The other day I scored a car wash and complete auto detail package which normally costs $230 for the low, low price of only $40. Yes, you read that right — $230 worth of car shine-up for $40. How did I do that? By buying a deal from the website Yelp, best known for being a one-stop site for all things local to your neighborhood. I use Yelp anytime I need to find a business because it has reviews from regular people who live near me, and I found my mechanic and my dentist through the site in the past. But now the site isn’t just for trustworthy reviews anymore, as they are offering coupons and deals that users can buy into just like another popular “deals” site, Groupon. Here’s how both of them work and how you can use them to save a ton of money on services or restaurants you may have been willing to pay for at full price anyway.
Yelp is one of my oft-visited sites on my computer and my iPhone. Filled with millions of reviews for restaurants, businesses, services in almost every metropolitan area in the country (I think they are in the UK now too), I use it all the time. And business owners are paying attention, too — once I complained about a restaurant experience and the manager got in touch with me, offering me a gift certificate to come back and try his place again!
But now they have gotten in on the Deals game and are offering big discounts/coupons which locals can buy in to. Once you’ve bought your deal, you print out a certificate and present it to the business it is for. I cannot wait to use my gift certificate for my car detail, especially since I only paid $40 for it. My Mini needs a thorough cleaning before summer comes!
Groupon is a site that negotiates huge discounts, sometimes up to 90% off, at business in various cities around the country. Subscribers to the free service are sent emails every morning which include the daily deal in their city, and they have the option of then buying into the coupon offered for sale. After a certain amount of people say they want to buy in, the deals are “tipped” and are released on the site available for purchase. This is to ensure that enough people will buy the coupon to make it worth the company’s offer.
As of this writing, some of the deals in my area include an $88 90-Minute Swedish or Deep-Tissue Massage for $45, $20 worth of merchandise for only $10 at Barnes & Noble, and $90 worth of kids’ cooking classes for just $39. My last purchase through Groupon was for a $50 gift certificate to use at a Jackalope store — which I paid only $25 for. 50% off retail is a hard coupon to pass up, especially when I was planning on picking up some stuff for my yard there anyway this Spring.
If you haven’t at least checked out deal sites like these already, you are missing out. (Even Google thought Groupon was important, as they offered them $100 million for the company — which they turned down) They not only save you money on things you may be buying anyway, but they also can save you a ton on gifts for other people. Thinking of buying a gift certificate for a massage for your friend? Check to see if one is being offered at 50% off on these sites!
Have you tried any of these deals sites? If so, what has been your experience? Are there other ones we should also be checking out?