Many people see the half price deals that ARE EVERYWHERE, and are very skeptical. So, I wanted to explain how and why some of these are great bargains and truly legitimate.
I post several deals a week from sites that offer “vouchers” for half price deals. I use them ALL THE TIME. But, many people say that they feel that “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!” In many instances, that is true. But, when you get familiar with the world of coupons and saving, you will find MANY deals that are just as true and good as they sound.
How the vouchers work
So, as an example, these sites will sell you a $50 voucher for dinner at a local restaurant for $25. This is not a gift card. It is a VOUCHER that comes with a few conditions. Most of them will have the following limitations:
*Must use the whole value in one visit.
*Tax, gratuity and alcohol are not covered by voucher.
*Promotional value (the $25 you get free) will expire within a set amount of time, but the Paid Value (the $25 you paid for the voucher) may not expire for five years, or maybe not at all.
*Only one can be used per visit/table.
These conditions are not really that awful if you think about it. You are getting $25 free to spend on a $50 dinner. It isn’t hard to spend $50 on a dinner at all these days! I think that the point of issuing these from the restaurant’s side is that NEW CUSTOMERS may try them out and since REPEAT CUSTOMERS have some free money to spend, they may spend more than usual. They may splurge for dessert, or buy more drinks since the food is cheaper. They haven’t met me, yet! I’m going to spend as close to $50.01 as possible! 😉
Other than those possibilities, I can’t fathom how small businesses make money on these deals. Think about it: they are giving you $50 worth of food for $25. The deal site has to get a cut of the $25 that you paid. So, really, the restaurant has to be getting far less than half. So, new business and higher tickets have to be their goal!
Getting the most out of the half price deals
On the other side of that coin, I can “vouch” for the fact that – as a consumer – they are awesome! I use them frequently. Another great thing about them for the consumer is that many of the sites that sell the vouchers offer a credit if you refer a friend who signs up through your link and buys a deal themselves. For that reason, I refer people to these sites as much as possible and many of my deals are paid for with credits, meaning my $50 voucher costs me ZERO. Because of this, my family has been able to do MANY activities and dinners out that we wouldn’t have been able to afford without the vouchers. We have also visited MANY local tourist attractions that locals may take for granted because “we live here, we’ll do it someday”. We have done the Gator Farms, Swamp Tours, Audubon attractions, Santa’s Secret Workshop and tried countless new restaurants for little or no cost because of the deeply discounted vouchers and paying for all or part of them with referral credits.
In our economy, families are not traveling as much as they used to. So, the trend is to do STAY-cations instead. These voucher deals will help extend that budget as well as patronize your local businesses!
These sites are very popular right now and it seems that there is a new one everyday! Here are some that I prefer and know to be legitimate. Of course, the links below are my referral links, and I would LOVE for you to use them! Then, be sure to share this info and YOUR referral links with your own friends!
For both local AND national deals like Starbucks, Old Navy, Coldwater Creek, etc, the most well known and reputable sites are below:
Get $10 when you refer a friend and they buy the deal. Your credit may not show up until after the offer is over, so you can’t use it on the same deal that you are referring. GROUPONs usually have a minimum sale requirement before the deal goes live. In other words, if you buy it (actually commit to buy at this point) and that minimum isn’t reached, then you aren’t charged. But once it is, whether the threshold was 10 or 100 sales, then your card will be charged and you will get the voucher within 24-48 hours. Honestly, I have never seen one no meet the requirement.
MY FAVORITE!!! Most of their deals include an offer called ME + 3 = FREE. You are given a special link to refer people to that specific deal. If 3 people buy that deal using your special link, yours will be refunded in full!
I often set up what my readers call STACK EVENTS. I will post the original link for people to buy the deal through. #1 buys the deal, then comes back and posts their special link below mine. #2 and #3 do the same which makes mine free, so I delete my link. When #4, 5 and 6 buy, they use #1’s special link and hers becomes free. She deletes her link and #2 steps up and so on. See the green guys below? They represent ME and Buyers #1 and #2…#3 is still orange because a 3rd person hasn’t bought yet.
Confusing?? A little, but we all try to help each other out and by doing this, about 35 of my readers got FREE Sam’s Club Memberships last year. Plus, getting free things is worth a smidge of effort and attention in my opinion.
Notice in this picture, all 4 of the little men are green. My 3rd person bought and my deal became FREE! So, it’s fairly easy to keep up with where you are in the scheme of “me + 3 = Free” with these little guys. You also may get an email and/or a notification on your account on the Living Social site as each person buys. However, if it is a HUGE national deal, this system frequently gets behind. So you really have to watch it if it is a really big national deal.
For LOCAL DEALS, these are my favorites:
This is offered through radio stations like B-97. They offer $5 credit when a friend signs up and buys any deal. This credits instantly. They offer deals like Audubon attractions, The Mortuary Haunted House, Santa’s Secret Workshop, Global Wildlife as well as a few national online deals like Saints (ok, any NFL team) earbuds, sunglasses, etc.
This is my newest favorite because they have lots of offers for the Northshore. They credit you $10 per friend referral with purchase and it’s pretty much instantly. Recently, they have had Bear’s Grill, Coscino’s Pizza, Rotolo’s Pizza and Lee’s Hamburgers for our area. Currently, they have a Haunted House in Tickfaw and Bistro Orleans in Metairie available.
I hope that I have given you some clarity into how these deals work and also some confidence that they DO work. Because, half price on anything is a great deal, but if you are able to use free credits to cover the half that you pay, it’s even better!
About Northshore Mama
Kari, born and raised on the Northshore, began Northshore Mama after her family experienced a couple of rough financial years. Kari shares the tips and tricks to maneuvering each store’s different marketing of their sales, as well as introducing her readers to various programs and websites where she earns free stuff every day. Northshore Mama’s mission is to bring you the coupon deals and show you how to match them up with each store’s weekly sales to get the most bang for your buck!