More Than Double Your Budget with Daily Deal Sites

Guest post by Stephanie at Daily Deals by Brad and Stephanie.

I was skeptical of daily deal sites at first, but I decided to check them out since we’re always looking for ways to save money. In the first three months of using Groupon, I saved $150, with little effort. Now, I’m totally sold out on daily deal sites!

Maximize Your Budget

  • Only purchase deals for something you will use and with money you have in your budget already. For example, we allocate a certain amount each month for dining out. If we only use daily deal vouchers, then we have effectively doubled our dining out budget for that month.
  • If you want to purchase a daily deal voucher for a store or restaurant you’ve never been to, check online reviews (like Urbanspoon and Yelp) first. You don’t want to spend your hard-earned and painstakingly budgeted money on a place that’s sub-par.
  • Consider buying vouchers as gifts. I purchased half of my Christmas gifts from daily deal vouchers. That’s a savings of at least 50%! Plus, sometimes the daily deals give me gift ideas I wouldn’t have come up with on my own.
  • Subscribe to the daily deal sites for other cities that you visit often for work, or a city you are planning a vacation for. Not only will you double your budget, but you will get ideas for new places to visit in an unfamiliar locale.
  • Subscribe to multiple daily deal sites. Often, I have seen the same store or website offering a daily deal voucher on different sites. Usually, one has a better deal. See a list of recommended Daily Deal Sites here.

More Ways To Save

  • Refer your friends. Almost all daily deal sites have a referral program where, for each referral you give, you earn credit at that daily deal site. Some sites offer $10, $12 and even $25 in referral cash.
  • Shop through cashback sites, like Ebates and ShopAtHome when using online vouchers. Shopping at these sites mean you earn additional cash back on your online purchases. Before using your daily deal voucher, always check these sites first to see if you can earn money on your purchases.
  • Look for coupon codes to stack with your voucher. Some vouchers can be used in conjunction with coupon codes. If that’s the case, check coupon code sites like RetailMeNot for online vouchers or scour your mailers and Sunday papers for coupons to use with local vouchers.

Be Cautious

  • Check prices before you buy. Always check out the website to see what the prices are before you buy. A $20 voucher to a perfume store which you got for $2 is probably not going to be a good deal if the perfume store only sells perfumes which are $100 and up.
  • Find out if shipping is included. If it’s not, check if the daily deal voucher can be used towards shipping. If shipping is not included, you’ll need to factor that into your budget before determining whether purchasing the voucher is a good deal.
  • Can you buy multiple daily deal vouchers? Sometimes buying more than one will further your savings (as long as you’re still staying within your budget guidelines). However, many vouchers only allow you to use one per purchase.
  • Read the fineprint! Most of the daily deal sites have a very clearly marked section for “Fine Print”. Be sure to read it. And remember, never buy something because you feel pressured by the timer. If they do the deal once, they’ll likely do it again at some point.

Do you have any more tips for daily deal sites? Share in the comments below.

Stephanie and her pastor hubby Brad regularly compile the best daily deals from sites like Groupon.com and share daily deal tips at Daily Deals by Brad and Stephanie. They love using daily deal sites to buy gifts, stretch their budget and try new places!

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Comments

  1. says

    I am loving daily deals sites – but I’ve learned one hard lesson. Not all of the stores will ship to Hawaii, Alaska, or FPO/AP addresses, so check that first if it applies to you. I bought an Abe’s Market certificate, but they won’t ship to me. And the sites won’t refund over mistakes like that.
    Thanks for all the tips!

      • says

        I was going to use it as a birthday present for a mainland family member, but then I found another gift I really wanted to give… so I guess I’ll be giving it to a friend soon! I know she’ll like it, and that makes me happy!

  2. Christy says

    I recently found that the local news organizations offer daily deals in my area. It works much like Groupon, but is a bit more local.

    I didn’t see DealPulp on your list…are you not recommending them anymore?

  3. ACM says

    Another caution would be to double-check shipping charges. I recently purchased a deal that was 50% off but after shipping fees, it was far more than I would be spent for the item anyway…

  4. says

    I got the daily emails for a number of weeks, but there was only ever 1 deal that was something we would use — the $20 amazon.com gift card for $10. Everything else has been for stores, restaurants, websites, etc. that are either a lot more expensive than what we buy normally or else just not something we ever pay for! :(

    I finally unsubscribed from all the email I was getting… because I figured if I wasn’t willing to go out to a half-priced cooking class in Seattle then there probably wouldn’t be anything I *would* be willing to do! ;)

      • my Boaz's Ruth says

        I’m with Tammy, having found nothing to buy after several months of looking. It must really depend on how you are spending your money to begin with

        • Megan says

          I think a lot of this depends on where you are. I receive Groupon deals for Erie, PA and Living Social deals for Pittsburgh and I find that the Erie (smaller town) deals are much better and useful to us ($12 oil changes, for example). The Pittsburgh deals tend to be for overpriced spas, restaurants and other offers that I can’t afford even with the discount. It seems like the offerings are based on demand and in a major metropolitan area there is more demand for “higher end” deals. That’s too bad!

    • lyss says

      Interesting that some are saving so much money with groupon. I’m with you, I’ve never seen a deal worth getting! I did get the thredup box of children’s clothes from dealpulp, but that’s the only daily deal I’ve ever gotten, and I’ve been getting lots of emails! Maybe I should try some different ones, too.

      • says

        Oh, I should mention that I did do the ThredUp deal, as well. So that is 2 deals. :) But that’s also part of the reason I unsubscribed from all the daily emails — because any really good deals (like those two) will be posted here on Money Saving Mom (or hundreds of other blogs). :)

        I will take note of the comment about small town deals being better than big city deals! I signed up under “Seattle”, so maybe I should change it to a suburb! :)

  5. says

    We love deal sites and find that we are now more willing to try new restaurants. We hated trying new restaurants and spending money for what may be a less than stellar experience. Now we can be adventurous; if the restaurant isn’t that good, we are out less money. We have found some great new restaurants this way.

      • says

        When you purchase through Swag Bucks they give 27 swag bucks, but sometimes a Groupon deal will be the daily deal on Swag Bucks and you can earn hundreds of swag bucks for a Groupon purchase.

      • Kristin L. says

        I’ve bought 2 Living Social deals and 1 Groupon deal this week through through the Swagbucks “Daily Deal” page and got 315 Swagbucks for each one!! (So 945 Swagbucks total.)

        Just to give you some perspective, you can get a $5 Amazon gift card for 450 Swagbucks, a $25 Travelocity Hotel card for 349 Swagbucks, a $25 Restaurant.com card for 400 Swagbucks, or $5 cash to your Paypal account for 700 Swagbucks. (There’s a bunch more, but those are my favorites.)

    • Rachel says

      I just recently learned that, and earned about $25 worth of Amazon Giftcards in the last few weeks!!! WOW!!! It sure makes sense and it adds up fast…

    • Heather T. says

      that is what I was going to say, wait alittle into the day and see if swagbucks offers something to go along with the deal, it makes it soo much better when you are also getting something on the backend.

  6. says

    Great post, except I think it’s worth it sometimes to spend more than your budget for a deal- like on a 50% off gift card. If there’s a deal to get a $20 GC for $10 to a store I shop at every week and the limit is 10 cards- by all means I would buy $10 cards even if I had to borrow from next month’s budget (providing I had the money in savings to cover the cost). Most of us do the same things with stockpiling our groceries and toiletries- buy when prices hit rock bottom and enjoy the savings over several weeks or months.

  7. Shirley says

    I think these sites are excellent. I did over half of my Christmas shopping this way and spent way less than what I had budgeted for. Plus the majority of my family lives in UT and it was easy to find gift cards for places I know they enjoy and still be able to get a deal on them living in MN.

  8. Angie says

    I am just starting to use daily deal sites and loving it! I had a really positive transaction with dealpulp.com. They had great customer service.

  9. Kristin L. says

    I love daily deal sites too!! You can really save a lot of money — as long as you ONLY buy deals that you would be paying for anyway!!

    I cannot stress that enough!! ONLY BUY THINGS YOU WOULD BE PAYING FOR ANYWAY!

    It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of “saving money” that you can end up spending more than you would have in the first place. I always ask myself before I buy, “Would I be getting this haircut/eating at this restaurant/buying merchandise at this store if I WEREN’T getting it at a discount?” If the answer is no, then I don’t waste my money on the deal. Because at the end of the day, it’s not a deal if you are taking money out of the bank for stuff you don’t need or wouldn’t be getting otherwise.

  10. Kristin L. says

    Also, I have some more words of caution about buying restaurant deals on daily deal sites like Groupon or Living Social.

    Before you buy, I’d really recommend that you go check out restaurant.com FIRST to see if the restaurant in question is listed on there. It could be listed for even CHEAPER on restaurant.com, or you may decide to hold back on buying the daily deal if you know you can get it later on restaurant.com.

    Just the other day, I very excitedly bought a Groupon deal for $20 in exchange for $40 of food and drink at one of my favorite Indian restaurants. But then just today I found that SAME restaurant listed on restaurant.com — only $20 there would have gotten me a $50 voucher instead!! Blast!!

    • says

      I agree, except that Restaurant.com usually requires a minimum purchase which is more than the voucher, whereas Groupon doesn’t. Always read the fine print!

    • NV says

      I had a bad experience with a restaurant.com coupon. It was not accepted at the restaurant. We had bought two of them. The restaurant honored the coupon one time, but said they were only making an exception. They had discontinued the coupon with Restaurant.com, but restaurant.com kept selling it….for months. The second time they would not honor the coupon at all. I felt like it was a poor business decison for them, but I ended up losing too.

    • says

      I agree with Crystal – Restaurant.com is more of a coupon than a daily deal voucher (which acts more like a gift card). I also have found mostly ethnic restaurants there – which are great! But we find a lot more restaurants on the other daily deal sites.

  11. ZombieMommy says

    Yep, Mercedes at Commonsensewithmoney turned me onto the concept of checking through Swagbucks daily deals. I got 300 bucks for buying a deal I was already going to do.

  12. Erin says

    Heads up that the site “Home Run Deals” sends you a TON of emails. Several a day. They aren’t “spam” as much as telling you what deals are available but it is a ridiculous amount. They must send from several email addresses bc although I kept sticking them in my junk folder, new ones kept popping up in my in-box. I tried to “unsubscribe” several times and finally had to send a very strongly worded email to get my name off of their list. They might have good deals but the email and lack of customer service means that I will never use them. Just my experience, hope it helps!

    • says

      That’s good to know! I’ve never used them, but the mutliple emails a day would definitely make me unsubscribe! If you can’t stand getting all of the emails every day – feel free to check out our site for the compilations. Those emails are good for your local deals, though. Pick the sites you like the best and get rid of the rest!

  13. Julie says

    Buy Groupon’s with your Discover card by FIRST LOGGING INTO YOUR DISCOVER account and then clicking the link for Shop Discover. You’ll get 20% cashback on groupons. Knoxville’s deals are pretty good, but I’ve preferred a locally owned copycat of Living Social and Groupon, called Flutter Today, most often. I buy a couple a month of those and only about one a month of the others. Today for instance was two buffets at Cici’s for $5. Can’t beat that.

  14. says

    MooLaLa is another new Daily Deal Site. They are still in the process of rolling out, but with them, you can earn rewards (2%) on your purchases and those of your friends.