Man Tries to Live Full Year on Groupon

By Kim Vatis
|  Wednesday, May 12, 2010  |  Updated 6:30 PM CDT
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Think you're a good bargain hunter?  Chicagoan Josh Stevens is putting it to the test.

Think you're a good bargain hunter? Chicagoan Josh Stevens is putting it to the test.

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Think you’re a pretty good Bargain Hunter? How about making it your only way of life for one year.

That’s what Josh Stevens has done after getting hooked on the discount website Groupon.  The company promises the 28-year-old a $100,000 cash reward if he can make it to May 10, 2011 using nothing but Groupons. No cash.

From the contest website:

From skydiving and upscale cuisine to body waxing and foreign language classes, Groupon deals will shape the Groupawn’s daily life. He will need to rely on the kindness of strangers for social niceties (like tax and tip) and basic human needs (like somewhere to sleep and a ride to any of Groupon’s 60 cities.)

Other things Stevens is forfeiting in his year-long journey:  family, friends, his girlfriend, personal possessions, holidays and special events.  Seriously.

In Chicago on Wednesday, Stevens scored a horse and carriage ride with a Groupon, and while unleashed on his trek with only a paper suit made of Groupons, he was able to use another Groupon to buy some real threads at City Blue Apparel.

"It's great for them and us," City Blue proprietor Jason Levi said.  "It brings in new customers."

Groupon says hundreds of people applied for the gig, but Stevens' video entry caught their attention.

Stevens' journey  will be chronicled on LiveOffGroupon.com and on Facebook and Twitter.


What's Groupon?

Less than two years old, the Chicago company is in 55 cities across the nation with over four million Groupon’s sold.  The site allows users to get bulk discounts from businesses and last month was valued at $1 billion.

"It started as a whim and took off like a rocket-ship," said Groupon founder Andrew Mason.  "We use the idea of group buying to procure discounts that you can’t get anywhere else."
 
And the discounts can be big.

"Fifty, 60 or 70 percent off a restaurant or spa or theater tickets, anything cool to do," Mason explained.

Recent deals include half-priced groceries at Fox & Obel.  Thousands of people bought $40 worth of food at a 50 percent discount, and rooftop tickets at Wrigley Field recently went for $69.

Sound interesting?  Sign up online and the deal of the day is delivered via email each day.  As long as enough people sign up, the deal is on.  

To date, Groupon says it has save folks $194,659,060.00. 

$martMoney: Navigating the Road to Financial Freedom

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