I am cheap. I will readily admit that to anyone.  I used to call myself frugal, but my friends laughed at me, so I fessed up.

In a past post, I introduced many of you to Groupon and the likes, and I was so excited to have the chance to share ways to save money. Fast forward a year and a half.  Still excited? Not so much.  Sure, there are some deals to be found (a month of bootcamp for $30, zipline tour for$60,  a painting class for $15), but man, I gotta tell ya, I have been burned on a couple of these “deals”.

For example, I got a Groupon for 50% off at an “upscale” hair salon in Buckhead (read-expensive) and got the absolute worst haircut/highlights of my life! Dude gave me a fucking MULLET!!! And the subtle highlights I asked for?  They turned out GREY!!!! And I don’t even have grey hair (yet). To add salt to the open wound, it still ended up costing me about $150-with the Groupon!!

Another nightmare was a deal 2 of my out-of-town girlfriends and I got for massages and facials at Soothe Massage Studio. (Read my Yelp review here) Endless broken appointments on their part-once no one showed up for my facial…and my girlfriends were denied their second service.   AARGH!

Twice we’ve been to local restaurants that either denied the Groupon of were out of business.

However, this week, my bud Jen and I went to Circus Arts Institute for an hour and a half “play date” on the trapese, tightwire, ropes, etc. It wasn’t nearly what I expected (flying through the air with the greatest of ease…), but nonetheless, it was a fun evening. We laughed at ourselves (and others behind their backs) and had a fun time taking pics of each other. It was a taste of their ongoing classes, and if I wasn’t already involved in hoopdance, bootcamp, volunteering at the library and 2 writers groups, I would consider joining.

All of this said, here is my suggestion for purchasing those deals that appear in your inbox every day. First, look the company up on yelp. com.  See what others have said. Then decide if the “deal” is something that won’t have lasting effects (such as a bad chiropractor, haircut, lazer surgery, botox–those could really screw you up!) Then weigh the $$ you are saving against whether it is something you would want to do in the first place.

I like Scoutmob‘s buy one get one deals, because most of them are free! And downloadable to your iphone. I get a lot of them, end up only using about 1/4 of them, but still, I end up being out no money.

How have you fared in the online coupon-ing deals? I’d love for you to share your stories, both good, bad and ugly!