Groupon is based on a "collective buying power" concept: The company guarantees local businesses a minimum number of customers, and as such — assuming the requisite numbers of people turn out — can pass along swoon-worthy deals.
Started in Chicago in November 2008, Groupon expanded from larger cities (New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C.) into Denver last fall, and just yesterday kicked off its daily deals in Colorado Springs with an offer from The Blue Star ($18 for $45 worth of gift certificates, of which 691 people took advantage, including, yes, me).
Today's deal gets you five weeks of unlimited group classes at Springs Salsa & Dance Fitness, a $99 value, for just $39.
The process is easy. Visit groupon.com and sign up to receive its daily e-mail. Then make sure you check your messages every day because you only have one day in which to purchase the deal — then, poof, it's gone! Get your friends to join up, too; the more people on Groupon, the better the deals that can be provided.
In my experience, most offers are at least 50 percent off their value, and often significantly more. And they run the gamut, from restaurants to spas, theater tickets to specialty workshops.
(Dear Groupon: I am in desperate need of a pedicure. If you could work on a salon deal, I'd be mighty grateful. Um, thanks.)
Here's a short video on how it works. Watch it, then get yourself signed on up.