I am willing to bet that some of you readers, if not all, have at some point or another taken advantage of the increasingly popular “Deal-of-the-Day” sites. Unless you’ve been hiding under a Wi-Fi-free rock, you may have heard of Wagjag, TravelZoo, RedFlagDeals, TeamBuy or any of the other sites that give you some amazing– and sometimes not-so-amazing– deals every day. Sometimes you have to really read through the fine print to find out if there actually is a deal, as some of these can get really confusing in their conditions and inclusions. We’ve collected a few of the ones that we have first-hand experience with and will try to give you, Alma Latina readers, some pointers so that you too can take advantage of some wonderful deals available to your through the magic of the interwebs.
Red Flag Deals: I started visiting Red Flag Deals in its non-corporate days, when it hadn’t been swallowed up by the great corporate giants (The Yellow Pages Group, to be exact). Back then it was a very community-oriented website, a true bargain hunting and coupon forum where money-savvy people from all over Canada would post their great finds, tips, information, coupon codes, travel, parking, shopping tips and much more. It was an endless fountain of information: you could even get an education about shopping for a new car, international travel, banking and investment tips. I can’t say I use it much anymore because it seems that now it’s mostly about the stores that pay to advertise on the site and not as many people are posting on the forums, which was the place to visit for great tips. There’s a lot of information archived on it, however, and because of the popularity of the site, it really grew to include a great number of companies that advertise their sales and deals on the site, so it may be worth a visit every once in a while.
TravelZoo: This is a global Internet media company and it is the largest publisher of travel, entertainment and local deals. Once you subscribe to the site (either Canadian or American) you will receive a Top 20 list every Wednesday morning or a NewsFlash alert advising you of about relevant, time-sensitive travel and entertainment deals. Over the years we have enjoyed many a great deal to restaurants, plays, musicals, concerts and even some fantastic travel deals through TravelZoo. It’s always worth taking a look at the site, even if you don’t subscribe to the newsletter. But be careful, some of these deals expire after a couple or a few months, so make sure you use it within the allotted time. If you don’t, however, it’s been our experience you can still use the face value that you paid at any point in time.
WagJag: This is a Canadian online service company that offers group discounts on a variety of products and services, with most of them being local (i.e. Durham Region, GTA, etc). The idea behind it is that if people buy a product in large numbers, the company that offers the product wins because they don’t have to sell each product to individual consumers. WagJag is now owned by TorStar, which also owns The Toronto Star and Metroland. On the site there are now four categories: A Daily Deal, Grocery (this ranges from raw food and even pet food to cooking utensils, and delivery to your doorstep is available), Golf and WagJag Travel Jaunt, which features different local or international discounted travel packages.
Groupon: Its name derives from Group and Coupon, with headquarters in Chicago, and it features discounted gift certificates that can be used at a number of local and national companies. So each day Groupon features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in 48 countries. Categories of deals include Food & Drink, Events & Activities, Beauty & Spa, Fitness, Home & Auto and more. Current Toronto deals include $10 boat tours from Toronto Harbour Tours, $29 lunch or dinner Toronto Cruise Lines, $69 Steak-house dinner for two at posh Windsor Arms Hotel and $10 Glow-In-The-Dark mini golf at Putting Edge, amongst others. Groupon’s customer service is said to be one of the best (for refunds, complaints and such) and that might be the reason why it is probably one of the favourites amongst its competitors in Canada.
TeamBuy: A Canadian company founded in 2009, TeamBuy is credited with being the first of many Deal-Of-The-Day companies to market in this country. To this day, it is both owned and operated in Canada. This is another company that through collective or group buying offers some of the best deals to consumers, with discounts sometimes in the vicinity of 50 to 90% off. The site provides deals on a great variety of products and services in each of the local areas that it serves. Categories include electronics, home fashion, travel, health & beauty, local entertainment deals and even take out & Delivery and more.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many group discount online companies and a quick Google search will guide you to many of them. But these are probably the biggest and best known, and the advantage of their sheer size is the buying power that comes with it, so consumers get a great number of very good deals through them. It is important to always read the find print and see what exactly you’re getting and how long the deal is active for. It is also a good idea not to overdo it with the purchases, because just like shopping or gambling, this can get really addictive. And if you don’t want to be inundated with a thousand emails a day, it’s a good idea to sign up to aggregator sites like DailyDealTips or Cheep.ca, which round up all the deals of the day across each city every day and then email you the list daily, so you won’t have to comb through all those deals from each and every site hoping to find something you’re really interested in. So next time you’re thinking of going out for dinner or find yourself planning for a vacation at Niagara Falls or somewhere local, visit any of the deal-of-the-day sites to save a buck or two… or probably a lot more.