Don't let your daily deals go to waste
Follow these tips to keep track of your vouchers and get the full value from them.
This post comes from Meg Favreau at partner blog Wise Bread.
I have an embarrassing admission: When I moved across the country six months ago, I left a small wave of unused daily deal vouchers in my wake.
I felt awful about it. I hate wasting money! But as my life got busy preparing for a cross-country move, I found myself forgetting expiration dates, meeting friends for goodbyes at non-coupon restaurants because they were more convenient and, in the end, leaving some vouchers because I simply ran out of time and couldn't find anyone else who wanted to use them.
Granted, I did have a lot going on at the time. That said, no matter how calm or busy your life is, it can be easy to buy a Groupon, LivingSocial, or other daily deal coupon on impulse and forget about it. If you're the sort of person who loves purchasing daily deals, but isn't always great at using them, follow these techniques to make sure you get the most out of your coupons. (See also: "Do daily deals make good gifts?")
Put deadlines on your calendar -- more than once. For months I put the expiration dates of my daily deals on my Google calendar, thinking that would be enough to remind me to use them. And sure, I'd remember ... two days before they expired. This left me scrambling to use the coupons. Now I also put a two-week warning on my calendar as well so I have plenty of time to plan.
Get deals with a buddy. My friend Chantal is my exercise buddy. When I see an interesting deal for dancing, spinning or another type of exercise, I'll forward it to her. If we both decide to get it, we're able to keep on each other to make sure we use the deal. This technique works for just about any deal, too. Before you buy, find an interested friend to check out a restaurant with you, do a spa day, or take a tour.
Use the voucher immediately. Why procrastinate? If you're a strike-while-the-iron-is-sizzling type (or a forget-that-the-iron-is-on type), use your deal as soon as you get it. Post continues after video.
Keep an entertainment folder. If you don't want to use your voucher immediately, you can at least print it immediately. Keep your unused vouchers in a folder somewhere prominent in your home, and when you're trying to think of where you want to eat or what you want to do, flip through your entertainment folder, grab a voucher, and go. You can also keep vouchers in your bag or wallet if you want to impulsively use one when you're out and about. Just make sure it's not one that requires a reservation.
Remember, you can use your vouchers after their expiration date. Even if you pass the deadline of the "promotional value" of your deal, you can still redeem the purchase value of it. For example, if you paid $15 for $45 of sushi and you forget to use the deal before it expires, you can still get your $15 with your voucher. It's always best to check the terms of your individual deal, but generally, this is the case.
Do you have any techniques for making sure you use your daily deal vouchers? Share in the comments.
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Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
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A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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