Your Guide to Using Daily Deal Websites

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DealsDaily deal websites are a group of sites that offer deals, coupons and discounts from various other businesses. The deals in question could be for physical products, services, days out, or even holidays. New deals, as the name may suggest, tend to be added every day but they all either have limited availability or are only valid for a certain time. By far the two most prominent of these sites are Groupon and Wowcher, though there are a number of other websites around that fall into this category too.

These sites can be great money-savers, but it is also possible to make mistakes with them. If you want to get the most out of these sites and ensure you get good value out of them, there are a few things to bear in mind.

Always Check the Newsletter

If you want to get the most out of these sites, then the first step will be to make sure you don’t miss deals you might benefit from. The easiest way to do this is simply to sign up for their newsletter (this will usually be the first thing they ask you to do when you visit their site), and make sure you take the time to look through it every time it pops into your inbox.

Check Postage

This is always good practice when shopping online, but especially with daily deal websites. Postage is generally different for every deal offered and is generally hidden in small print away from the main price. Often, a bargain deal comes with free postage. At other times, small items come with a seemingly excessive postage charge of several pounds, and this can represent a significant portion of the overall price and easily be enough to turn a good deal into a bad one.

Shop Around

When the item being offered is a physical product, it can pay to look around the web a bit. While all the items being sold on these sites are discounted, prices are only reduced relative to the price usually charged by the specific business that is making the offer, and this may not be cheap. It is not uncommon to find the exact same product cheaper elsewhere – notably on eBay or Amazon – and at the very least finding it on a site like Amazon may also give you a chance to see customer reviews.

Don’t Buy Unnecessary Things

These kind of websites rely partly on impulse buying, and while the newsletter might be a good way to ensure you don’t miss deals it can also serve to encourage unnecessary purchases. The idea is that you see something that looks nice or fun, the price seems good, and it has quite a big discount applied, so you buy it quick before the item runs out and worry later about whether you should have done so. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself sometimes, but for the most part you should actively avoid this kind of buying behaviour. Think carefully and try to be sure that an item is something that you would have bought anyway, something that will be genuinely useful, or just generally something you won’t regret buying later.


Getting the Best Bargains on eBay

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ebay logoOnline shopping has transformed the way we buy things, but eBay in particular is a marketplace unlike any other. Businesses and individuals with second hand items are found side-by-side. “Buy it Now” items from countless independent sellers alongside the auctions which form eBay’s flagship feature.

The auction and selling site can be a great place to find bargains, but it is also easy to get stung or carried away with an auction and end up paying over the odds. Tactics you can use to help make sure you get good bargains include:

Don’t Rely on eBay Alone

Very often, the cheapest prices can be found on eBay – but this is definitely not something you can assume. Look on other sites like Amazon to see if there are better prices out there, rather than relying on eBay alone to look for bargains.

Sort Your Results

Always sort your search results instead of leaving them on eBay’s default “Best Match” ordering. Which order you choose, however, depends on what you are looking for:

  • Cheap Auctions: Sort by “Time: Ending Soonest” to bring auctions that will finish soon to the top of the list. Look for items that are going to finish in minutes or hours and are still at low prices, and then items that you might want to add to your “Watch List” for later.
  • Buy-it-Now Bargains: Simply sort by “Price+P&P: Lowest First.” Don’t confuse this with “Price: Lowest First” which excludes postage charges and therefore doesn’t reflect the amount you will actually pay. With some items such as gadgets, however, you may find yourself sorting through pages of 99p accessories before getting to the item you want.
  • Second Hand Items: This is a little more complex. Most second hand bargains are listed as auctions, so sort your results accordingly. Buy-it-Now listings can and should also be checked as you would at any other time. However, if you have had a good look through the items and want to wait and see if you get a better deal another time, in future you should sort Buy-it-Now listings by “Time: Newly Listed.” This will bring listings that have been placed since you last looked to the top, and help you find bargain Buy-it-Now prices that might not last for long before being snapped up.

Bid Tactically

Don’t just bid at any old time – think carefully about when and how to bid. If you think the item may go for the starting price or not much more, it may be worth placing a bid as soon as you are sure that you want to. Other people are less likely to bid if they see that a bid has already been placed than if they see that nobody has bid yet, and this can put off competition. If you think other bids are inevitable, wait until the last day. This will help you see whether the price stays low enough to be of interest, and give other bidders less time to outbid you.

If you are outbid shortly before the auction ends and want to bid back, leave it until the most last-minute moment you can stomach. This significantly reduces the chance that the other bidder will simply, instantly outbid you again. However, don’t get carried away and pay more than you intend, or more than you would pay if you simply bought the item elsewhere.