I joined groupon recently (anyone in Germany who might like to join up, let me know your email address and I'll send you a recommendation - if you join up from that I get €6 :-) - I don't think I can get credit for recommending people to other groupon sites) and in the first couple of days purchased two bargains. I was starting to regret it because it seemed like a bad January thing to do, to put myself in a situation where I'd be tempted to spend a lot but after buying those two, which were both things on my must-buy-sometime-when-I-have-money list, I haven't had any problem at all resisting any of the other offers. Especially the ones for restaurants, which tend to be the least good offers in terms of saving and almost always seem to be restricted to dinner for two, and I rarely have someone to drag out for dinner with me.
The first groupon I bought cost 15 euro for a 50 euro voucher for shoes - the shop in question is in Berlin but they also have a website that I've heard good things about ordering from and sell well-known brands so I can check out a few things in shops around town here to check sizes and then order online from them. My hiking boots are very worn down on one side and badly need to be replaced, especially if I want to start actually exercising again. The recent snow, or more precisely, the grit and salt used to try and combat some of it, played havoc with my ecco walking shoes as well and the soles are well and truly on their way to disintegrating so if I don't get something suitable for going hiking or walking in, a pair of proper snowboots is in order.
The second groupon was 29 euro for a one-hour photography session (including make-up) which normally costs 119 euro. The thing is that in Germany it is normal to include a photo with any job applications. It is, of courese, completely illegal for an employer to discriminate based on your appearance and they are not allowed to ask you for a photograph anymore but it is so very much the done thing here that sending an application without a photo would most likely set you at a disadvantage immediately. And we're not talking just any old passport photo booth either. 100 euro would be around the lower end of what people pay for their application photographs here. I've been putting it off and putting it off because it was just going to be so expensive so I felt like this deal was definitely worth while. While I'm not actively looking for a new job I do want to be prepared and this will bring me one step closer to that. I am really, really struggling at the moment and hating my job more and more all the time so it's good to have something to focus on that will make me feel a little less trapped there.
On that note, I also finally went to the doctor last week and asked to be referred for counselling. I'm very nervous about this, my impression is that there can be a real stigma attached to this in Germany and my boss, for example, has frequently mentioned his low opinion of anyone who is "psychisch krank" (mentally/psychologically ill) and how once someone has psychological problems, they're no use in work at all. And although I asked for a list of English-speaking therapists from my health insurer, they all have very German sounding names. So I'm a bit nervous about having to do it all in German (at least I'll have the option of saying something in English if I'm struggling for a word but the chances are my German will be at least as good as their English) but more so because of potential cultural differences as well. I wouldn't have been guaranteed an Irish person obviously but I thought an English or American therapist might be better able to relate to or understand some things without too much explanation. I know it shouldn't make a difference and if they're a good therapist, they're a good therapist but it's just one more thing making me a bit nervous. Anyway, it'll probably be a few weeks before I can get an appointment so I'm just trying not to think about it too much.
As for groupon, well, I think there are great savings to be had so long as you are careful to not get tempted indiscriminately by all the offers - being able to distinguish properly between what is actually a bargain and what isn't saving me any money at all because if I hadn't seen the special offer I wouldn't have bought anything at all, is important.
On a final note, one of the groupon offers today left me musing a bit on life and the things people to in the name of fashion, topics that have been on my mind a lot the last couple of years (mostly in relation to make-up and the need so many people seem to have to remove every last bit of hair from their bodies). It was an offer for the REMOVAL of tattoos, with the tagline something like 'get rid of your sins of youth'. I have to say that my ghast was momentarily flabbered when I read that. A tattoo is supposed to be something permanent, putting a piece of art on your body and living with it for the rest of your life (yes, okay, I realise not everyone might think that way about a tattoo) and although so many people seem to have succumbed to the lure simply in the name of fashion, at least this was one thing you couldn't undo easily (at least not without great expense) and so it required a bit of thought. It just seems now to be one more thing people can thoughtlessly do because if you don't like it, laser it away in the shop next door. And there's just too much thoughtlessness in the world already.
P.S. I don't have any tattoos mostly because I didn't want to get one while still at a very big weight and then ending up with a shrivelled up thing if/when I lost weight. Just in case anyone is wondering. :)