Money Talks, So Should You

Jana Says: How to save money on daily deal sites

Jana L.
by Jana L., Dimespring 30 (@saysjana)

If you are anything like me, you love a good deal. And with the plethora of coupon and daily deal sites, it’s easy to find money-saving deals on everything from exercise classes to salon treatments to restaurants to family activities.

And if you’re also like me, you get these deals delivered to your inbox every day, multiple times a day. After a while, it gets hard to ignore those good deals, particularly if your family has a small entertainment budget and these deals seem like a good way to stretch your dollar.

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However, if you’re not careful, those deals can actually cost you money rather than save it. Here are a few ways to use the coupons and deals to your advantage rather than wasting money. 

Scan the subject line. If it doesn’t seem like something you’re even remotely interested in, don’t even bother reading the email. Automatically delete the message. I do this daily. Why waste your time — and consider spending your money — on something that you’re not sure you’d enjoy just because it’s 50 percent off? It’s not a wise use of money, particularly when you can spend on something you would enjoy (even if that activity is full price).

Look at the geographic area. Not all deals are close by, and if you’re not careful you could wind up having to drive hours away to save $40. For instance, because of where I live, I get deals for the entire Philadelphia region, including places that are 60 miles from my house. More than once I have seen a whopper of a deal for restaurants but then I notice that the location is so far away, the money I’d save would be spent on gas to get there. Definitely not a money saving deal there.

No apps. Most of the deal sites have a corresponding app. Adding those to your smartphone is just another way to reach into your pockets. The apps pop up with the same deals as your email, but they’re harder to ignore (at least for me they are). To avoid confrontation with the deals, just don’t add the apps. The only time I add the app is when I need the barcode or the ticket; I add the app and delete it when I’m done.

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Read the fine print. When looking at the deal, and considering if you should purchase it or not, make sure to read the fine print. Look for expiration dates. Look for terms and clauses. Make sure the coupon you want is really the one you’re getting and is still available. There have been several times I’ve gone to purchase a coupon only to find out the one I wanted and would use was no longer available, although it was still being advertised. Buying what I didn’t want would have been a useless purchase.

Do the math. I know, I hate math, too. But when it comes to saving my family money, I want to make sure I’m actually doing that. If you’re going to purchase one of these coupons, make sure the deal you’re getting really is a good one. Sometimes, on the surface, they look fantastic but upon further inspection, they’re really not that cost effective. So, before you buy, check the full price and then check the discount. Don’t throw your money away.

I’ve used my share of these deals. But over the last couple of years, I’ve become a lot more savvy in how I use them. And instead of wasting money, I’m actually saving money. And having fun, too!

Readers, how do you save money with daily deal sites?

Jana is a freelance writer and founder of the blogger mentoring program Bloggers Helping Bloggers. She's also the creator of Jana Says, a general lifestyle blog discussing money, life, family, pop culture and everything in between. Jana is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on personal finance.