Post image for How to find and be alerted to great deals online

How to find and be alerted to great deals online

by David Spark on February 23, 2010

I hate to get screwed over on a deal. I feel like a complete sucker when I do. Most often it happens when I’m traveling. I purchase a trinket with some local artisan, and then four storefronts later I see the same item for half the price. It’s happened to all of us for one simple reason, we simply don’t understand the market. The more you know the value of goods, the less you get snowed. Luckily there’s a whole new market for Web-based and mobile apps that alert us to great deals and let us know whether or not we truly are getting a great deal.

Close-up of a discount coupon
Listen below or download my chat with Rob Black on his show on 910 KNEW about daily deals (Time: 11:00)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Daily deals straight to your inbox or Twitter stream

If you live in a major metropolitan area, you can take advantage of a series of services like GroupOn, SocialBuy, LivingSocial, and Center’d that offer up daily deals that you buy into. Usually it’s a situation of getting a $25 voucher for a $10 purchase now. The first three services have only one deal a day, but you can subscribe to a mailing list or follow your local Twitter feed to have local deals pushed to you.

Center’d offers up multiple deals every day, but only jump on if there’s a coupon code. Some of the information on the site and Twitter feed is just “things to do around town” and also telling you about deals that exist every day. For example, the site allows you to get a $25 voucher at a number of restaurants for $10. Center’d pushes those “any day” offers all the time. Wait till you see a coupon code that gives you a $25 restaurant voucher for only $2 or $3.

Be wary before you purchase.’s vouchers only count on certain days and times (sometimes only lunch and not dinner) and you must purchase a minimum of $50 of food, not including alcohol. They vary restaurant to restaurant, so read the fine print.

Are you getting the best deal?

If you’re in the market for a new electronic item, then start tracking it on Gazaro. Beyond just comparison pricing multiple retailers, this site tracks a number of other variables, like seasonality and how often an item goes on sale. When an item truly is a deal, it gets a deal score letting you know that this is the time to pick up your item.

Price protection is up to you

Even though not heavily advertised, most retailers have a price protection plan, meaning if you find the same product at a lower price at another location within 30 days, they’ll pay you the difference. The trick is finding that lower price is up to you. Luckily, the web has some services that will do the work for you. For most retail products, try PriceProtectr, and for airfares you can use Yapta.

Swap your old books, CDs, movies, and games for ones that are new to you

Even if something isn’t new, if you haven’t seen it, then it’s new to you. We all have a collection of media that we’re tired with. We often walk to a local bookstore to trade it in for a little cash or we give it away to Goodwill. Much of your junk is a treasure to someone else, and vice versa. The problem is who wants it, and who has what you want? The answer is Swaptree, a free service for matching people who have books, CDs, movies, and games they want to trade.

Hey I see something at a store I really want. Is it cheaper online?

Most of the time when you want to know about a deal is when you’re out in the real world shopping. It may not be easy to whip out your notebook, but you can check your mobile device and see if you’re getting a good deal with Save Benjis (iPhone), Walmart Mobile (iPhone, BlackBerry), Amazon app (Android), and MobiQpons (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android).

Looking for a great deal? Ask your Twitter followers.

While all these tools are great, the best resource for finding great deals is your social network. Looking for a coupon code or maybe advice on a product or deal? Go ahead and make a request to your Twitter followers. You’ll be surprised with the results. Read my tale of how my Twitter community saved me $150 on the purchase of a new HP computer.

For more advice, read my article “Sites, tools, and tips for saving money.”

Previous post:

Next post: