(Photo: Flickr / antwerpenR)
Zach Hayes is a money-saving enthusiast who shares tips on how to get the most bang for your buck on everyday purchases.
If I told you there was a way to get the products and services you need at 50% off or more, you would be ecstatic, right? Well, there is - they're called deal of the day websites. These websites present amazing opportunities to save, but they can end up costing you more in the end if you're not careful. So before you start blindly making purchases, you have to beware of the pitfalls of daily deals websites. To make sure you're taking the right steps to get the best deals - and avoid the bad ones - read on.
1. Deals Have Expiration Dates
Offers on deal of the day websites aren't good forever. Some have very generous deadlines - good within one year of purchase, for example - but others can be as short as one month. Be sure to investigate this before purchasing to ensure you have time to use the voucher before it expires.
2. Only Purchase Things You Really Need
If you sign up for email updates from all major deal of the day websites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Half Off Depot, you're going to be inundated with appealing offers. Instead of looking at how much you can save, ask yourself one simple question first: Do I really need this? If you see a great deal on a zipline tour, but that's not really your cup of tea, you're effectively spending more money than you ordinarily would - not saving.
3. Check the Fine Print
Many deals are also limited to premium packages only. Make sure you look into this in order to avoid spending more than what a baseline service costs. I recently saw one for 50% off an oil change, but it was only good for the "gold package," which included things I didn't need, like wiper blade replacement. Half the price of this gold package was more than what a basic oil change would have cost.
4. Prepare for Customer Service Issues
The goals of businesses offering deals of the day are to get more advertising and earn repeat business. In that light, you'd think that customer service would be stellar. Unfortunately, the opposite is sometimes true. If you enter a restaurant with a half-off deal, the server may fear you won't tip as well and therefore basically ignore you. Get 90% off a pedicure and you may encounter rude employees, as well. That's not to say you should avoid purchasing deals, just be sure you're prepared for less than solid customer service.
5. Understand What Is and Isn't a Deal
Just because a deal of the day website says that an item is available for 70% off doesn't necessarily make it true. Follow up on any deal you're considering with a basic Internet search to see if it is in fact a bargain. In many instances you may find that it isn't.
Deals do come with expiration dates, but don't panic if you forget to use one beforehand. Just about all deal of the day websites have policies in place so that you never lose the money you invest in a deal - you just lose the discount. If the voucher expires, the money goes back into your account and can be used for another deal. Just be sure you track the redemption of your deals on your own, as the tracking features on these websites are sometimes a bit suspect. Using deal of the day websites is a great way to save on products and services, but only if you go into the process carefully.
Have you ever used a deal of the day website?