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The Pros and Cons of “Daily Deals” Websites

If you’ve never heard of or had any experiences with a “daily deal” website, please allow me to enlighten you. If you, like many of us, are shoppers at heart but have a pension for finding a deal, there are some websites set up to help satisfy both of these desires. Some sites are more reliable than others. Some are more specialized than others. And, some are just not worth your time and efforts at all.

Matt’s Top 5 Daily Deals Websites:

1. Woot!: Woot is the originator of the daily deals sites. I have purchased Woot on more than a few occasions and have never had an issue of any sort.

2. Yugster: Another trusted site with a great track record. Although they specialize in electronics, it is a broad enough subject to get a great array of products.

3. goingTODAY: I have used and read great reviews for goingTODAY. Despite their simplistic layout and relatively wide range of products offered, there are still some great finds here.

4. MidnightBox: Three deals to choose from, and wonderful customer service ratings. Oh, let’s not forget the killer deals! What more can you ask for?

5. Daily Steals: Despite the cheesy layout, Daily Steals is actually a worthwhile website. You will find mostly electronics here, and they are usually on the lower end of the price scale, which makes it a great place to find accessories.

The Good:

Inexpensive Deals

The most appealing feature of nearly all existing daily deals websites are the prices. It is very easy to check a number of these sites and end up finding something you have been looking for elsewhere for a much better price. If you’re thinking, “These sites will ultimately screw me over with a significantly higher shipping price,” you’re wrong. Many of these sites offer very inexpensive (or free) shipping, making the deals even more irresistible.

Ability To Profit

This strategy is for the entrepreneurial spirits out there. If you are willing to invest a bit on some of the advertised deals and temporarily hold the inventory, you may be able to make some money on the side. Of course, there are risks. Many of these sites offer refurbished products, which can make them harder to resell than new products. There is also a chance that the products have been or will be discontinued. While this does not make a huge difference in what you can sell them for, many people would rather have the newer model.

Fun

In addition to profitability and deal hunting, scouring daily deals websites can be just plain fun. You may come across items you never knew existed, or even variations on items you may have been eying elsewhere. A few of my friends know exactly when these websites put up new items, and whenever they can, they check those sites the very second a new deal is offered to make sure they get in on the deal.

Shopping Online

Although I often take it for granted, there are many perks to doing any shopping online as a whole: 24/7 availability, no waiting in line, shopping for your unmentionables…you get the idea. It is commonplace these days to get many of our purchases online, which may make you forget at times what a hassle it can be to actually go to the store.

Great for Gift Ideas

I can often find great gift ideas for upcoming birthdays and holidays by checking these sites. Sometimes I’ll buy gifts way in advance of an occasion or take note of certain deals that catch my eye for a future purchase.

The Bad:

Encouraging Unnecessary Spending

I’m not a very big fan of shopping for the sake of shopping. I’m all for window shopping, but for people lacking self-control (like my little lady), these sites encourage spending on items that are often non-essential. I prefer to use tools like these websites to find items I would have purchased anyway. I actually can not remember one instance in which I bought something from one of these sites on a whim. Stay disciplined!

Product Availability

I can’t tell you how many times I have checked a daily deal site “too late.” What I mean by that is, there is often only a certain number of the featured product available, like with Groupon. That means, when they’re gone, they’re gone. Missing your window can be very irritating, but that’s how it goes sometimes when you’re looking for that amazing deal.

Another “Time Killer” Online

In addition to all the other Internet surfing that you do, you can end up spending a significant amount of time perusing these daily deals websites. While you may believe that this is a weak argument on the “bad” side, I disagree. You know full well that there are better ways you could be spending your time than searching for deals on products that you have no use for. I’d suggest signing up for some email lists for your favorite daily deals websites and checking these emails daily. This consolidates everything into your inbox. If you’re looking for a specific product, you can set email alerts on some of these sites if that product or a similar one ever comes up as a “featured deal.”

Returning Items

From what I have read, most of these sites have good customer service and fair return policies. But the handful of bad seeds out there make me wary of purchases until I have carefully reviewed the website policies and checked out their Members Community (if applicable) to read stories from customers about defective or unwanted merchandise. Just be either 100% sure you’ll keep the product or read the fine print closely before purchasing the product.

What do you think about daily deals websites? Do you have any favorites?

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Matt Breed
You are looking at Matthew Breed. He is a 30 year old sports nerd who lives in North Florida with his fiancee, Sarah. Originally in school for a Business degree that did not work out due to capricious youth and irresponsibility, he is currently "getting past" his Peter Pan syndrome and attends classes for a degree in Information Technology while working full time. His care for personal finance stems from a modest upbringing with fiscally responsible parents who highly value education and frown upon frivolity.

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