Is the Deal of the Day Really a Deal?

Before you even begin your day your inbox is full with an assortment of daily discount deals. From housecleaning to spa services to restaurant take-out,  you are one click away from saving money. Or are you?

“I think these are great deals unless you spend more than you normally would,” says Nicole Middendorf, a financial adviser and mother of two toddlers. “If they are for things you would buy or do anyway, it’s a way to save money,” Middendorf said.

But the temptation is there to buy that scuba diving vacation package even if you’re afraid of the water, just because it seems like it’s a deal that’s too good to miss.

“It is the same as walking through a mall and buying something because it was on sale,” says Nicholas Olesen, a financial adviser in the Philadelphia area. “If you don’t need it or aren’t going to be going anyway, why spend the money just because it’s on sale?”

Charles Hooks, a father of two in North Carolina, scours the daily discount deals each day and is enthusiastic about the savings.

“If it’s for someplace where I shop or if it’s something I use, then for me it’s a no-brainer,” Hooks said.

Hooks says he doesn’t snap up every deal that comes his way and he often forwards the deals to friends, family or colleagues he believes might be interested.

Regular discount purchasers like Hooks say the buyer should beware of expiration dates and any fine print or conditions on the deals. 

Elle Kaplan, CEO and founding partner of Lexion Capital management in New York, says many people never get around to spending what they bought before it expires. 

“As tempting as it may be, very few will ever use the coupons,”Kaplan said. “I recommend against these sites.”

The best deals to purchase are the ones for businesses you already patronize and services you are planning on having done, but can get cheaper through the group deal.

Be sure to notice the fine print and the expiration, although some merchants say they will still make some kind of price accommodation for customers who arrive with outdated deals. And many of the deals will be worth the amount you paid for them after they expire rather than the deal you enticed into buying.

And if you feel like you have been managing money wisely and you’re ready to treat yourself to a small splurge, Ori Pagovich, with Gotham Financial, says you may find that special something in a group deal.

“Whether it’s leisure activities for your kids or clothing and accessories to pamper yourself, the price points are compelling,” Pagovich said. “It’s a great way to enjoy life without nickel-and-diming oneself.”