If you’re like me, you’ve got an e-mail subscription to every “deal-of-the-day” site in existence and stay on the lookout for more. Whether you’re a Groupon groupie, or a Living Social fanatic, you can be guaranteed there are some awesome deals to be had on a daily basis. However, not every one of these deals is really the right steal for you, and if it is, there’s probably a pretty good reason for that. If you consider that most businesses lose up to 75% of the original cost after they pay around 50% to a company like Groupon, you might want to consider why they’re willing to take such a big hit. Here are some of the things to consider before you invest in that big deal.
Anything where your safety is at issue.
I recently saw a daily deal for more than half off of a sky-diving session. Call me crazy, but when it comes to something like this where your life is possibly at stake, you should probably stick to highly reputable businesses at the real price, regardless of the cost. Nothing is worth any discount when safety is involved. Things like plastic surgery, botox and hair-removal could easily fall into this category as well.
If it’s questionable when you would use it.
Think it sounds good, but not sure when you’d really go cash it in? Stay away. Unless it’s something you really need or really want, then there’s a really good shot that you’ll just waste your money on a coupon you’ll never cash in. It will always seem like too much effort to print out the coupon, too much work to drive somewhere and see what it is, etc. Rule of thumb: if you didn’t already want it or need it before you saw it in your email inbox, then don’t buy it. These guys survive off of impulse purchases.
Always check the original prices
Make sure you actually go check out the site’s website and see if their original prices really were 50% more. You don’t want to get scammed thinking you got half off only to realize some business just momentarily raised their prices 60% to make it look like a 50% mark-down.
Check the reviews.
Never buy anything without saying what your peers had to say. Go to yelp.com and see if other people like the place/product/etc. A good deal isn’t a good deal if the end result is poor. No meal is worth the 70% off if you can’t choke it down.
Bottom line: if it really is discounted what it says it is, if it has positive peer reviews, and if it’s something you really did want and need prior to seeing it online, go for it. Just make sure you’re not getting scammed, and make sure it’s nothing that could harm you or your health. Outside of that, you should be okay. Take advantage of the applicable deals and start saving!
Guest contributor Tara Alley is a freelance writer dedicated to helping others maintain frugal, eco-friendly lifestyles. She is currently researching affordable espresso machines and coffee makers as she works alongside Coffee Home Direct. You can follow her on Twitter @hopesiempre.