A recent poll from Ipsos Public Affairs found 24% of shoppers are likely to purchase a daily deal as a gift this holiday season. With my e-mail inbox showing daily input from Living Social, Groupon, Amazon Deals, etc. I find so many great offers that are hard to pass up. Though the values can be great, not every offer is a bargain. If you have some daily deals on your shopping list, consider these tips before you buy.
1. Get Creative
A daily deal makes for a fun present, but ripping open an envelope for a piece of paper lacks in excitement. To add a more personal touch, include a small gift that’s related to the experience. For example, pair a voucher for golf lessons with a set of golf balls, or a bottle of lotion with a massage certificate.
2. Stop Self Gifting
When you’re searching several sites to find the right deal, odds are you’ll find a few things you wouldn’t mind gifting to yourself. Before you know it, your budget is gone and your gift list is still full. To cut down on temptation, pick one site and stick with it. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?
3. Efficiency is Key
It seems like every local newspaper and TV station is now partnered with some sort of daily-deal provider. With so many different options available, you can waste hours skipping from site to site. To streamline the process, try using an aggregator such as Dealery.com. They collect all of the latest local offers in one place to increase convenience.
4. Dedicated to Deals
Most daily deal sites require you provide an email address to view their offers. Many might even send you several emails a day when new offers become available. If these are being delivered to your main email account, they can clutter everything up and provide some serious distraction. Keep your worlds separate by setting up an email account dedicated to incoming offers. This way you only have to check in once per day.
5. Go With Gift Cards
Some think gift cards are impersonal, but that number is shrinking. Considering they’ve been the most requested present six years in a row, the demand is definitely there. Gift cards have options a daily deal can’t provide, including no blackout or expiration dates for usage. Not only do gift cards provide more flexibility, they can be purchased at discount prices from sites like GiftCardGranny.com.
6. Read the Fine Print
Before you buy, make sure you know all of the deal’s details. Many times they have speedy expirations or are limited to select locations. If the recipient has to drive two hours just to redeem the offer, it’ll likely go unused. When giving daily deals as a gift, give them a more personal touch by taking a little extra time to write up the rules and restrictions. This way there’s no confusion about how it can be used.
7. Unload Extras
Despite our best intentions, some gifts just don’t work out. Whether you forget to deliver it or it’s apparent the deal you selected isn’t the right fit, there’s still a second-hand market where you can get rid of it. Sites like CoupRecoup allow you to sell unused daily deals for cash online, and shop for unwanted deals that have been discounted even further.
And my personal favorite tip! ;-> :
8. Read the Reviews
It’s important to remember daily deals ultimately serve as a promotional tool for businesses. Spending $10 for $20 worth of food might seem like a bargain, but it’s not so attractive if the restaurant repeatedly fails health inspections. Keep from getting burned by reading reviews before you buy. Yelp is a great place to study up on local businesses with reviews from thousands of users who’ve already sampled the fare. And checking out review bloggers is a wonderful resource as well.
(*Information shared with permission of Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. firstname.lastname@example.org)