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Why ‘Double Dipping’ Is Great for Your Savings Comments

  • By Charles Passy, MarketWatch
  • July 07, 2014

saving strategies

George Costanza has nothing on me. Sure, the hapless “Seinfeld” character (played by Jason Alexander) may have gained a measure of fame — or infamy, depending on how you view it — for his “ double dipping.” But I’m a quadruple-down kinda guy myself.

Costanza was literally diving his hand into the bowl of sour cream and onion. In my case, the dipping is metaphorical — as in combining two, three and, yes, four ways to save on a single purchase. Other cheapskates refer to this coupon-clipping methodology as deal “stacking.” But whatever you call it, it’s how I brought down the cost of a planned summer fishing expedition from $140 to $51.94 — a savings of 63 percent.

In a sense, there’s nothing new to double-dipping. It’s as old as the heyday of supermarket double-coupon promotions some three decades ago. Ironically, those promotions have been disappearing of late — some shopping experts say the advent of “extreme couponing” has prompted retailers to guard their bottom line and limit the savings. But I would argue that it’s never been easier to double (or quadruple) down. Thanks to the Internet, the deals — and deal-stacking strategies — are always just a couple of clicks away.

How easy is it to do? Let me walk you through my fishing trip purchase…

First dip: Going to Groupon ($70 savings). These days, whenever I’m looking to eat out or take in a show or sporting event, I almost always check out Groupon to see if there’s anything that matches my mood or pleasure. (Of course, I’m not alone: Groupon is now a $5.8 billion company — and a growing one, too, with sales increasing 7 percent in 2013.) In this case, the daily deal site was offering an afternoon trip for four aboard a New York fishing party boat at 50 percent off the list price of $140.

Second dip: Taking advantage of a Groupon promo ($14 savings). Going to Groupon is a guaranteed way to save unto itself, but Groupon offers a fair number of ways to boost the savings, from promo codes to mobile-only deals. (Heck, you can get $10 off just for signing up right now — at least in New York City.) So, when I made my fishing trip purchase, I was able to take advantage of a promo for 20 percent off any local event or activity. Groupon spokesman Nicholas Halliwell says the company is “always looking to help our customers save money,” but he notes that the extra-savings deals are always changing — another recent one was 20 percent off any home services — so consumers need to stay on top of the site. (And for the mobile-only deals, you’ll need to download the Groupon mobile app, he notes.) You can also find news of Groupon promos through such savings sites as DealCatcher and RetailMeNot.

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