Are Deal Sites Really That Great Of A Deal?

You have surely heard of the many Social Discount sites that have been popping up all over the Internet. GrouponSocial Buy, Living Social and Dealster are just a few of the many group discount sites out there. These sites offer rock bottom pricing on great deals around your city if enough people take advantage of the offer. This can mean savings of anywhere between 50-90% off of the actual retail price. It sounds great, but are these deals really too good to be true?

How Do They Work?

If you haven’t used these sites before, basically you will receive a daily email letting you know what the deal of the day is. The deals change each day and can be anything from food, to beauty treatments to products. The featured company generally has a write up explaining the deal and showing the regular price for the item. Each deal requires a certain number of purchasers, so if you want your deal, it is a good idea to spread the word. The deal is then purchased and can be redeemed at a future point for savings. But, what’s the catch?

What’s The Catch?

In reality, there isn’t one. Businesses get huge amounts of exposure and you can get some really great deals on a bunch of useful products and services. In fact, you might even find that these deals can help you afford a few luxuries that you would be unable to purchase otherwise. As far as personal finance is concerned however, you do need to keep a few things in mind to make the most of these sites.

Don’t Buy Things You Aren’t Going to Use

Remember a deal is only a great deal if you actually use it. If it goes unused, it is simply a waste of money, no matter how cheap. If you see a great price on a 30 day membership to the gym and purchase it, you had better go to the gym to make the purchase worth the money. Don’t let your purchased deals and vouchers go to waste. If you use these sites, make sure that you redeem your purchases every time. Often there are terms and conditions associated with each purchase, make sure you read these before finalizing the deal to make sure that you really are getting a bargain.

Don’t Buy Things You Don’t Need

Similar to the don’t buy things you won’t use advice is don’t buy things you don’t need or can’t afford. Remember you are on a budget. If you are out of money, don’t use your credit card to charge a deal even if it seems impossible to pass up. You can find low prices, but you can also end up spending a fortune on neat things that you can’t afford. Determine how much you can spend each month and stop when you hit your limit. It is a good idea not to visit these sites if you don’t have money. It is easier to not see the deal than to pass it up.

Take advantage of the many money saving opportunities that the Internet provides. Just remember that you have to use your judgment even if something is a great deal, you might not need it.

Do you use deal sites? Did you have a good experience?

Comments (22)

  • Are Deal Sites Really That Great Of A Deal?…

    You have surely heard of the many Social Discount sites that have been popping up all over the Internet, but are these deals really too good to be true?…

  • Personal Finance Buzz…

    Your story was featured in Personal Finance Buzz! Please visit and promote your article….

  • I wooted once, and still live with regret. Therefore, I have been avoiding those sites ever since. I know I am probably passing up deals, but I am saving by not searching for deals on things I probably don’t need!

    • I could never figure out how that site worked. I think they just always ran out by the time I heard about the deal.

  • Just yesterday I used a deal site for the first time. I signed up for Groupon months ago but only scoffed at the offerings; it’s not in my budget (nor do I have any desire) to buy gourmet cupcakes for any price, or massages or pet pampering. I was actually thinking of cancelling my e-mail subscription to it a few days ago but a deal came up yesterday and I grabbed it.

    I have been driving around with glasses missing one arm for a year or more; now, before you think that’s extremely pathetic – I have the weakest Rx possible (but it DOES help my driving, especially at night); the glasses stay up anyway (I have a good nose bridge, I guess), and I never wear them outside my car so it’s not like anyone would see them. But truthfully, they were old and scratched and I think that was responsible for some bothersome glare, the very thing the glasses were supposed to spare me from. I am seriously in money conservation mode and didn’t want to spend $100+ for an eye exam and even the cheapest frames; I priced it and it would be $150 minimum.

    The deal was for an eye exam (supposedly a $155 value), frames (cheapest ones $60) and lenses (starting at $110 or so) at a very nice place just down the street from me, and I think they built in some “reality room” for the lenses because they called it a “$385 value” for $50. I got it and will get my exam and glasses this week. Thankfully, I need nothing special so I may get out of there without spending anything over the $50 I already spent (or maybe $20 or so additional for glare coating) and that’s not bad considering it’s an exam, frames, and lenses.

    Of course the first rule, as you stated, is “don’t buy anything you don’t need and wouldn’t buy otherwise.” I really needed (well, wanted better) glasses and was waiting for a deal to come along.

    • Exactly, there can be a deal every now and then that can rally help you out. It’s all about controlling yourself.

  • I think those Deal sites are just a way to make you spend more money. It is too much temptation staring you in the face everyday. Look you can get a spa facial for 75% off. What a great deal!
    Nah, it’s nor for me. I just buy what I need and look for deals when I’m ready to buy.

    • Funny you should mention that because the only thing I’ve ever bought from one of those sites is a spa treatment for my fiance. It was a special occassion gift so I thought I’d get that instead of something more expensive at full price.

  • I use Groupon and Living Social, and I get the e-mails everyday. Like you mentioned, I don’t buy things I don’t need, don’t want, or I’m not going to use. If it sounds cool, but the place is far, then chances are I’m not going to buy it. I’ve been a member for a few months now and I’ve only bought one deal so far

    • I do that too. I’ve only bought one but they could be good for buy gifts for cheap.

  • When I first read the title, I thought, “Well *mine* is!” lol

    I get your point on daily deal sites, but I’ve been able to score a lot of really great bargains on things I either needed anyway or was considering. The $50 Gap certificate that I got for $25 a couple months ago was used on sale clothes for my daughters’ birthday gifts. That was a serious score!

    It’s also be a fun way to learn about businesses in our area that I didn’t even know about or had been afraid to spend the money. You offer some great tips for keeping it realistic, though – you always want to carefully consider any “deal” to be sure you don’t get caught up in the hype.

    • Yours is absolutely a great site. I was referring to all of the other deal sites that aren’t a part of the Yakezie. But I do agree that they can yield great benefits as well, if used correctly.

  • Thoughtful read. The purpose of the deal website is to present before the consumer an opportunity to save money without much time investment and product research. However, consumers need to acquire the habit of using coupons and deals in order to save the maximum amount.

    • Exactly, it’s a balancing act.

  • I’ve had great experiences with Groupon. I used one for photobooks for Christmas and spent $25 for a $100 certificate. I used a 50% off promo code and got $200 worth of gift certificates for $25.

    I also was in need of a visit to the dentist and had budgeted $100 to go to the dental school nearby for a cleaning, exam, and X-rays. Lo and behold, a Groupon came up for $49 for a dentist including a cleaning, exam, and X-rays. I got one for me and my husband and was still $2 under budget!

    I got a $15 Groupon for $30 at a costume store. They had $5 costume deals and I was able to get one of those and another clearance costume, covering my daughter for this year and next.

    If you’re a careful shopper, you can definitely get your money’s worth, but I agree that it’s no good if you’ll never use it.

  • I just wanted to follow up with a disappointing gripe about Groupon. I called for an appointment for my eye exam and was told there was a cancellation that day and I could come right in. When I mentioned the Groupon, I was told “I needed to know that at the beginning of this call – only one doctor here is participating.” Now I have an appointment for three weeks out. I guess they have a dozen eye doctors there and I have to wait for that certain one who will see me, who appears to be the youngest and newest member of the practice.

    I see that Groupon offers great deals on hotels sometimes. I wonder if the Groupon deal gets you the room in the basement next to the maid’s closet, and only on Monday nights in January. My opinion of Groupon has been lowered. For all I know, the cupcake deals might even go like this: “Oh, you have a Groupon? Let me grab the special tray of slightly stale and damaged cupcakes we have in this cabinet below, specially reserved for Groupon customers.” :o/

    • I hear ya, my fiance hasn’t redeemed her groupon at the spa yet so I’ll reserve my comment on some of what you said. That situation you had was probably a young doctor embracing new forms of advertising and didn’t clear it very well. I still think groupons are good because generally the business isn’t making money off of the deal. They’re trying to get you in and make a great impression so you come back.

  • Thanks for this useful post. The only deal site I actually use is – gives discounts to college students on a bunch of local businesses and restaurants and also on online vendors. I got 20% off at Macys and 23% off my Sprint bill through this site. I never abuse deal sites though, don’t wanna waste money i dont have haha

    • I use them as well. I actually did a post about them when I used them/still use them to get a discount on my sprint bill.

  • Then this might be of interest … :)
    “StudentRate is Now Open to Your Friends & Family: We are now open for your friends and family to join the StudentRate community. How Does It Work? Your friend or family member can visit and use their own email address (all email extensions will work e.g., .com, .net .us etc) to register, Select “I am a family member of a Student” during registration Enter your, when required, email address (.edu or alternate) They will receive an activation email automatically and can take advantage of thousands of deals/discounts.”

  • I have had very mixed results with these deals. There are things that I have bought that I have never used and there are others that I bought and I saved a lot of money on.

    My new rule is that I only buy something if I plan on using it in the next week or two weeks, otherwise I’m likely to waste my money

  • It’s great to have discounts. The downside of daily deals is the temptation of getting items thinking that they will have future use. Ladies should be warned about this every now and then. I think it’s our nature to look at little things and buy them without the immediate need.

    To control the spending, it’s always best to have a monthly list for things that are needed (not wanted).

    Best regards,


Write a comment