The Daily Deal Site Trap: Avoid Spending Money to Spend Money

by on August 5th, 2013
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For most of 2011, every single day seems to have brought with it a new daily deal site or a popularity explosion on an existing venue. Sites such as Groupon, Plum District, Eversave, and DealPulp indisputably offer substantial discounts for participating merchant stores and websites on a daily basis, but along with these discounts they offer something less beneficial for site subscribers – the impulse. Daily deal sites take the ancient supermarket practice of selling a sale and put it on steroids.

As a savvy shopper, you must keep your money-saving instincts from taking over and leading you down a path of buying products you don’t really need simply because they are “on sale.” While none of us are ever truly free from the temptation online shopping presents, basic tips can minimize the urge to click “Buy Now” when the “Close” button is a better choice.

Avoid opening emails from your daily deal sites upon their arrival in your email inbox. Unless you promote the bargains to your network or know that you are insusceptible to spontaneous purchases, read the subject line of your emails to discriminate between relevant and irrelevant deals.

You know the shops you regularly peruse by name and will recognize them in a subject line if they are featured on a deal site. If a site or shop that isn’t on your radar is featured, blow by the deal unless it focuses on staple purchases such as groceries or gas. The act of not opening the email is the equivalent of walking by a typically tempting shop window without stopping for a peek. When you click through the email, view photographs of potential purchases, and see the discount associated with a deal, the temptation to purchase a discount increases. Walk by the virtual window by hitting the delete button!

Why? The answer is simple. Spending $15 for a $30 gift certificate to a website you would never shop at without a gift certificate is not a savings of 50 percent. Instead, it is a minimum of $15 in increased spending. After you add the cost of shipping and handling (when applicable) to your purchase and, perhaps, spend over the amount of your gift certificate, your total unnecessary out-of-pocket cost may end up as high as $20 to $30 for a $15 savings coupon.

This ultimately reduces your discount percentage to 33 percent off versus the initial 50 percent discount, even if you are buying a needed product or service. A quick 33 percent off is an excellent deal when you obtain the discount for a store you were planning a trip to in the near future. The discount also remains a good investment when you purchase it for a retailer you shop consistently, such as a mass merchandiser or a large online marketplace. Your initial funds are recovered promptly and the discount will actually be a tangible savings instead of an impulse purchase.

The daily deal site road must be walked carefully if you want to avoid the potholes that lead to increased, unnecessary spending and maximize the consumer end of the experience. Apply the skills you use when retail shopping to deal sites, and you will stay ahead of your debt and emerge in the green.


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