You’re about to learn ten ways to maximize the value of your favorite Groupon offers. This list covers it all, from Groupon Coupons to new web services that, when combined with Groupon, can help you save even more.

But before we dive into our essential list, it’s helpful to consider Groupon’s recent history and how that history affected the way the company does business.

Groupon has had a tough time on Wall Street since going public in 2011.

The service it offers can’t be readily patented, and competitors, like LivingSocial, were prone to spring up from the woodwork and eat into Groupon’s market share (to combat this, Groupon acquired Living Social in October of 2016).

Despite the company’s boardroom challenges, many customers continue to flock to Groupon in hopes of seizing deep discounts.

In early February, the company reported strong earnings for the final quarter of 2016, with exceptional growth in North America. Groupon’s much beleaguered stock (GRPN) went into rally mode, climbing by 30 percent.

No, Groupon’s not down for the count, not yet.

Still, there remains an enormous amount of pressure on Groupon to turn profits for its investors. New Groupon promotions, coupon codes, and marketing affiliates seem to be everywhere. Some of these outlets offer great value.

Others are distracting at best, and misleading at worst.

The goal of this essential Groupon tips list is to help you see through the smoke, mirrors, and other gimmicks so you can zero in on the best money-saving opportunities available.

Tip #1: Deals Aren’t Always What They Seem

Groupon is designed to make you think you’re getting the deal of a lifetime.

And sometimes you are. Sometimes, though, they’re just blowing smoke up your…chimney.

Businesses that use Groupon set the prices for their own promos. Some businesses set up a Groupon deal where it appears that Groupon coupon holders are getting a big discount, but in reality, the discount is very minimal or nonexistent.

This is usually done by inflating the “regular price” of the product or service and making sure the customer sees it—one of the oldest tricks in the savvy marketer’s playbook.

The best way to avoid getting the wrong impression about what a Groupon coupon is actually worth is to research the average price for the product or service you’re purchasing, both from the Groupon retailer and from the retailer’s competition.

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Tip #2: Groupon Promo Codes Are Everywhere

In its efforts to establish itself as an e-commerce standard-bearer, Groupon has managed to inspire a vast affiliate network.

Before you complete any purchase at Groupon, you should first scour the web for Groupon promo codes.

Affiliates such as DealCatcher, Ebates, Slickdeals and others will more times than not have Groupon promo codes at the ready to help you maximize your discounts.

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Tip #3: Make Life Easier with Coupon Browser Extensions

If you want to save money but don’t want to search for promo codes every time you check out at Groupon, then downloading a free web browser extension will make life a lot more peachy.

The Sidekick extension (Google Chrome) from Coupon Cabin is but one of several available browser plug-ins that will help you locate relevant promo codes for Groupon and other e-commerce outlets.

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Tip #4: The First Time’s a Charm

First-time shoppers at Groupon often get additional discounts (up to 25 percent) off their first Groupon purchase.

If you’re planning an outing with friends and are using a Groupon coupon to cut costs, have someone in your group set up a new account and check for deals. Groupon and various affiliate marketers, like DealCatcher, regularly offer promos for Groupon newbies.

You just need to locate the right coupon code, and enjoy the savings.

Tip #5: Look for Special “Cash Back” Offers from Credit Cards and Websites

As part of their mad-dash effort to return value to stockholders, Groupon has made several deals with credit card companies and marketing websites.

Discover Card customers have enjoyed anywhere from 5 to 15 percent off their Groupon purchases as a cash back offer. Sites like BeFrugal offer additional discounts to customers who use their portal when buying stuff from Groupon.

Finding and stacking these promos, one on top of the other—while also factoring in Groupon’s own discounts—can lead to some extraordinary savings opportunities!

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Tip #6: Take Groupon With You

Not only can you buy discounted vacation packages via Groupon Getaways, but you can also take the savings with you when you travel by downloading the Groupon mobile app.

Looking for things to do is a fairly standard part of the whole vacationing experience.

Why not employ the services of the company that was created to help you find things to do and ways to do them cheaply? It’s a vacationer’s best friend.

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Tip #7: Customize Your Alerts

Don’t be at the mercy of email alerts telling you about offers in which you have no interest.

Spend some time with your alert settings on Groupon and check out dealble.com. Dealble coordinates with Groupon and other retailers to allow customers more flexible and targeted email alerts.

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Tip #8: Integrate Groupon with Your Personal Budget

As a discount retailer, Groupon separates its offers into several different categories.

The more you shop in a given category, more offers from that category are made visible to you. This means that when you log in to your account, your experience is specific to your interests.

If you’re using personal budgeting software, like Intuit’s free cloud-based service Mint, then you are already separating your personal expenses into various categories, such as “Health and Fitness,” “Personal Care,” “Entertainment,” etc.

Look for categories where you spend the most, then search for deals that will reduce the impact of those categories on your budget. This simple “hack” means that the Groupon website becomes more personalized the more you use it.

It’ll feel effortless in no time, and you’ll wonder why you’ve suddenly got more money in your pockets.

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Tip #9: Watch for Social Media Promotions

In order to boost its presence on social media, Groupon often runs social promotions and contests.

Sure, the odds of winning aren’t always going to be in your favor, but following the company’s social media accounts and keeping alert for contests can’t hurt.

Worst case, you’ll be the first to know about new promotions. Best case, a simple retweet or a Facebook share will result in your claiming a big giveaway.

Tip #10: Don’t Forget to Read “The Fine Print”

In its early days, Groupon was plagued by poor customer experiences. These issues were the result of the failure of some customers to understand the terms of the deals being offered.

While this problem is much better controlled now, it’s still well worth taking the time to fully comprehend the terms of each offer you’re considering.

Several years ago, Groupon responded to this need by adding a section to its listings called “The Fine Print.” This section can be identified by a bold heading followed by normal-sized text. This text is what could be considered the “terms” of the offer.

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The Bottom Line

While Groupon is still struggling to achieve better relations with its investors, as a consumer tool it remains highly valuable, even remarkable.

By optimally using the site and pairing it with other select resources, you can take advantage of Groupon’s low-cost shopping opportunities as well as new experiences that are as enriching as they are affordable.

This article is part of an ongoing series to help our readers save money and live better lives through management of their personal finances. At time of publication, neither ClydeBank Media nor the author of this article have any affiliation to any of the websites or entities listed.