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The Simple Dollar

Does Groupon beat frugality?

It doesn't matter how good a deal is, you're still spending money

(Page 2 of 2)



“Well, I Wait for the Good Deals!”
I’ve been a subscriber to two different Groupon areas for the last six months and I’ve yet to see a single offer that actually matched something I needed.

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On the other hand, I saw a lot of offers for things I wanted: reduced (but still high) prices on meals and massages and amusement park passes and the like.

Here’s the thing, though. None of these wants were really strong wants. They were things that I might do on a whim with friends, but they aren’t things that I’m planning for in my budget. Often, they aren’t even excellent examples of that type of experience – the restaurants have been a decided mixed bag, for example.

It could be that others have a completely different set of desires than I do and Groupon regularly hits upon experiences that they deeply want to have. For me, they’re just idle temptations, the kind that would easily drain my wallet without thinking about it.

I’d far rather go out once a month for a truly memorable experience than go out once or twice a week for a blah experience – and that memorable experience will (a) still cost less than several average experiences and (b) will never appear as a Groupon temptation.

Why Frugality Wins
The basic idea of frugality is that you’re trying to find the maximum value in the experiences you have in life. It means spending money when it’s something you truly want, but it also means understanding what you truly want and separating that from the idle day-to-day desires we all have.

Simply finding a discount on an experience that you didn’t really want before you heard about that discount is far from finding the maximum value in life. Groupon and Living Social and such services provide a never-ending line of those kinds of minor temptations, and those kinds of temptations are never a bargain at any price.

I’d far rather pay full price on a single experience or purchase that was really important to me than saving $20 on two different purchases that I didn’t really care about all that much. That important purchase was something that I thought about a great deal, enjoyed the anticipation for, and was quite sure that I would really enjoy when the time came. The other was just an email in my inbox alerting me to yet another thing that I might find a bit interesting but didn’t really need.

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