The Temptation of the Daily Deal

Each morning, my inbox is full of messages about a great Daily Deal that will expire if I don’t purchase by midnight.  It all started with Groupon and then I added other local & national deal sites as they’ve popped up with enticing discounts. The Deal may be a great discount – but that doesn’t mean it’s a good deal to you. Let’s look at the thought process of a Deal in order to avoid the temptation to buy when it doesn’t fit within your budget. Scarcity Motives Action Scarcity is a key ingredient to success of the Deal.  As consumers, scarcity is not a good thing – it motivates us act quickly and sometimes without logical thought.  Take a moment to understand the deal and your family budget before buying. Questions Before Buying Is this a product, service, or experience you were planning on purchasing? Does the Deal purchase plus any transaction overage fit within your budget for that category? Have you bought from this business before and would you return? If it’s a known business or product, how many Deals would you realistically use before the expiration date? Is this business about to close?  Do you need to use the Deal immediately to be sure? What is the fine print of the deal? The Fine Print Expiration dates – Sometimes there are two: one for the promotional value and then a later date or no expiration date for the purchase price.  This means that if the Deal was for $40 of merchandise for $20, you’ll need to redeem it within the shorter period to get the $40 value.  If you wait, then you still have a $20 gift certificate for that business but miss out on the $20 freebie portion. Days and Times – Many restaurants will limit the deal to dinner when prices are typically higher and you might order an adult beverage that is not included in the Deal price.  Some even exclude holidays or weekends. One time visit – The paper certificate you print off the site is not like a typical gift card.  You must use the value during one visit. The Dairy Queen deal for a $15 purchase for $7 was a bargain, but not to us since we typically only spend $8 in a visit. Locations – Sometimes the only franchise location offering the Deal is 30 miles away and not the one right down the street. Best Deals The best Deals are going to be for purchases that are part of your budget and places where you are a returning customer.  You know the business and you are really capturing the savings because you were going to buy there anyway. Normal gift cards that hold a balance and can be used over multiple transactions are more flexible than paper certificates that have to be used during one visit. Rewards in Sharing Just like we learned in Kindergarten, sharing is a good thing. Each Deal site has its own referral program.  You might get the Deal for free if 3 of your referrals via email or facebook buy the same deal.  You might get a $10 credit on the site for a future purchase if one person uses your referral link to purchase the deal. If our family wants more than one Fandango deal, I’ll refer the link to my husband and daughter.  My account gets the rewards and we all head to the movies for less than half-price! Out of sight, out of mind Be sure to print off your Deal as soon as it’s available.  I have my Deal accounts set up to send me reminders before the Deal expires just in case it slipped my mind. We keep all coupons, gift certificates, and Deals organized in plastic sheets in a binder.  When it’s Date Night, we head to the binder for our pre-paid options. Alternatives to Daily Deals Entertainment Books in some markets are great deals. The small investment upfront of the book price pays off time & time again.  Wait a few months after the release of the new book and get it for less. Restaurant.com typically has some kind of promotion for a percentage off, but we like to wait for the 80% or 90% off Deals.  We still use the same criteria of calculating total cost of the transaction, evaluating our experience with the business, and whether the place will still be in business next month. Daily Deals can be a great way to save money if you understand how to overcome the temptation to take advantages of a deep discount and take a moment to evaluate the best Deals for your budget! Do you routinely purchase Daily Deals?  Where do you find your best savings?  Did you ever have Buyer’s Remorse?  Meet us in the comments! Image by  Arcady / Shutterstock Related Articles: 5 ways to get a deal on Ebay How To Negotiate To Get A Great Deal Christmas Deals 5 Tips For Going Out To Eat On A Budget How to track daily expenses 5 Simple Ways To Save Money Shopping Ask the Readers: Best Travel Sites & Discount Deals For Florida? Cherie is a small business accountant with a passion to teach others about personal finance -especially military families through the Financial Peace program. With her son & daughter at college, Cherie enjoys spending time with her husband of 23 years, quilting, and volunteering. The articles on this site are for entertainment purposes and should not be taken as financial advice. Please contact a financial professional for specific advice regarding your situation. Also, many of the CPF articles help us pay the bills by using affiliate relationships with Amazon, Google, eBay and others. Find out more here .

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The Temptation of the Daily Deal

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