A Few New Words To Live By

I’m such a groupon.

I also ideeli, and sometimes look for gilt- or ruelala-worthy fashions.

To my delight, these seemingly nonsensical words have now taken the place of “cheap” and “frugal” in my vocabulary, which helps people like me–creative types with limited funds–take a vacation from the stress of budgeting, and instead, have some fun in the NYC area.

I never thought I’d see the day, but the coupon has become a calling card of chic. Thanks to social media and community sites like Groupon.com which offers deals to restaurants, retailers, and entertainment in cities from NYC to Los Angeles, and ideeli.com, gilt.com, and ruelala.com where you can spruce up your apartment or yourself with lush finds on the cheap, nowadays, finding an amazing deal online is now Facebook status and Twitter feed worthy.

Growing up, coupons were anything but sexy. Little white envelopes stuffed with coupons was a signal to me that the next shopping trip at the Shoprite would mean less Dunakaroos and Fruit-by-the-Foots for my sister and I.

Coupons were also those “Entertainment Cards” that we begged friends and neighbors to buy to raise money for various student councils, in which my dad gave me money for the book, but refused to place the cardboard card next to his credit card when we were out to dinner.

Coupons were also the embodiment of a family friend, known for her religious coupon clipping ways. She also wore Disney tee shirts and accessories decorated with cats.

I vowed never to be a coupon clipper. Even after moving out on a paycheck full of Monopoly money, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I preferred to eat less than scope out grocery deals in the weekly mailer.

But a few weeks ago, my friend sent me a link to Groupon for a hip-hop dance class, with its price slashed in half. It took my breath away. Not only that, but then the next day, it offered a half off drink deal at my favorite bar in NYC. Dance parties and booze half off? No coupon has ever understood me like that.

The thing is, although I’m very proud that I’ve been able to live independently and sample just enough of the city life that I don’t go crazy, my budget just doesn’t allow for some things like dance and yoga classes that run about $20 a pop.

I clicked on the “buy” button immediately, and soon enough, my friend and I were hip hopping it out to Ke$ha, which sounded even sweeter (at least to us) when a set of four classes was only $32.

It’s total peer pressure. By taking coupons online and setting them in an online community setting, being cheap has become attractive, and a thing of power. When my deal feeds pop up in the morning, tailored to my interests, it doesn’t feel like a coupon, but rather, an invitation. It even has my name on it. That’s alluring.

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