These days, everyone is looking for a deal, and some of the best deals can be had by registering on daily deal sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Amazon.
It’s easy to get caught up in the savings, purchasing deals for restaurants, stores, salon services, and more. But it’s even easier to forget about the coupon or lose it, which is what happens to more than a third of daily deal coupon buyers.
Daily deals are great if you want to try out something new, whether it be a restaurant or salon, while saving money. But be aware that there are restrictions, limitations, expiration dates. Typically, the deal is only good for a few short months, and then you are left with only a credit for the amount you already paid to put toward the regular price.
To make the most of your daily deal shopping and redeeming, take note of what to do and what to avoid.
Daily deal dos
Keep track of expiration dates. Start a daily deal file by date, mark your calendar, set up phone alerts, and keep those coupons organized. Don’t be part of the 30% that purchases a daily deal only to let it expire. This is a big money waster, and defeats the purpose of the deal.
Keep coupons convenient. Not only is it important to keep the coupon link on the computer in case you misplace the coupon, but make sure printed vouchers are accessible for use. Store them in your purse, wallet, or car so you don’t forget them.
Consider deals for purchasing gifts. Keep a birthday and holiday list to guide your purchases throughout the year, and keep others in mind when you come across deals. If your sister is having a baby, that daily deal for flowers will come in handy.
Make sure the it’s reputable. There has been an influx of daily deal sites over the last year, so make sure the ones you deal with are legitimate and secure. Do your research before forking over your credit card information.
Read the fine print. Note the expiration date, exclusions, restrictions, and any other information on what the deal does and doesn’t include. That great deal for a night at a downtown hotel might be just what you’re looking for this summer, but the deal may only be good until March.
Other things to be aware of are whether multiple vouchers can be used at one time and whether additional full-price purchases will be required when redeeming your deal.
Get reimbursed if the deal provider goes bust. The deal broker, such as Groupon or Amazon, is responsible for repaying you if the business goes under before the coupon is redeemed, as long as it has not expired. Don’t let that money go to waste. Go after your money right away.
Keep track of your daily deal spending. Like other forms of online shopping, it is easy to get carried away when you think you’re saving money. Don’t buy just for the sake of the deal, otherwise it’s not a real bargain.
Refer friends via Facebook and e-mail. Most daily deal sites offer referral programs where you can earn credit for referrals and even get your deal for free if enough friends purchase vouchers. Spread the word — but don’t get spammy!
Daily deal don’ts
Don’t purchase if you won’t use it soon or don’t really need it. This really defeats the purpose of these sites and the savings. Think of it as throwing money down the drain. Don’t get caught up in the savings if you wouldn’t purchase the item or service anyway.
Don’t visit an excessive number of daily deal sites. Dealing with multiple sites can get confusing and cumbersome. The best sites are the ones that offer local deals that you can most easily take advantage of. Also, look for sites that are geared to your interests.
Don’t let a good deal expire. Typically, daily deal sales are only good for 24 hours. Make your selection quickly, or it will be gone. Designate a time in the early morning to go through the deal sites or e-mails you receive.
Don’t forget special occasions. You may not typically go to that high-end restaurant offering a daily deal, but your birthday is coming up. Those vouchers will help you rein in spending, even on the nights you typically splurge.
Don’t rule out purchasing multiple daily deals. If the deal is for a service you use frequently or a restaurant where you’re a regular, it makes sense to buy the maximum. Just make sure you’re able to redeem all of the vouchers before they expire.
Don’t forget to check for deals when going out of town. Take a look at the regional daily deal sites for the city you’re visiting to take advantage of even more savings for restaurants, hotels and sightseeing specials.