Downturns in the economy force many people to tighten the belt. Perhaps you go out to eat less, cut out indulgences like manicures, and that week in Tahiti? Its been downgraded to a weekend with the in-laws.
But maybe it doesn’t have to be this way. Through popular deal of the day sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, people are still enjoying sushi, pampering themselves with regular massages and even booking getaways to Cancun. And they’re doing it for 50% less than you are.
I personally use Deal of the Day sites quite often and have been pleased with my experience thus far. I’ve gotten my car detailed, my house cleaned, and even benefited from a 50% off offer at Amazon.com. Without these sites, I would not have been able to afford to skydive, SCUBA dive, AND fly a helicopter.
The deal of the day sites that I discuss below are all different in their own way, as well as constantly updating and making changes to their sites. Make sure you understand what is expected of you prior to purchasing.
Arguably the leader in all of the Deal of the Day sites, Groupon offers 50% or more off of services, products, and classes in your community. Visit Groupon.com and choose the city or cities from which you’d like to receive offers. These emails will be sent to you every day. Within your Groupon profile, you can even customize your preferences so that deals will be better tailored to your interests.
Groupons are only available for 24 hours so you must act quickly before you miss out. Often there are several deals offered in one email so make sure you take notice of the “side deals” on the right hand side of your email. These are typically offers that are near your preferred city or are perhaps more expensive (50% off of $1,000 in laser hair treatment is a great deal but still $500).
The key to Groupon is sharing with friends. A certain number of deals must be sold for you to be able to take advantage; at Groupon this is called “tipping” the deal. This number varies from deal to deal but if the prescribed allotment is not purchased, you won’t get the deal. By sharing the offer on social media sites, you’ll help insure enough deals are sold so that you can take advantage too.
Another incentive for sharing these deals are Groupon bucks. When you purchase a Groupon, you will be given a special link called a “share link.” When you share this link with friends and they purchase the Groupon by clicking on your personalized link, you’ll get credit in the form of Groupon bucks. You may then use these towards the purchase of a future Groupon.
You can begin using your Groupon the day after you’ve purchased it. Make sure you print out and take your Groupon with you when you are ready to use it, or you can bring it up on your mobile device.
A close second to Groupon is Living Social. Almost identical to Groupon in the way it is structured, there are a few differences I’ll highlight here.
Like Groupon, LivingSocial.com offers deeply discounted deals in your city, for which you can sign up to receive via email. These deals are also only available for 24 hours, offer “side deals,” and require a certain allotment be sold before everyone can take advantage of the deal.
The two biggest differences between Living Social and Groupon is Living Social’s reward program and Living Social Escapes. Just like Groupon, you are given a personalized link to share with friends after you have purchased a deal. The link can be posted to Facebook, tweeted to Twitter, or emailed to friends. The difference is that when three friends use your link to purchase the same deal, yours is free!
Living Social Escapes are deals that focus more on hotel stays and vacation packages. For vacations ranging from long weekends at a nearby beach to a six day stay in Costa Rica, Living Social Escapes can go far in saving you money on your next getaway. Living Social Escape deals are usually available for purchase for several days and you will have to sign up separately to begin receiving these emails.
One option to keep your inbox from piling up with offer emails is to use Redeemio. Redeemio.com is a filter that compiles all of the deals in your community into one daily digest. This is a great way to find out about Daily Deal sites that may exist in your community but aren’t as widespread as Groupon or Living Social. In addition, Redeemio typically includes deals from online businesses. Remember: if you are interested in deals outside of your area, you will still need to sign up to receive those emails directly from Groupon or Living Social.
Tips for a Great Experience with Deal of the Day:
- Read the fine print carefully. I almost purchased a night stay at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in a town I’m planning to visit in September. Then I read that the offer was only applicable for Sunday – Thursday stays (I would need it for Friday and Saturday nights).
- Make sure you do your research on the business before buying. I got really excited about a $17 deal on a 60-minute massage that normally cost $75. Being carried away by such a great deal, I didn’t investigate the business at all and suffice to say, I was not pleased with my experience there.
- Like my mama always said: “A deal ain’t a deal if you didn’t need it in the first place.” Don’t buy unless you actually know you’ll use it by the expiration date. Most offers give you a year to use but make sure you’ve read the fine print; some expire in a few months. Once you have purchased the deal, you’ve spent the money. Wasting money is the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish here!
- If you are planning to make a trip out of town, sign up for that location’s Deal of the Day a few weeks prior. This is a great way to save money on restaurants while there. When I discovered I would be traveling to a city 5 hours away, I signed up for that location’s Deals a couple of weeks prior and snagged an awesome deal on a hot air balloon flight!
- Keep in mind that you aren’t the only one that purchased this Deal. Sometimes offers are so successful, the business is overwhelmed by the response. With items that need to be scheduled (classes, cleaning services, beauty treatments, etc), many people try to make appointments soon after they’ve purchased the deal. If the deal doesn’t expire for awhile, be patient. You will probably find that in a few months, you will be able to schedule your deal at a time that works for both you and the business.
There are other sites not listed here, so I encourage you to research what daily deal sites might be available in your area. If you have another tip to share for taking advantage of Deals of the Day, feel free to comment below. Happy Saving!