By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com
When it comes to daily deal websites, Groupon is far from the only game in town. Beyond the big names that dominate the space, thousands of smaller niche sites promise similar savings. How's a bargain hunter to stay on top of all those daily deals? Here are five tips.
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1. Take advantage of aggregators. Many frugal consumers already know about daily deal aggregators such as Yipit. If you haven't tried the site yet, you owe it to your inbox to head on over. Yipit pulls coupons for discounts in your city from a variety of daily deal websites, collecting them all in one email. As a recent Reader's Digest piece points out, looking outside your area can also yield great finds. Here, again, you can rely on the collective eye of the internet to spot the best bargains. Check out sites such as Slickdeals, FatWallet, and Dealnews, which list local deals but don't confine you to a particular city. That means next time a national chain such as Starbucks runs a targeted campaign, you won't miss out on a deal just because it isn't automatically sent to you. You can take this a step further and set up an alert on Slickdeals for a product or service you're seeking. You'll be notified by email when a matching deal is posted.Get great bargains from daily deal websites.
2. Do your research. Up to 90 percent off? How could you pass that up? The thing is, if you aren't cautious about what you buy, even the best-looking bargain can turn out to be a waste of money. Whether the deal is for a restaurant meal or an electric toothbrush, take a look at some online reviews first. Even if you stand to "save" money, you don't want to spend any on terrible food or a shoddy product.
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3. Don't spam yourself. Most daily deal websites send emails with the latest deals. A simple tip to keep from getting overwhelmed is to sign up only for specialized daily deal websites that focus on a product or service you're looking for at the moment. One example is Lot 18 for wine. If you want to maintain your subscriptions to broader sites such Groupon, start "liking" the deals and categories that interest you most to receive more personalized emails. Yipit also cuts down on clutter, not only by consolidating everything into one email but by letting you narrow your deal settings to specific categories.
4. Stay organized. In a survey conducted last year by a researcher at Rice University, more than 1 in 5 deals bought online was never redeemed. It's easy to get caught up in a buying spree when you see so many bargains on daily deal websites, but expired vouchers mean wasted money. Keep track of your purchases and consider adding expiration dates to your calendar. You can also try out a service such as MyCabbage, which links your accounts from various sites to help you track and redeem deals in time.
5. Sell expiring vouchers -- and snap up discounted deals. Don't think you'll have time to get that massage you bought from a daily deal website a few months back? Even if you can't claim the promotion, you may be able to apply the amount you paid toward a full-price massage after the expiration date. You might also consider selling your deal on MyCabbage or another site such as CoupRecoup or CoupFlip. By the same token, daily dealers can buy vouchers through these secondary markets. Any deal you buy will likely be expiring soon, but you may save some extra dough if the seller really wants to unload the voucher.
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