5 Things You Need to Know Before Using a Deals Website

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

There are so many deal sites now that it’s hard to keep track. You can find a deal on pretty much any website, but several sites specifically provide daily or weekly deals to the public. Some of the best-known sites include Seize the Deal, Groupon, and LivingSocial, but there are many other sites that offer great deals.

These sites are a fantastic and easy way to get a bargain, but they also can cause a lot of problems. It can be tempting to purchase an item even if you don’t actually need it. Also, sometimes the deal comes in several individual coupons, and if you don’t read the fine print, you might miss out on important information. However, if you can avoid these problems, deal sites are a great opportunity to save money. Here’s how to do it.

1. Sign up for email updates

Most of the different deal sites have email subscriptions. Signing up to receive the deals via email will save you time, because you won’t have to regularly check the sites. You will also be able to quickly determine if the deal is something that you actually need without additional clicks. Signing up for email updates allows you to receive offers from multiple deal sites at once, which helps you to keep tabs on as many deal sites as you want at a time. If you don’t know where to start, try signing up for one from Top Ten Reviews’ comparison. Some of the best include Groupon, Amazon Local, and Yugster.

2. Purchase items you will actually use

When you do sign up for the daily emails, it’s important to make sure that the ease of having so many deals spring up in your inbox doesn’t cause you to overspend. Be sure that you are only purchasing items that you actually need. If you see a deal for a restaurant that you have never heard of and wouldn’t normally visit, don’t purchase the deal. Stick to restaurants that you enjoy or might enjoying trying, and only purchase vacation packages or other experience deals that you will actually use.

If you stick to items that you need to buy anyway, or experiences that align with your yearly plans, then you will save money. On the other hand, if you purchase several items simply because they are on sale, you will end up with buyer’s remorse.

3. Purchase gifts

Even if you can’t use a particular deal, you may find that it could make a great gift. Of course, you need to be careful not to use the gift excuse to buy items that you don’t need. You should know that many of these sites show the deal on the printable coupon, so if you sign up for that type of deal, then the person receiving it may know how much you spent.

However, if you are able to purchase an actual item rather than a gift certificate, or you can purchase an experience, many daily or weekly deals can make a great gift. For example, if you purchase half-off movie tickets and then treat your friend for her birthday, she never has to know you got a deal.

4. Narrow down the playing field

There are so many deal choices that you could spend hours looking for deals, or even sifting through emails. If you regularly purchase items that would fall under a specific category, you can subscribe to sites that offer deals related to that theme. You can sign up for deal sites that focus on travel, like Travel Zoo; or you can visit a site like eDealinfo.com, which has a giant list of categories to choose from. Narrowing your search will help you save money, because you will be staying in a specific category, and it should also help you find deals on the items that you need.

5. Read the fine print

As great as deal sites are, be sure to read the fine print. If you read it carefully, you may change your mind about purchasing the bargain. Many deals have to be used by a certain date or they expire, and sometimes the date is much sooner than you would anticipate. Also, if you purchase a gift card for a restaurant, it may come in several smaller denominations that cannot be combined (for example, if you purchase a $50 gift card, it may come as five individual $10 gift cards.) Certain deals also have blackout dates, and sometimes the voucher only covers specific items at the restaurant or other establishment. Also, according to Reader’s Digest, sometimes you can actually find a better deal on the retailer’s site, so be sure to check before you buy.

Some sites will reward you if you refer a friend to the site and they purchase a deal, so that is worth checking out as well. But be aware that some people find that they are treated differently as a customer who uses a coupon. If you are worried about this, you may want to stick to deals where it won’t matter — like a movie theater instead of an all-inclusive vacation, where service will be key.

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