I've heard a lot of gloom and doom for sites such as Groupon and Living Social lately, but I'm still a believer. Like many people, I've couldn't wait to get my hands on the best deals when I first heard about the daily deal sites. I found myself spending more than usual on eating out, massage and vacation destinations. Once I took a more balanced approach to the daily deal sites, I made them an asset instead of a liability to my budget.
According to a recent article on Yahoo's The Exchange, a growing number of consumers are skeptical about deal sites. People have been burned by bad customer service and deals that were truly too good to be true. According to the article, daily deal sites rose by almost 8 percent in America in the past year, even though some vendors say they aren't making a lot of money because of the steep discounts.
Doing a little research
One lesson I learned about daily deals is that it pays to check things out before purchasing anything. For example, I visit the websites of restaurants and call to ask if they accept daily deal coupons before purchasing a deal. One German restaurant in my area said they no longer accept the coupons even though it was offered by the deal site. I also noticed some of the deals expired by a certain date. I also read the fine print to avoid missing out on the deal.
Becoming a loyal customer
In my opinion, daily deal sites do work for both the vendor such as restaurants as well as the consumer. I know I became a loyal customer at one restaurant that I never would have tried without the daily deal coupon. I don't think steep discounts attract the "wrong customers," although I can see why some business owners fear that.
Searching for holiday deals
I like the fact that sites such as Groupon are moving beyond the discount dinners and offering "Groupon Goods," a marketplace which sells everything from jewelry to toys. As a Groupon subscriber, I receive email offers that appeal to me as I look for more convenient ways to Christmas shop. Perhaps the future of Groupon lies in an e-commerce site that can generate holiday sales.
Enjoying my birthday present
My husband purchased me a massage and pedicure using a daily deal site. I personally enjoyed the birthday present more knowing he made a frugal purchase. Since we are on an entertainment budget, we can do more by using daily deals. My husband and I sometimes like searching the deals together, especially for our date nights or for special birthday or anniversary gifts.
Although some people have kicked their daily deal addiction, I am a faithful visitor to daily deal sites. I wouldn't give them up any more than I'd give up clipping coupons. For us, it's free money. Maybe it doesn't always work out for every vendor or every customer, but daily deals have saved me at least $1,000 in the past 2 years. And, I believer several restaurants have won new customers as I share my positive experiences with friends and family.
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