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Daily Deal Sites: The Good and the Bad

Would you like to snag 60 percent off cupcakes? How about $20 for $50 worth of sushi? These deals are pretty enticing, and if you’re like a lot of people, they are bombarding your email inbox on a daily basis.

Daily deals are big bucks. During the past few years, dozens of companies have entered the fray, offering special limited-time offers on all kinds of deeply discounted services, from spa treatments to hot air balloon rides. But is there a downside to all this deal making?

The Good

Daily deals are a:

  • Great incentive to try new things. Rather than pay full price for something you might not like, you can search for an offer and try it out at a deep discount.
  • Savvy way to cut down on costs at places you frequent all the time . Let’s say there’s a chicken wings restaurant you and your friends like to patronize every Friday night. One day, the restaurant partners with a daily deal site to offer $30 worth of wings and drinks for $15. For you, this offer makes good fiscal sense.
  • Sneaky strategy for saving money on special outings . Want to take your special someone out on the town, but your budget is holding you back? No problem. Use that daily deal coupon to the fancy French restaurant downtown.
  • Money-smart method for stretching your gift- buying bucks . Think of daily deals as gift certificates you can purchase at tremendously reduced prices. Just make sure to read the fine print, which specifies what you can and cannot buy and whether you can transfer the deal to another person.

The Bad

Before you buy, consider these factors:

  • Just because you can save big using daily deals doesn’t mean you still aren’t spending money . In other words, you may be getting $100 worth of hair-care products for $70, but you’re still spending $70. Make sure you’re not just impulse buying and that the cost of the deal is in your budget.
  • Some restrictions could render the deal worthless . That fancy brunch for two for $20 you scored? You might only be allowed to use it on weekdays or other off-peak times that don’t fit into your schedule.
  • If you’re a sale addict, daily deals sites will stoke your addiction . In fact, the daily deal industry has given these discount junkies a name—deal hoppers. If you’re someone who can’t resist a good discount, you may want to refrain from signing up for daily deal emails.
  • Most daily deal sites make a particular offer available only for about 24 hours and only to a certain number of people . The notion that the offer has limited availability is a clever sales tactic that is meant to entice you to buy before you think.
  • If you buy a daily deal voucher, it typically comes with an expiration date . And if you don’t redeem the voucher by the date specified, you’re out the cost of the coupon. If you’re someone who is busy or just plain forgetful, you may want to think twice before spending money on something you’ll never use.

Daily deals are a great way to try something new, or get a good deal on something you already need. But be sure to read the fine print, and think carefully before you click “purchase.”

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