Groupon is a website where you can purchase gift certificates for restaurants, beauty salons, hotels, consumer items, museums, special events, etc. You can choose either the number of certificates or their monetary value when purchasing them, and the certificates are generally good for six months and require advance reservations with the service provider.
When you buy a Groupon you end up paying considerably less for whatever it is you are buying the certificate for, than if you were to go directly to the service provider without a Groupon. For example, I recently paid 39 Euros for a day-long course with a professional make-up artist but if I had contacted her directly to book the same course, I would have paid 125 Euros.
The best thing about Groupon is that the daily e-mails are filled with names and descriptions of and website addresses for local restaurants, tourist attractions and activities, and services that I might never have heard of otherwise. Who knew that you could pay to tag along with a pack of donkeys as they go for a walk through Austria’s wine region, or that you could take a helicopter ride around Vienna? I see it as a less expensive way to try new things while we are here.
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If you like saving money while you shop for groceries but don’t want to spend endless time skimming through circular ads that have been stuffed into your mailbox, check out Meine Aktionen!
The site combines all advertised special deals and allows you to sort by grocery/cosmetic store, product, type of deal, etc. and you can also register to receive email alerts for special prices. And, you can even download an app for your phone!
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Diplomats in Vienna are eligible for a tax refund on receipts totaling over 73 Euros. Check with your mission for details.
Some grocery and other stores in Austria have Kundenkartes (customer cards) that work in pretty much the same way as American store savings cards. Every week, certain items are advertised at a lower price for customers with the card. Cashiers will usually ask if you have the card when you check out.
Signing up for the cards can usually be done in the store, however, it may be easier to sign up online and have the card mailed to your local address. The sign-up forms are not complicated and you can always use Google Translate or ask a German-speaking friend for assistance. You can also sign up for email newsletters advertising special offers and sometimes including coupons.
Here are links to online forms for customer cards from several grocery stores.
These stores do not offer cards, but do have newsletters with special offers.
For other types of stores, Google the name of the store and “kundenkarte” to find online signup forms. Ikea, Baumax (hardware store), and many others offer these cards.
The Niederösterreich Card for this year became available March 1 (53 Euros per adult) and offers many discounts and free admissions to all types of events and outings throughout the lower Austria region.It is valid for one year from April 1, 2013 until March 31, 2014.
You can buy the card at a local Trafik or Raiffeisenbank or order online! They also provide a handy little guide to plan all those outings! Examples of the discounts include a free ride on the Vienna ferris wheel as well as reduced and free admission to countless museums and other destinations.
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Money saver alert!
Want to get out of Vienna to explore the surrounding area without spending a fortune? Hop on any “R” or “REX”-coded train along with up to 4 adult friends (minimum 2 adults, 5 maximum) for only 32 Euros! Purchase the “Einfach Raus Ticket” (just get out ticket!) at the ticket counter or machine prior to departure. Valid Mondays-Fridays between 9am and 3am and all day Saturday, Sunday, and on holidays (until 3am the following day). Ticket is valid throughout Austria. Not valid on special and seasonal trains. It’s how we ended up in Krems one day…
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