13 Things Deals Sites Won’t Tell You

Attention shoppers: You'll get the best bargains on daily deals sites like Groupon, Living Social, and others if you follow these insider tips.

View as Slideshow

 

1. Hunt for deals outside of your area.

1. Hunt for deals outside of your area.  iStock/Squaredpixels
Do you live in Ohio but see a great deal in Seattle? Scoping out bargains in other cities might pay off. Quite a few “local” deals from national chains (say, Starbucks) are actually valid all over the U.S.—just read the fine print to double check.

2. Do your homework before you buy.

2. Do your homework before you buy.  iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund
Some vouchers, particularly travel packages, may be available for comparable prices—or even less!—on the vendor’s own website. For example, a promo may advertise that it includes a special breakfast, but a quick web search can reveal that every regular paying guest also gets the same deal.

3. Beware of overselling.

3. Beware of overselling. Milan Markovic
See a great deal for a haircut? If it says 100,000 are available and the coupon expires in three months, chances are, it’s going to be tough to redeem. No single salon can cut that much hair! Also be on the lookout for completely phony deals, like this unfortunate instance when a photographer offering vastly discounted photo shoots turned out to be plagiarizing her sample images.

Content continues below ad

4. Set a reminder for expiration dates.

4. Set a reminder for expiration dates.  iStock/ponsulak
No matter how great a deal is, it’s not worth anything if it expires before you use it. Twenty percent of Groupons go unused, according to a New York Times article. To avoid wasting coupon vouchers or frantic scrambling, follow this simple rule: As soon as you make a purchase, automatically set a reminder alarm on your calendar to go off a week before it expires.

5. Consider secondary markets.

5. Consider secondary markets. iStock/StockRocket
Sites like CoupRecoup provide a marketplace in which buyers and sellers can trade coupons from sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Social Buy. So if you’re bummed you missed the window to snag great theater tickets before they sold out, or if you bought a hotel deal that you can’t redeem before it expires, try these sites.

6. Sometimes, the site will pay you.

6. Sometimes, the site will pay you.  iStock/Nikolodion
For example, you can get $10 for every friend you refer to a Groupon deal, for a maximum of $100 Groupon Bucks. This could translate into a one-night stay at Vail Cascade Resort & Spa in Colorado, or dinner for four including wine and appetizers at a Manhattan restaurant. (You can also play the online game Clicky for a chance to win free Groupon Bucks.)

Content continues below ad

7. Don’t expect the best service.

7. Don’t expect the best service. iStock/kali9
Unfortunately, there’s a downside of saving big. Many merchants might treat you differently when you come in toting a deal since they expect smaller tips or none at all. On that note: Remember to tip your servers based on what the meal or service would have cost pre-discount. Since vouchers can lead to a large influx of customers, some restaurants might do crafty things like skimp on more expensive ingredients at a buffet, or eliminate signature dishes. Buyer beware.

8. To get the best deals, you need to personalize your account.

8. To get the best deals, you need to personalize your account. iStock/Wavebreakmedia
On Groupon and similar sites, updating profile preferences gets you better offers that are more suited to your interests and lifestyle. No more of those annoying Craft Beer Fair promotions when you’ve developed an allergy to everything with the word “Bud” in it. If you see a deal you like, click the heart icon and more options like that will get thrown into your mix. Some apps will even go a step further in getting custom-tailored to your interests. dealBoard is a free iPhone app that personalizes your selection of deals by learning about your interests as you swipe deals up when you like them and down when you don't.

9. You don’t have to pay for vouchers in advance.

9. You don’t have to pay for vouchers in advance.  iStock/Paolo Cipriani
Sites like ScoutMob offer 50% off vouchers—for free. You just have to “collect” the deal offered each day and have it sent to your phone or email, then show it when you head to a restaurant.

Content continues below ad

10. Psst: You actually don't need to join all of them to find the best deals for you.

10. Psst: You actually don't need to join all of them to find the best deals for you.iStock/franckreporter
If you don't have time to sort through all the endless promotions, try the Aggregator of Wallet-Friendly Deals: Yipit.com, which amasses over 30,000 offers per month from over 800 daily deal sites (including Groupon, LivingSocial, Gilt City, Google Offers and more). It then filters the savings based on where you live and your interests.

11. Some sites are more discreet than others.

11. Some sites are more discreet than others.iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund
At newcomer Savored.com, for a $10 reservation fee, you get special pricing (typically 30% off your bill, and for once, that’s alcohol included) at premier restaurants across the United States. When the bill comes, no need to be embarrassed by coupons; you're already in their system and the deductions are automatic. Invite your friends to join and get $10 for successful referrals. Bon Appétit!

12. You can literally see the world on a shoestring budget.

12. You can literally see the world on a shoestring budget.iStock/manjik
Sites like Priceline.com or Hotels.com have excellent seasonal deals, but for practically free travel accommodations try house-swapping sites like Digsville which serves 55 countries around the world.

Content continues below ad

13. It's not just luxury purchases; you can save big on everyday items.

13. It's not just luxury purchases; you can save big on everyday items.iStock/Steve Debenport
For a small handling fee (about 5 to 50 cents per coupon), choose from a selection of thousands of coupons on sites like Coupon Clippers to save big on name brands. When Reader’s Digest editors tested the site, our total outlay to the Coupon Clippers came to $6.64, including the cost of coupons, postage, and a 50-cent administration fee. The savings came to $61.75 when we redeemed the coupons at face value. Some stores will double coupons, creating a savings of $123.50!

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.