How To Make the Most of Those Daily Deals

Daily deal sites – think Groupon, LivingSocial, Google Offers – have been around for a few years now and have become an integral part of the online shopping landscape. Of course, the big differentiator between daily deals and other Internet offers is that the deals have already been negotiated and vetted by the daily deal site; thus no need for price comparisons, no searching for additional discounts, and no need to worry about customer reviews.

At least that’s how it’s supposed to work. But anyone who has dabbled in the daily deals market for any length of time knows that it’s not quite that simple. There are usually a lot of terms and conditions attached to each deal, and daily deals often place enormous pressure on small businesses, which are commonly the merchants that are on the other end of these offers.

But that’s not to say that daily deals don’t offer real bargains for consumers. Ninety percent of the time they do. We just need to look at daily deals with our eyes wide open and make sure that we are getting the bargain that the banner headline says we are getting. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Make sure you want what they’re offering

It should go without saying but a deal is only a deal if you get something you want. If you can go skydiving for $30 instead of $100 but you’re pretty sure you’ll never have the courage to jump out of an airplane, then you haven’t saved $70, you’ve wasted $30! Similarly, if you ‘gift’ the daily deal to someone else, make sure it’s something they will take up. Most daily deals count on a significant number of buyers not to redeem deals. Don’t be an easy profit!

Shop around

You may have a favorite daily deal site but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the others. Plus, most sites will have a featured deal but there will be many more offers elsewhere on the site that are still current. You can always unsubscribe from deal sites if they consistently have nothing you want or if your Inbox is getting a little overwhelmed.

Make sure it’s a deal

Some businesses will inflate their prices to make sure they don’t lose money due to a daily deal. Others will only offer the deal once you have spent a certain amount of money upfront. Make sure you are getting an actual deal and not something that is regularly available.

Read the fine print

This is the most important part. All deals will have terms and conditions, including an expiry date, blackout periods (if any), volume restrictions (how many people can use the offer at the same time), and other limiting terms. If your deal is offered by a national chain, make sure the branch where you want to redeem it is participating in the offer. Keep in mind that state and local laws will often override the terms of a deal. For example, even if an offer has expired, you may still be able to redeem your coupon for face value (i.e. the amount you actually paid for the coupon rather than the value you were expecting to get).

Play fair

Finally, if you find a deal you like, then you should also play by the rules. That means not trying to override the one-time-use provisions or asking for something that you know is not covered by the offer. And if you’re in a restaurant, remember to tip based on the full menu price and not the discounted price. That way your server gets to enjoy the deal as well!

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