I’m hardly a daily deals newbie. It’s been years since I purchased my first group coupon or visited Groupon like sites.
You may think that these deals of the day sites only inspire impulse purchases–and therefore I would not recommend them–but I do believe that they have a place in the world of saving money.
Case in point: my husband subscribes to Woot.com, which describes itself as daily deals for electronics, computers, home and tools. Even though Woot emails show up in his inbox every day, he isn’t buying every day–unless he sees something we have already identified that we need, such as a new duvet for our king-sized bed. This was something our Realtor had advised we get when putting our house on the market earlier this year. The bedspread we had was a bit dated (but oh so warm), and she recommended we get something a bit more modern and, not surprising, in a neutral color. Woot.com came through for us with a $10 deal on a duvet.
I’ve also purchased Groupon deals to save money on eating out at a restaurant, parking in New York City (which is notoriously expensive) and shopping at Old Navy–where that Groupon promised me $20 off my purchase, if I bought the coupon for $10. I know that when Starbucks runs their Groupon, LivingSocial or Amazon Local deals, they get snapped up like crazy. And twice a year, when the Great Wolf Lodge locations nationwide release their latest Groupon deal, my readers flood the site so that they can get the deal before it’s too late. Even LivingSocial gets in on the Great Wolf Lodge deals from time to time.
So what’s the big deal about these daily deal offers? A recent study said that six in 10 Americans would use Groupon like sites for holiday shopping. That’s not surprising since I’ve found Groupons to be invaluable for saving money on special events at the holidays. It’s not unheard of for a Groupon to come out in fall that helps you to get tickets to see The Rockettes in the Christmas Show at Radio City Musical Hall on a budget. Also, frugal couples can use a Groupon coupon or something similar on a date, even for Valentine’s Day, heck to save money on an engagement ring if getting ready to pop the question. And speaking of romance I’ve seen offers on these sites for Match.com memberships. So really there could be a daily deal out there for everyone.
With all of that in mind, I decided to do a roundup post of these daily deals sites. Since I believe that Groupon, LivingSocial and Amazon Local are the best of these sites, I’ve only focused on those three here. This replaces any individual posts I may have created in the past on current deals, which usually expire faster than my readers can get to them.
You know that Groupon was the first of these daily deals sites on the block by the fact that Groupon has become a verb as well as a noun. (Think Kleenex, Xerox machine, Coke.) I will admit that I was a late adopter to loving Groupon, but I quickly learned that if you treat a Groupon like deal like you would a free gift card you might earn from a store or a cash back offer that you have to mail in to receive, the key is actually acting on your purchase before it expires. One of the things I like about Groupon is this guarantee it offers: “Local and Getaways vouchers are always worth at least the amount you paid for them – even if the promotional value has expired.” So you never lose the money you purchased for your Groupon. You just may lose out on getting the deal or bigger savings you had had in mind when you made your purchase.
Like Groupon LivingSocial deals primarily give you opportunities that you can take advantage of locally to save money. However, sometimes Living Social deals provide a local way to save on something national. For example, earlier this year Living Social partnered with Sam’s Club to offer a discount on membership. The savings were huge–68 percent off a membership. Plus, with this deal valid in all U.S. locations (there are more than 600 Sam’s Clubs nationwide), this is the kind of deal that makes buying one of these Living Socials (if you will) worth it–if joining a warehouse club or wholesale club like Costco, BJs or, in this case, Sam’s Club, was already on your to-do list. Also like Groupon, LivingSocial.com stands behind its offers. If you have a problem with your purchase and you’ve tried, in good faith, to fix the situation to no avail, Living Social would likely end up refunding your money or putting Living Social Deal Bucks in your account.
Yet another site like Groupon (and Living Social), Amazon Local brings offers into your inbox that are local to you, like restaurants, stores and services. In addition to the truly local deals, Amazon Local also offers Great Wolf Lodge deals from time to time. Again, they have been hugely popular with the Suddenly Frugal audience.