The Internet era has ushered in a completely new group of strategies for the average (and above-average) bargain hunter. For many, finding the best deal no longer involves spreading printed store ads across the dining room table every Saturday or Sunday morning. It involves a constant, almost addictive, impulse to keep yourself updated with online “deal sites” – websites that can change at any given moment. If you’re new to the game, here are a few keepers to get you started:
FatWallet had fallen to my #2 spot for a while, but the addition of the “Best Deals” page gave them a much-needed boost. After the downfall of the Windows Live cashback program, many were left alone in the dark, helplessly searching for a way to get some of their money back from common purchases. FatWallet has installed a very similar cashback program that can pay off on bigger buys from websites like Newegg, eBay, and Buy.com. Also, for forumgoers, the “Hot Deals” section of the FatWallet forums can’t be beat.
Slickdeals is like a simpler version of FatWallet…sort of. Its clean, primarily-text front page takes the term “user-friendly” to a whole new level, listing the newest deals first. However, beware of the phenomenon known to the SlickDeals community as the “SD effect”. When a deal shows up on the front page, it usually doesn’t last long – watch out for the dreaded “OOS”. Slickdeals also has a new feature: the simultaneous display of deals from all of the Groupon-type sites in your area, known as “Local Deals”. I can get $20 worth of burgers for $10? I’m in.
For hardcore bargain hunters, the best aspect about going to multiple websites is making sure that no stone is left unturned. Dealsplus users often find the “sleeper deals”: deals that most of the deal sites miss out on. For the visual learners among us (myself included), Dealsplus also implements an eye-pleasing “big pictures” strategy to their front page. A cool “plus” rating system – one “plus” for every person that likes the deal – also adds to the long-term value of Dealsplus. For people who don’t like communicating via forums, but prefer a comment system instead, Dealsplus is your site.
Company logo images are courtesy of FatWallet, Slickdeals, and Dealsplus respectively.