The gist: Save a ton of money on your online purchases with the most unique and bargain-savvy sites on the Web.
Bargain hunting is all the rage, so it’s pretty easy to find a good deal on something. But how do you find the best deals on unique items, or stuff that you actually care about? Coupon sites, right? Right, but they’re not created equal. When you’re looking for a good one, ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s your incentive to use the site?
- What makes it unique?
- Is the site easy to navigate?
- Are the deals updated frequently?
Since we’re right smack in the middle of holiday shopping madness, we thought now would be a great time to feature our four favorite coupon sites. They’ve got a great assortment of deals, that’s for sure, but their other awesome features put them leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
FatWallet takes the online shopping experience to the next level by giving their members three different ways to save money online. You can search for deals by category or discussion forum, but you can also make your purchases right through the FatWallet website for an extra 1% – 20% back. FatWallet gets a small commission for connecting you with a retailer, and you pocket some additional savings. You can search for deals by store, item, category or date. Do a search by “add date” to find the most up-to-date deals, or search for whatever’s most popular to find the deals everyone’s talking about.
Another thing we like about FatWallet is the user community. The FatWallet forums tend to attract some of the most highly knowledgeable deal hounds on the net. Why should you care? How else are you going to know if that “good deal” is really as good as it sounds, unless you do your homework? These people have probably done the homework for you, so it’s super easy to get sound advice before settling on a purchase.
Most deal sites dump a bunch of offers on you all at once, requiring you to hunt for the right bargain yourself. Woot! makes the process a little easier by offering one item each day at a steep discount. Although you’ll see a lot of electronics, there are plenty of other eclectic-but-practical items that make appearances. A sleeping bag? A hat? A pocketknife? You never really know what deal the day will bring, but that’s part of the fun. If you decide you need something more specific, you can probably find it on one of the affiliate sites like wine.woot! for wine deals, shirt.woot! for deals on original t-shirts, and kids.woot! for kids’ products. Oh, and if you still need all the deals all the time, they’ve got you covered there too. Their own version of the deal dump site is called deals.woot!. Woot! community members use it to post deals from all over the net.
You know why else we like Woot!? They give you lots of non-deal-related incentives to keep you coming back to their site. The copywriting is funny and quirky. Special “Launch Event” deals let you buy a gadget before anyone else on the Web can. Oh, and sometimes the daily item is a bag of crap. The “bag of crap” deal is your chance to buy something totally amazing or totally worthless. You won’t know what it is until it arrives at your house, but it only costs a dollar, so who cares? You might get a weird trinket, you might get a big screen TV! That bag of crap just might be the deal of the century.
GottaDeal is another daily deal dump site that’s clean and easy to navigate. Their search tool is one of the most comprehensive we’ve ever seen. It’s easy to sort the deal feed on the home page by up to five categories at once: retailer, product category, free shipping, date posted and popularity. The forums provide a great space to discuss deals and bargain hunting. The giant search bar at the top of the page is a nice touch too.
In addition to some solid search capabilities, GottaDeal maintains a super database of Groupon deals being offered all over the United States! And we’re not talking deals randomly yanked from the Groupon site; anyone can do that. This a database of Groupons you can order and redeem online, regardless of where you live. Simply put, you haven’t used Groupon to its full potential until you’ve tried this thing. Seriously.
4. Ben’s Bargains
Ben was sophomore at UC Berkeley when he started this “little deal site that could” from his dorm room in 2000. What began as a “hobby site” is now among the best deal sites on the Internet. Ben’s Bargains has an excellent sorting filter and devoted fan following of bargain addicts, but that’s not what makes it special. If you’re a only part-time bargain hunter, this site makes it easy to act like a full-time fanatic.
Once you’re a member, you don’t even need to check the site to get the latest news on the best deals. When you create an account, you can sign up for emailed deal alerts for certain items, like “Nike shoes” or “plasma TVs”. This makes easier to stay in the know for deals on items you actually care about. Alternatively, if you’re browsing and see a deal you like but can’t yet buy, you can sign up for deal updates by clicking the “watch this deal” button. This lets you know if the price or deadline changes.