Coupon and Promotion Code Site Popularity

It seems like just a few short years ago that sites like Fatwallet.com, techbargains, and slickdeals were the places to go if you wanted to find the latest in hot deals. There weren’t too many sites focused on saving money by way of coupons and promotion codes, they were all focused on sales and lowering costs through rebates and other means. Then, almost overnight, the number of coupon and promotion code sites simply exploded.

The most recognizable of the bunch is probably RetailMeNot with it’s friendly search system and community vetting system. Visitors to RetailMeNot can tell the system whether or not a code was valid, thus letting the community police and cure the codes located on the site. On the other side of the spectrum you have manually updated sites like Bargain Briana and Promo Code Center with their more colloquial feel. They’re just as valuable, almost more personalized, without the heavy in your face commercialism found on other sites.

Part of the reason for coupon site’s popularity has to do with the economy. With unemployment hovering around 10% and millions out of work, everyone is looking to save a few more dollars on the purchases they already make. If they have a lot of time to search the web to save those dollars, they will. It doesn’t take a rock scientist to type “[brand name] promo code” or “[brand name] coupons” to find valuable money saving coupons floating out there.

If you do a search for “best buy coupons,” Google returns “about ” 46,900,000 results. One of those results is going to save you money on your next Best Buy purchase. Need a coupon code for Restaurant.com? 12.6 million websites are happy to oblige. As the number of merchants go online and start offering promotions, coupons, and sales, the number of coupon sites will only increase in number.

If you’re one of the many struggling Americans looking to save some money, start scouring those coupon and code websites because you will certainly be able to find something there you can use.

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Why Buying Online is Better

Saving money on purchases is something we all want to do, but how many of us achieve it effortlessly? Most of us! Anytime you buy something online, whether it’s a t-shirt or a new washing machine, you’re most likely saving serious cash. Not only that, you’re doing so with significantly less effort than you’d be using running around town chasing down the best deal. These days you can find virtually anything available for purchase online. Specifications, photographic detail, and user reviews are almost always available for you to immediately analyze and utilize in deciding what the best purchase is. Not only that, the following makes online shopping ideal in almost any buying situation:

Coupon Codes

Traditional coupons are often geographically limited, easy to lose, and a hassle to find in the first place. There’s always the lingering suspicion that it won’t be validated. Digital deal vouchers are easier to keep track of, because there’s nothing like the browser bookmark in keeping track of promotional URLs. Entering coupon codes is a matter of copying and pasting. The ease is just the beginning. Manufacturers want to give consumers incentives to shop online, because online shopping allows them to keep their logistics centralized.

Free Shipping

Due to the aforementioned savings that manufacturers can achieve with online sales, oftentimes shipping can be completely free. This is further incentive from manufacturers for shoppers to make their purchases online. Centralizing causes costs to be reduced to a point where they can literally pay the shipping fees for you. This erases the economic benefit of sticking to local sellers and allows you to have access to a greater variety of options without worrying about the added cost of hauling an item from a faraway buyer’s location.

No Taxes

The biggest selling point about online buying is that so long as you make an online purchase where the seller is out of your state, you avoid paying state sales tax. This can mean big savings when you’re thinking about buying an appliance or expensive electronic. Even low-priced purchases are better online because the reduced tax burden on the cost of the item means that money can go toward the shipping costs that come with smaller buys.

Tell me the last time you walked into a department store and had access to dozens of peer opinions on the different brands to choose from. If you can’t do that tell me the last time you browsed your buying options online and had to rely solely on the advice of a single salesman. If you can’t, then definitely consider sticking to the web when doing your shopping.

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Can An Entertainment Coupon Book Really Save You Money

Save on all the things you love to do!  With the cost of living rising and shows like TLC’s Extreme Couponing becoming the next biggest reality TV show, many Americans are starting to consider doing a little couponing of their own. We could all stand to save a few dollars here and there, and clipping coupons out of the Sunday paper can help you do that. However, Sunday paper coupons usually don’t apply to family entertainment.

As a society, we love to spend time at local restaurants and entertainment spots with family and friends. Unfortunately, this isn’t always cheap. To combat the high prices of dining out and trips to the movie theatre or local putt-putt course, many families choose to purchase Entertainment Coupon Books.

If you have kids or nieces and nephews, you have most likely seen one of these books. Students usually sell them as part of a school fundraiser, and for an easy $20 you can purchase a book loaded with coupons for everything from a free coffee with your bagel purchase to two-for-one museum passes. But the real question is are these coupon books really worth their cost?

It could be and it couldn’t. This may not be the definitive answer that you want, but the value of the book really depends on the type of spender you naturally are. If the coupons will already fit into the way you regularly spend, then it is a good deal.

Let’s say that every Friday you go to your local driving range and then out to a favorite restaurant with a few buddies. Your Entertainment Book has great coupons for both of these establishments and allows you to get two bucked of balls for the price of one, therefore extending your entertainment time, and allows you to get a free appetizer with your meal. You normally purchase an appetizer so using the coupon allows you to save an extra $6.00 to $8.00. If you are this type of person, then an Entertainment Book is a good purchase.

However, if you are someone that buys a new dress simply because it is 20 percent off even though you didn’t even have the budget for the discounted price, then an Entertainment Book is not for you. Some people are prompted to spend more than they normally would simply because something seems to be a bargain or a deal. Sure, getting two meals for the price of one is a great deal, but spending money on one meal which you never had money for in the first place is a bad idea.

Entertainment Books really do have a great variety of coupons to all sorts of local and franchised or corporate restaurants and entertainment spots. They can easily save larger families who go out often $15 to $20 on each family night out. However, before you purchase one, actually consider the type of spender you are. If you purge your bank accounts simply because your favorite store was having a sale, avoid repeated buyer’s remorse and don’t buy a book. If you are in charge of your spending habits or just want a reason to donate to your local school, then be sure to purchase an Entertainment book as not only do they support a good cause, but they also save you money.

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Avoid Overspending with Promotion Codes

It seems that storefront shopping is a thing of the past and the Internet is quickly becoming the largest resource for purchases. Saving money is essential to many households and most people are already familiar with the old paper coupon way of shopping but that’s quickly becoming a thing of the past. Less than half of American households actually use coupons. The savings are worthwhile and people may not realize it but you can do the same thing when shopping on the Internet. Very few consumers utilize the saving power of online coupon codes but the should if they want to save on spending.

What Are Coupon Codes:
Many people don’t use these because they don’t know how to find them or that they even exist. Coupon codes, or promotional codes as they’re also known, are numbers that are entered into a specific box on most retailers web sites. These codes have certain offers or great deals. It’s just like a paper coupons but it’s all-digital. You can get anything from free shipping to half off your purchase. Retailers still use these because it generates business and there are tons of promo codes just sitting online and going to waste. Why would anyone pay more when they don’t have to?

Doing A Search:
When you start looking for codes it’s good to know that the best codes can be found through most search engines. Just type in the name of the company or product and then type “coupon” behind the word. You’re likely to get overwhelmed with the number of results. Not every site is legitimate. Many have bad links or don’t actually offer any codes. You just have to find the right ones. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want, you can just search for “coupon codes” and you’ll be given a comprehensive list of coupon sites that offer savings on a wide verity of goods and services.

When to Use Them:
When you’re using these codes, just shop like you normally would with the specified merchant. Usually, before you check out, you’ll be prompted or there’ll be a box that says “coupon codes”. This will then be applied to the items in your cart. Before you check out you should see if the code was applied correctly. Just make sure that the code isn’t expired or else it’s a waste of time and money.

This is just a way to maximize your buying power and stretching a dollar a little further, especially at a time when we could all use a little extra money. Just do some online research to find the best code sites before you make your next purchase online. It’s quick and easy and the savings and benefits are definitely worth it.

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Beware of Work At Home Scams

“Working at home” can often equate to “money saved” in our thinking process. Besides the freedoms of making your own schedule and adhering to minimal authority, you don’t have to commute, expand your wardrobe to accommodate work attire, or worry about being forced to eat expensive fast food to get back to work on time. But those who seek at-home moneymaking options must be aware of the dividing line between a home “business” and a home “job”. More importantly they must understand that buying into one is an investment and into the other is a scam.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent study on the subject, roughly 80% of Americans working at home do so through use of the personal computer. If you’ve contemplated work from home offers you’ve seen advertised, undoubtedly they’re tasks that must be performed on a computer – whether it be sales or service. This can easily make any work-at-home offering appear to be a lossless venture, because how can you lose money working at home through immaterial means? This deduction isn’t exactly false, but it highlights the scam-revealing factor in any company advertising a way for you to work from home: if you are asked to buy into it to perform the job, it almost certainly is fraudulent.

The reasoning is simple: if you were hired at an office, would they make you buy your own desk and supplies? No, more often than not they’re confident enough in their own venture as well as your skill to invest money in these things for you. In the days before the Internet, any job offering that demanded employees pay out of pocket for the suitcase to haul the demo product door-to-door would most definitely be identified by the savvier of aspiring salesman to be a scam. The jobs offered online are no different.

But this also demonstrates the difference between an at-home job and an at-home business. Expect to put some money into a home business. But the difference is you typically aren’t utilizing some other company’s software or the privilege of using their brand when starting a home business. Online franchise options are limited, and typically if you’re starting an at-home business you’re doing so independently and the threats of a scam are limited to those whose services you seek for yourself. When a company offers you the chance to start your own business with pricy buy-ins or a franchise deal, exercise due diligence and make sure the company is reputable and honest.

Research is paramount in any situation when you’re considering working at home with the help of outsiders online. Scour their website for clues. Often the most glaring indicator is if the service feels compelled to defend itself against the idea it’s too good to be true. You have to realize these people might be crooks but they aren’t stupid. They know you’re going to be skeptical and preempt against your pessimism with assurance. This can appear not just on their website but other places as well. The common tactic these days is to pay a company to write a false interview, wherein often the “interviewer” asks for evidence what the company offers isn’t too good to be true, and the “owner” gives poignant proof why it most certainly is not fraudulent in its promises. If you come across something like this, it is almost certainly a scam.

Working from home ideally should save you money. That is why it is important to avoid most moneymaking methods if they require that you pay something in return for the “opportunity”. You don’t want to end up in the red when trying to find a work-from-home solution that succeeds. Before you start working from home, first work hard to make sure what you’re getting yourself into is legitimate.

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Coinstar iTunes Promotion

CoinstarCoinstar is running a promotion where you will get an extra $10 promotion code from iTunes when you exchange $40 in coins for a $40 iTunes gift card. Coinstar is a change counting machine that will turn coins into bills (for a fee) or gift cards (free). If you turn that change into an iTunes gift card, you can get a $10 bonus.

Find your local Coinstar here and then enter it here to get the $10 iTunes Bonus.

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TGIFridays $25 Off Coupon

It’s Friday, so why not celebrate with a little TGIFridays? They have this 25% off coupon for your entire table, expires March 21st, 2011. There are a few restrictions like it’s not valid on 3 Course Meals, the $7.99 or $9.99 Petite Sirloin or the Half Rack of Ribs offer… but you can read that on your own.

Here’s their store locator.

Happy Friday!

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ING Direct New Account Referral Promotion Codes

ING DirectING Direct is one of my favorite online banks because they make everything so easy to do. Their online interface is fantastic and you can do basically anything you could possibly want through their website. It takes just a few minutes to open one of their online savings accounts and they give you $25 as a bonus if you can deposit $250 and keep it through. All you need is an ING Direct referral from an existing customer. Once you have an account, you can refer your friends and earn $10 each, for up to 50 people. That’s an extra $500 in your pocket!

Once you get their Orange Savings account, you can open up an ING Direct Electric Orange Checking account and get $50 bonus. Their Electric Orange Checking account has no overdraft charges, no ATM surcharges, and no monthly fees. Just open an account and make 3 debit card purchases (or Person2Person payments) within 45 days and you’ll get $50 on day 50. It’s just that easy with no funny games. While you’re doing that, your balances under $50,000 will earn 0.25% APY (as of February 24th, 2011).

ING Direct may not have the tip top interest rates but their various bonuses and promotions make up for the difference. Plus it’s a great bank.

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Free Redbox Promotion Codes

Redbox is a fantastic service that lets you rent movies for a dollar a day (plus tax). You can find kiosks in many grocery stores and at McDonald’s around the country, making it a very convenient way to find movies. You can borrow from one kiosk and return the disc to another, which adds to the convenience. I’ve personally rented movies from Redbox at least a dozen times, many times with a promotional code that gives me one free night. Just this week they ran a promotion with a free movie for Valentines Day, a nice little gesture to its customers.

With these promotion codes, you can usually use them once per credit card. You have to enter a credit card in case you don’t return the movie in time.

Here are the currently active codes:

  • DVDONME
  • DVDATMAC – only at McDonalds
  • DVDATWAG – Walgreens only
  • DVDKROG – Kroger stores only
  • BREAKROOM
  • 2MEJ5ER

If you know of any Redbox codes that I haven’t listed here, please share them in the comments!

Enjoy!

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