Giving Back to Get

9 Sep

Here’s something you might not know – Groupon has their own initiative to support social causes, called the G-Team. I have used Groupon since they were introduced earlier in the year, and have written about the group-deal-buying pioneers many times for my Living on a Discount project. But did you know that Groupon not only helps fund great nonprofit causes, but the whole Groupon idea came from that?

Groupon was born out of a group action and fundraising platform called The Point. As the Groupon community grew, their collective consumer power helped people get great deals and discover fun ways to experience their cities. Through G-Team, Groupon is connecting its users with their communities in meaningful ways. One of my very first Groupon purchases, in fact, was a matched donation to The Miracle Foundation.

G-Team campaigns range from ridiculous flashmobs to fundraisers that benefit local community organizations. Every G-Team campaign connects you with enough people to achieve something awesome that you couldn’t have done alone. Their current campaign is for, a tribute movement to honor the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

If you have a nonprofit or know of a cause to suggest for G-Team, they invite you to Suggest a Campaign!

Groupon isn’t the only way to help a cause without “paying” full price, however. Living Social has run similar campaigns. Many companies match donations, and a lot of times you’ll find special grants or corporate sponsorships that will match your gift as well – effectively doubling your money! If you work for a large company, many of them will also match donations – Click here for a list.

Fans dance to Grupo Fantasma at their free concert

In other news…I’ll recap how my Discount Living project has been going this week. Sunday night I enjoyed a terrific free concert at the Long Center with my guy, featuring Grupo Fantasma. The concert was sponsored by HEB grocery and CultureMap Austin, a brand-new digital magazine about all things culture and lifestyle in Austin. I am also a writer for CultureMap, and the free concert was beautiful. We stopped and picked up pita sandwiches using a Groupon, making for a great evening for just a few dollars total.

The only thing that marred the evening was the incoming reports of the massive wildfires in Bastrop, and other spots around Austin. Two of our friends had to evacuate their homes, and it was a very stressful few days. So far hundreds of homes, and tens of thousands of acres, have been lost in these terrible fires. I even wrote a story about it on CultureMap. If you’d like to help the fire victims, part two of my story lists a lot of ways you can help.

With Monday, Labor Day, came Austin’s Free Day of Yoga. Keith and I went to a free class at Eastside Yoga at noon, and then I went to a restorative class later in the afternoon, taught by my friend MaryAnn Reynolds. Free Day of Yoga is an annual event that opens up dozens of yoga studios all over town, with hundreds of free classes of all sorts of yoga.

Other things I did this week on a discount mostly involved dining out. Had the following meals using some sort of a coupon:

  • Thai House – via Morgan’s Deals. I had even been given a $5 off reward, so a $20 certificate cost me only $5. Savings: 75%
  • Upper Decks – using a Groupon, we received $25 worth of food for $10. Savings: 60%
  • Texas French Bread – my friend Joy and I went to lunch to celebrate our birthdays here, where I received $30 of food for $15, courtesy again of Groupon. Savings: 50%
  • Ranch 616 – this wasn’t officially my deal, but I want to share it. My guy took me to dinner here Wednesday night for my birthday, and he did so using a deal he bought for half off a great 3-course meal. Smart = sexy! Plus money left over to spend on other things we really want to do, like travel.

Celebrating my birthday with friend Joy

I will admit that I had the only “cheat day” I’ve had so far on this project – and I swear it was an accident! I had signed up for a Groupon for a local pizza spot, not noticing that it was for dine-in only. I ordered a pizza to go. When I showed up, the certificate wouldn’t work for take-away. Even though I had my “rules” for this project, I wasn’t just going to walk away rudely and leave them with this pizza they had made for me. So, I did pay full price for it – the only thing I’ve paid full price for so far in this experiment, outside my rules of fixed, non-negotiable expenses. However, I also earned an extra $10 in Groupon credit this month, so I’m hoping that makes up for it – ???

Owning up to my fuzzy lines…..

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