Moving to the United States can be expensive! You need to pay for rent and transportation and somehow manage to feed and clothe yourself while you are here on your own. If you are on a budget or just like to save money but still want to experience the wonderful things your new host city has to offer, the information we are about to provide is a must-know.
Welcome to the world of Deal Hunting. While this is a familiar concept, a few companies have reinvented the term. These companies partner up with local businesses and offer their services, experiences and goods for 30-90% off of their market prices during Flash sales-- limited time or one day only online sales. Some require you to purchase the deal online for the reduced price and then redeem at the business later at your convenience. Others don't even require pre-purchase! This is a fantastic way to take advantage of local cuisine, shopping or activities in your neighborhood. Below, we have compiled some of the best deal websites to check out.
Groupon - The largest of the deal websites, Groupon has expanded to hundreds of cities across the U.S. Groupon offers multiple deals in multiple categories everyday. You can purchase Groupons from the Groupon website, and print out the coupon, or pull it up on your mobile phone if you have a smart phone. You present this to the restaurant or service provider and get to enjoy the experience at a much cheaper rate. In addition to everything from restaurants to laser eye surgery, Groupon also has Getaways (discounted vacation packages) or Groupon Goods, selling merchandise for a steep discount.
Living Social - Similar to Groupon, this deal site also requires you to pre-purchase deals from their website and later present a print-out proof of purchase or display from your mobile phone. Living Social is also available in many cities across the U.S., between these two sites, you can find deep discounts to cover every need, whether it be discounted yoga classes, Indian food, or even teeth whitening.
Google Offers - Still relatively new, Google Offers is already offering amazing deals in nearly 50 cities across the U.S. Google Offers include deals in merchandise, restaurants, and plenty of other services or experiences.
KGB Deals - Because you can never get enough deals, KGB Deals also offers unique local attractions at over half off the regular price. Available in 24 cities across the U.S.
Lifebooker - This deal site differs from the rest of them as it specializes in spa, beauty and fitness services. You can book salon or fitness classes here at a steep discount and perform all of your personal up-keep for great value!
Scoutmob - This is a gem. Unlike the other deal sites, there is no pre-purchase necessary to take advantage of the Scoutmob deal. You simply need to claim your deal when it is available and print it out or display it on your phone at the restaurant/bar/store etc. you are at to receive 50% off of your deal.
Black Board Eats - This site offers discounts, usually around 30%, to higher end restaurants in a few select cities. The method of redemption is unique, as once you claim this deal, you will receive a secret pass-code, which you will present to your server. No pre-purchase necessary.
Yipit and Dealery are deal aggregators that can compile a complete list of all the deals in your area, so you don't have to look at a bunch of different sites. Deals have become so popular that many companies are eager to participate. So many different deals available can be difficult to keep track of, but luckily you can view them all at these handy deal-aggregating sites.
Tips to Keep in Mind While Deal-ing
Check Yelp.com for reviews – If you have haven't heard of a certain business, it's always a good idea to check reviews before purchasing a deal to go visit. This can help prevent unsatisfactory experiences, and give you a better idea of what you can expect.
Read the terms carefully – Certain deals may have special conditions that apply. For instance you may only be able to use one per table, and usually they cannot be combined with any other offers such as Happy Hour items, or you can only redeem the deal during specific days/times or for lunch only or dinner only, etc. Make sure to read the conditions before buying as this may influence your decision.
Check expiration dates – Always know when your deal expires, you must redeem a pre-purchased deal before the expiration date.
Maximum discount – Most deals have a cap on how big of a discount you can get. Pre-purchased deals will usually have this maximum discount built in, meaning you purchased a $25 deal to be able to spend $50 in store. This is a maximum $25 discount. For deals that do not involve a pre-purchase, it will list Up to $___, meaning you can get 50% off up until $40, which limits the discount to a maximum of $20. If you spend more than $40, you will still only receive $20 off, which is still a pretty great deal!
Spend Wisely – Be careful of deal overload. All seasoned deal buyers have probably experienced it at some point. It is easy to get excited about the amazing discounts one can get through these deals, however this excitement can lead to excessive spending. Before you decide to purchase a deal, you may want to ask yourself if this deal is something you will actually use. Is it convenient to take advantage of so that you will actually use it? Are you buying it because you truly want it or because it is on sale? It may be better to start off utilizing the free deals, like Scoutmob for example, before committing to the pre-purchase deals.
Sell Your Unused Deals
If you were a little overzealous and purchased too many deals that you aren't going to use, don't worry! There is a solution. There are now websites where you can sell deals that you purchased but do not plan on using, as long as they are still valid and redeemable. On these websites you can usually buy, sell, trade deals that people have purchased from the major deal websites. This is a great way to get cash for your un-used deals or get deals that you missed out on for cheap. You can set the price:
These deals are a great way to take advantage of some things that might normally be out of your price range. With the plethora of deal sites these days, there is no reason you should ever need to pay full price for anything ever again! Happy Deal-ing.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.