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Smart Buying

How to Deal With Coupon Overload

Stuck with unused daily deals? You can get some money back.

By Michael Stratford

From the popularity of daily deal sites to TLC’s show Extreme Couponing, it’s clear that cash-strapped consumers want to squeeze savings out of each purchase. But the resurgence of couponing comes with some new pitfalls.

When Cara Sprunk of New York City recently saw a $10 Groupon deal offering $20 to spend at a local wine bar, she jumped. But like many users of daily-deal sites (as many as one in five, according to some estimates), Sprunk never redeemed her Groupon. “If I had been more organized, I would have realized I didn’t have time to use it within the 20-day window,” she says.

A spokesman for Groupon says merchants are supposed to honor expired Groupons, up to the amount you paid. If they don’t, Groupon will refund the purchase price. LivingSocial will credit you for the purchase amount for at least five years past the stated expiration if a merchant turns you down.

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Sprunk and others may also benefit from one of the new sites that let consumers sell unwanted daily-deal offers online. CityPockets.com charges $1 plus 8% of proceeds; DealsGoRound.com takes 10% of proceeds. Both sites feature a digital wallet to help you organize daily-deal coupons. Couprecoup.com is a free listing service, sort of a Craigslist for coupons.

While some people let coupons expire unused, others go crazy with them. That has prompted some retailers, including Target and Rite Aid, to clamp down on stacking multiple coupons, especially on “buy one, get one” promotions.