1. Wait a week. You’re excited about the Groupon you just bought, but everyone wins if you hold off on redeeming it. “In giving the business a week or so just to get their books in order if it’s a reservation- or appointment-based business, they can use the time to call everyone back and schedule their appointments and kinda get their ducks in a row,” spokesperson Julie Mossler says. Plus, you’ll get better service because the business won’t be as slammed. Also, try not to wait until the week before the Groupon expires, when everyone and their deal-loving dog is trying to get in.
2. Tip on the full amount. Servers do the same amount of work regardless of your discount, Mossler says, so it makes sense to tip on the full bill before your Groupon is applied.
3. Go back. If you liked your experience at the restaurant, spa, driving range, whatever, reward that business with your loyalty. “We know that far and away the reason why merchants are doing Groupon is because they hope to gain quality repeat traffic,” Mossler says.
4. Don’t be a diva. Mossler notes there isn’t much fine print associated with Groupons. You have to use it by a certain date. You have to bring your Groupon with you to redeem it (on paper or your smartphone). That’s about it. So don’t expect the business to bend the rules for you by, say, demanding to get the discount even if you forgot your print-out. “If you had a gift card, you couldn’t just show up at Macy’s and say, ‘I have a gift card at home in my wallet,’” Mossler says. “This really isn’t any different.”
5. Buy more than the Groupon amount. This tip comes not from Mossler but from stories we’ve heard about people putting back items at a certain deli to make sure they don’t spend more than the Groupon value. C’mon, people: You’re getting a great deal already—no need to be a cheapass.