Live Large Through LivingSocial

By on June 2, 2013

Live Large Through LivingSocial

I first found out about the great money-saving power of Living Social when I found occasion to share it with someone else.

The woman who would eventually become my girlfriend and then my wife (common law) is in business for herself, as a marketing research consultant. She had business reasons to journey from New Jersey to Chicago, Illinois in December of 2011. I learned of this a couple of months in advance.

By a strange chance (or synchronicity), I received a Living Social notice in my e-mail, just after she told me about her good reasons for traveling out my way (I was a denizen of Green Bay, Wisconsin at the time), about a good deal on staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago.

The usual price for a room was slashed in half, and that held true if one wanted to bring a guest, too. The fine deal even included a full vodka service.

She immediately booked a room for December 15th and, as a thank-you to me for altering her to the deal, bought a gift voucher for me. It likely goes without saying that I used it as was intended, and reserved a room for December 16th.

The hotel was gracious enough to give us each the same suit on back-to-back days. And the vodka service was doubled (that is, each day got us a brand new, full 1-liter bottle along with the flavorful trimmings.)

We had an enchanted time at a higher-end hotel during what is a beautiful, if bitterly cold, time of year in the Windy City (it was a strange year with a paucity of snow for the Midwest, but we woke up to a light snowfall on the morning of the 17th). And we had it for far less than we otherwise would.

Today, we live together in New Jersey, our mutual home state. The seeds of a new life were sown at the Hard Rock Hotel, compliments of Living Social.

Why It Works

Living Social contracts with businesses for deeply discounted, time-sensitive offers, which end-users (people like you and me) buy into through vouchers. The vouchers have expiration dates, but they are far-off from the time of purchase and not at all hidden in some "fine print". You know what you're buying and what the terms are. Details of the deals are written out in plain English.

The businesses benefit from attracting guests, service users, or visitors who otherwise might not think of them, consider them, know about them, or believe that they could find them affordable. The that you, as an end user, benefit should be glaringly obvious.

There is no obligation for you to patronize a business again just because you bought a voucher. The business is counting on impressing you and getting you to come back in the future at full price. Some might also count on getting you to spend more money while you're there, once you're there.

For instance, at the Hard Rock Hotel we might have decided to stay on for a third night, and that one would have cost us full price. Other hotels might not include something like the vodka service and hope that you make your way down to the bar.

Using the vouchers is easy. Since our stay in Chicago, we have used several more of them and we have never been turned down or charged any "hidden fees".

Living Social has an extra offer, too: if you can refer three other people who then buy the same deal that you did, yours becomes no-cost and you get your money back while keeping the voucher. (You may still have to pay taxes or some fees.)

How It Works

Signing up is free. When you sign up, you select a home city. Some places may not be on the list of "home cities" for Living Social, but they will give you a choice of the nearest regional area that they service.

Not every deal that you will be offered depends on the home city. Some may be Internet-wide. But many of the offers that will be e-mailed to you will be related to places to stay, or services provided, or events happening around your selected home city.

If you relocate, that's not a problem. Just make a new place your home city.

Deals don't last forever, and some last for a longer time than others do. There is also a "first come, first served" element, whereby if a deal gets bought out even before its expiration date and you show up late you won't be able to purchase it.

You pay in advance, at the time of purchase, but you use the voucher whenever you want to within the time that it lasts.

What You Can Hope to Find

You are certainly not limited to hotel deals that you can hope to find at the site. Categories and sub-categories include:

  • Escapes
  • Fun & Events
  • Activities
  • Family
  • Food & Drink
  • Health & Beauty
  • At Home
  • Home Goods
  • Fashion
  • Electronics
  • Kids & Pets
  • (Other) Online Deals

You can expect to find hot deals on delicious food (not just eating out, but food that is shipped to your door, such as Maryland crabs or grass-fed lamb), on local events (we saw the Cirque du Soleil in Manhattan), outings (we went kayaking), home supplies, clothing, SmartPhones, tablets, and on and on.

To reiterate, offers don't necessarily require that you live in the area. In fact, you are free to select to receive notices of deals that are happening in or around a city that you would love to visit so that you can buy them. (Just remember that you pay for your own travel to and from the destination.)

No matter where you live, food, clothing, home enhancement goods, and so on can always be shipped to you. (Some states' laws might prevent some items from being shipped to you, however.)

In Summation

If you have good taste and you desire to live large, but you're budget-conscious...if you would love to get adventurous or travel far and wide more often, but you're intimidated by the costs...then Living Social could be an awesome resource for you.

Brant David McLaughlin
Brant David McLaughlin
Contributing Writer at
You can visit Brant at LinkedIn or at Google+. He looks forward to hearing from you.
Brant David McLaughlin

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