My day job, blog carnivals and funny potato-chip flavors.

Now up at MSN Money is my latest column, “Useless Groupon? Cash it in.” It’s all about the secondary market for social commerce vouchers from places like Tippr, Buy With Me, Living Social and, of course, Groupon.

The advantage is twofold: You can unload deals you no longer want and, more to the point, you can look for deals you missed on the first go-round or that you didn’t know existed.

As one secondary-market host says, it’s “a catalog experience vs. an impulse buy.”

It’s not just pedicures and designer cupcakes, either. Among the items I found on a quick scan of the secondary sites:

  • An all-day pass to a paintball palace
  • $50 worth of meat, delivered, from a specialty butcher
  • A class on making herbal remedies and bath items
  • Two hours of work from a licensed and bonded landscape company
  • $40 worth of books from Simon and Schuster
  • An oil change

The prices ranged from $6 to $22.50 — and these would have made great gifts, too. Give these sites a look – preferably entering through the MSN Money article link above.


A couple of weeks ago my writing got into two PF blog carnivals:

“I have ‘frugal fatigue’ fatigue” is in the Carnival of Personal Finance, hosted by MoneySmartLife.

“Frugal sniffles” was selected for the Festival of Frugality over at Moneycrashers.

As always, I encourage you to read through the carnivals for a lot of good articles that you might not have found any other way. That’s why carnivals are so swell.


About those funny potato chips: I’m enjoying reading the flavors on packets of “crisps,” as they’re called here. Prawn cocktail. Chicken tikka. Flame-grilled steak. English breakfast fry-up. Bacon and mature cheddar. Steak and ale pie. Whole roast chicken. Would “one-quarter of a roast chicken” chips taste different, I wonder?

468 ad


  1. Dawn K.

    Thanks for pointing me to these sites…we’re on a strict budget (Dave Ramsey) and sometimes I’ve already spent my alotted money for the category it would fit.

    I will point out that I saw a deal on there being sold for more than the purchase price on the orignal deal site. While still receiving a discount, it looks like some people are trying to make a few bucks off of this service. While some deals are very rare, I do see a few repeated, especially some of the national ones. I’d just be familiar with knowing the deal sites usual offerings.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Dawn K: You’re right — there’s no rule that a deal can’t be sold for more than it originally cost. But it still might be a hot deal. For example, the two hours of landscape work might have originally been a $20 deal. But if I were in the market for that sort of thing I’d buy it for $25 because it’s still a good price.
      It’s always best to be an informed consumer.
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

  2. When I lived in England, the most exotic that crisps would get was ‘cheese and onion’. I can’t imagine what ‘English breakfast fry up’ would taste like! Or ‘chicken tikka’ for that matter. For reals?? LOL

    Hope the weather’s being kind.

  3. Vicky Fox

    Donna, I love British crisps! Have you tried Ketchup flavoured yet?

    I’m still trying to find Tikka chips in the states:) My birthday present to myself:)

    • Donna Freedman

      @Vicky Fox: Nope, I haven’t. But when I was a kid my best friend and I used to dip plain potato chips into catsup, wishing all the while that they were actually French fries.
      Oh, and the Domino’s pizza menu at the Cardiff hostel included a chicken tikka pizza.

  4. Vicky Fox

    Ok, now I’m on a mission to cook my Indian food:) I REALLY wish I werethere with you. But, you’d probably never get my away from the chip shops and curry houses:)

  5. I WANT those chips!

  6. I looked into selling an unwanted Groupon recently on one of those sites, but ended up just calling Groupon to see if I can get a refund. Their customer service is actually pretty good. The customer service rep gave me credit instead of a refund.

    I usually don’t like using Groupons because they encourage compulsive buying. Now I only look for necessities on there because of a tight discretionary budget.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Savvy Young Money: I agree that social commerce is all about the urgency, the compulsion. (Except for BuyWithMe.com, whose deals run for a week — you have time to think about it.) But I view these the way I view credit cards, i.e., as tools to get good deals. I get rewards points and frequent flier miles for using a credit card, but I buy things I was going to buy anyway (paying my phone bill, getting groceries) and I pay in full at the end of the month. Groupon et al. are the same way for me; I can get a good deal at an inexpensive restaurant because my sister and I take turns buying lunch out after church, or I can get a deeply discounted massage (and massage is something I budget for).
      If I had trouble controlling my spending, I wouldn’t use credit cards or social commerce. Those who don’t have this problem can stretch their budgets pretty nicely. As you say, you can find necessities along with the fripperies.
      Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

  7. Samantha

    Wow… I had no ideas those re-sale daily deal websites existed! Thanks so much! I’m always finding out about a great deal the week after it is sold out. Just bought a local deal at a 91% discount!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *