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Get the Most From Daily Deal Sites

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For Women & Co., by Erin Rooney Doland, Unclutterer.com

Over the past few years, I've been able to save a good amount of money on services I need through daily deal sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, Google Offers, Amazon Local and Gilt City. If you also have used these sites, you know that although they can save you money, there are some downsides. In my opinion, the first downside is that in order to see the offers, you have to be inundated with daily emails. Second, you have to manage the deals you purchase to be sure you use them before they expire and according to their terms. Third, you have to do your research to know if the deal is actually worth it. And finally, you have to fight the daily temptation to buy things you don't need.

The more organized you are in accessing and managing daily deals, the easier it can be to save money on what you need and have a pleasant, positive experience. To keep the clutter out of your daily deals, I recommend these organizing strategies:

Offers

If you don't already have a Gmail account, I recommend getting one. What's nice is that Gmail allows you to create specific email accounts under your main email address to funnel and filter messages into your account. For instance, you can change your regular email address (your.username@gmail.com) into a specialized one by adding a modifier (your.username+any.alias@gmail.com), which would look like joe.smith+groupon@gmail.com. Once you've established the funneled address, you can apply a label and behaviors to all incoming messages with that specific account. I automatically mark all of mine as read and label them as DailyDeals. Once a day, I look at all the emails labeled DailyDeals and see if any of them interest me. To learn how to apply labels in Gmail, check out their guide to "Using Labels."

If funneling and filtering isn't your style, you can sign up for these deal sites through Yipit and only receive one email a day with numerous sites' deals included in the message. I'm not personally a Yipit user, but the reviews are very positive.

Purchased Deals

After you purchase deals, you'll need to keep track of them. Many of the deal sites have corresponding applications you can download for free to your smartphone (iPhone and Android, at least), so you can carry the deals you purchased with you wherever you go.

Simply organize all the deal site apps into one folder on your phone and you'll have your receipts with you when you want to redeem them for services. These apps usually organize the deals you've purchased by expiration date, so you can see which ones you need to use immediately.

If you don't have a smartphone or if you would rather not save them in apps on your phone, sites like DealsGoRound let you store all the deals you've purchased in a virtual web-based "wallet." One of the nice features of DealsGoRound is a forum for selling unwanted deals you've already purchased to people who want them. This feature is especially helpful if an expiration date is quickly approaching and you aren't sure you're going to be able to use the deal while it's good.

About Women & Co.:
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