What a Deal: Groupon for Essentials

It’s easy to dismiss Groupon as a service aimed at getting you to waste your hard-earned cash on frivolous splurges and bargains of questionable value. After all, some of the most popular Groupon deals are for things like buy-one-get-one-free restaurant meals, spa treatments, and vacation bundles. In other words, stuff you don’t need.

An article in The Atlantic echoed this sentiment by highlighting the most popular Groupon ever — $25 for a $50 coupon to spend at Nordstrom Rack. Yes, a $50 coupon for half-price, and more than 600,000 people bought it. Deals like that make you wonder whether every Groupon is simply a veiled attempt to get you to part with your money.

But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that Groupon discounts can actually help you save on stuff you need, too.

How to Use Groupon for Essentials

A growing wave of savvy shoppers are turning to Groupon for savings on everyday items and pricey necessities. No, it isn’t quite as sexy as using Groupon for a six-day trip to Mexico, but it might be a smarter use of your funds.

Here are some of the ways you can use Groupon to save on things you were going to buy anyway:

  • Dental visits: New dentists sometimes package their services via Groupon in an effort to get new customers — and often with discounts as steep as 80% off the regular price of an exam and cleaning. If you don’t have dental insurance or simply want to try a new office, buying a dental Groupon is a great way to get your annual visit in for less than $50.
  • Eye exams and glasses: Before you shop around at brick-and-mortar stores, check out Groupon for deals. Chances are, you can get a free eye exam and a discount on your prescription in one fell swoop.
  • Chiropractic exams and treatments: For one low price, you can usually get an initial exam, X-rays, and a consultation via a Groupon deal. Even better, you get to try out a chiropractor in your area without a huge financial commitment.
  • Auto care: This is definitely a need, not a want. And between oil changes, tire rotations, and tune-ups, it can get downright expensive. The next time you need preventive or routine maintenance for your vehicle, check Groupon in your area for deals. You will likely find discounts on everything from oil changes to auto detailing, and often at local auto shops you would consider using anyway.
  • Personal care: If you require some upkeep, Groupon can be a great place for savings on personal care. For example, you can often find deals for up to 80% off a haircut, highlight, or style. Other Groupons can include discounts on laser skin treatments, Botox, Lasik eye surgery, and more. If you use any of these services on a regular basis, or have been saving up to treat yourself, you could save a ton with a few personal care packages through Groupon.
  • Gym memberships: Ready to create a New Year’s resolution you can actually stick to? If one of your goals is to get in shape or lose weight, a gym membership could help. Groupon is a great source for discounts on gym memberships all over the country. If you’re going to join anyway, you might as well save some money in the process.
  • Marriage and crisis counseling: All of the hoopla aside, Groupon has a serious side, too. In addition to discounts on fun events and treatments, you can also use the site for deals on marriage counseling, crisis counseling, and substance abuse support. Groupons for nutritional counseling are also commonplace, as are discounts on personal and fitness training. If you’re looking for one-on-one help with any aspect of your life, chances are Groupon can help.

Using Daily Deal Sites to Your Advantage

If you want to get the most out of Groupon without all the waste, ask yourself a few questions before hitting that “buy” button. For example, “Do I really need this?” is a good one, in addition to, “Would I be buying this if it weren’t on sale?”

Daily deal sites like Groupon can be a treasure trove for savings on all sorts of items and services, but only if you’re able to distinguish the real opportunities to save from the obvious attempts to get you to spend moreThe best way to use Groupon to your advantage is to know the difference.

Do you ever use Groupon to pay for necessities? How much have you saved?

Holly Johnson

Contributing Writer

Holly Johnson is a frugality expert and award-winning writer who is obsessed with personal finance and getting the most out of life. A lifelong resident of Indiana, she enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling the world with her husband and two children. In addition to The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for well-known publications such as U.S. News & World Report Travel, PolicyGenius, Travel Pulse, and Frugal Travel Guy. Holly also owns Club Thrifty.