Do Daily Deals Encourage Overspending?
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By now you probably have heard of or patronized daily deal sites such as Groupon and Living Social. I receive emails from nearly a dozen of these every day offering services and products for 50% off or more. In the past few months I have taken advantage of these for movies, restaurants, carpet-cleaning and more.
It’s exciting to save money on these purchases but I had to start being more selective as there are so many deals. I love a good bargain so we developed these three rules when screening the daily messages.
Limit Your Spending, Even With Deals
Most offerings are less than $20 and my purchases in the last few months have ranged from $1-45 with the average being about $8-10. It’s easy to lose track of the number of purchases and the total dollar amount.
I learned the hard way to update the budget weekly to keep track of these little transactions which can add up to a big amount.
Buy Planned Purchases Only
Unless discussed with my husband, I don’t spend money on goods and services not in the monthly budget. So although I don’t know where we’re going to eat out or what we’ll do for entertainment this month, these are line items in our spending plan.
By taking advantage of daily deals we can stretch those categories even further and get more bang for our buck.
I must confess though that rule was necessitated by not following rule 1. That high-priced $45 deal I bought is for getting all the windows cleaned in our home. It is a good price, but not something absolutely needed at this time.
Keep Inventory of Your Deals
A large number of the offers are for restaurants and we love to eat out. Before we started keeping track of purchased deals I kept buying dining out offers until my husband put up the red flag.
The inventory will also help in keeping track of expiration dates. Most are good for at least six months but a recent Redbox Groupon had only two months to use.
I don’t have to look beyond my own household to see that it is easy to overspend on daily deals. Using restraint and a few simple guidelines can result in saving money and staying on budget. Do you have a tip on using daily deal sites?
Photo Credit: Farm6
I mean isn’t that the whole point of sites like groupon, to make people spend money? That’s the big misconception. They are well marketed as money saving devices, but the best way to save money is to just not buy at all.
I took myself off of many of those sites because I don’t need the additional temptation. I’m sure I’d buy more stuff if there were incredible deals to be had.
Good point about the purpose of the sites. I can resist most of the offers; but since we dine out anyway, I’d rather do it at 50% or more discount.
So true! I would emphasized the planned spending. It is not a deal if you are spending money you don’t have and accumulating debt.
If eating out is your thing, then those deals are probably for you, especially if your goal is to eat at new places when u do. However, I do think it encourages overspending. Its a fine line between trying new things, and trying wasteful things. I suppose if you are smart regarding your finances, a few splurges here and there wont harm you.
Stats I’ve seen say Groupon is a pretty raw deal when it comes to businesses because the people who buy them rarely return. Maybe they encourage overspending, but it seems like most people are just stocking up on them for things they would buy anyway.
@ Krantcents, I would hope people aren’t buying the daily deals if they don’t have the money. I can afford it, but want to keep on track with my budgeting goals.
@Moneyisthe root, I do like to try new restaurants and we limit it to once a week for the most part.
@JT, we don’t return to most businesses so you’re right. However, I found my current hair stylist with a daily deal and if she got even a few customers that way, it probably paid off for her.