You might have noticed I’ve taken the time to share more “daily deals,” such as Groupon and Tippr. These sites have become hugely popular – and with good reason. In many instances, you can score 50% or more off of goods and services where the savings may be trickier to come by.
If you had the opportunity to watch my webcast last Monday I talked about deciphering when a deal is a deal (you can still watch the recorded version by the way!). At one point in the webcast, I talked specifically about the importance of reviewing a Groupon-type deal before purchasing.
Last week, I stumbled upon what seemed to be a really HOT deal – pay $16 and get $35 of beauty products. Well, that’s more than half off right? I was so excited I posted the deal right away. Only I took it down 5 minutes later because I hadn’t followed my own advice – reading the fine print. I decided to check on shipping costs, so I went to the site and put an item in my cart to estimate shipping. It was $12 for ONE item.
So here’s the “wacky math”:
Buy $35 worth of items
Less $16 you paid
Plus $12 in shipping
Total spent: $28
Total saved: $7 (20%) 🙁
When I took the time to crunch the numbers, I quickly trashed the post. But I should’ve caught it sooner!
So what questions do I – and should you – ask before purchasing such a deal?
1. Is this something that adds value to my life? Is this something you’ve been really needing, wanting, or can use – or is it pure impulse? Be wary of the ticking clocks on the screen!
2. What can I buy with the voucher? $50 may sound like an awful lot of credit – until you check out the website and realize the cheapest item is $75. Make sure that you can reasonably spend the voucher without paying additional out of pocket OR that it works out to a good savings for you once the voucher will be applied.
3. What kind of store/restaurant/company will the voucher be used for? Check out the reviews of the restaurant you’re considering buying a voucher for – does it look worth it to you? If it’s an online store, how is their stock looking? Do they offer a reasonable selection of items to choose from? Is this a new company – or one that I might have to accept a level of risk in purchasing?
4. SHIPPING. Do not overlook this all-important cost! The best daily deals are the ones that include free shipping – such as this one from Soap.com I mentioned last week. Sometimes the voucher will permit you to redeem part of the credit towards shipping. That’s dandy, but you should still gage how much that shipping is going to eat into your savings.
Oh, and be sure to find a way to keep your vouchers organized. An expired, unused voucher is a sad, sad thing. Don’t let it happen!
I’d love to hear your stories. What have been your favorite Groupon (et al!) offers? Any other tips or tricks you’d like to share?
Photo credit Jakub Krechowicz