The pros and cons of discount voucher websites

Times are tight and millions of belt-tightening Brits are logging on to discount voucher websites looking for more bang for their buck. 

Consumer experts Nielsen suggest that in the 12 months to September 2011 – 10 million UK bargain hunters used an online savings code, while JP Morgan estimates that there are now around 200 voucher code sites in the UK.

Here are some of the ways in which you, as a cost-conscious consumer, can take advantage of the proliferation of discount voucher websites:

1) Certain websites promote daily deals, which range from spa days to restaurant offers – if enough people commit over a 24 hour period, your card is charged and you’re emailed back a voucher

2) Other sites offer printable vouchers or discount codes which you enter when you reach checkout

3) Bargain hunters rate deals, which go up or down rankings on the site accordingly

4) Some sites allow you to search for deals by product, shop, or category

There are both advantages and disadvantages to using these websites so read on:

Benefits

Everyone loves a bargain – who’s going to say no to a half price restaurant bill? Some sites claim to save you up to 70% on a range of goods and services. You can save on everything from beauty treatments to activity days by paying a fraction of the normal price.

1) The sites do the work for you, so with minimum effort you have access to some amazing offers – Londoners need only search for London deals to be directed to a host of capital-wide deals ranging from a £10 Hollywood hot wax to cut price flying lessons.

2) Sites are generally user friendly, one-stop shops and deals are frequently renewed.

3) Many deals are exclusive to certain sites.  One leading discount voucher site is currently offering 56% off a two night stay for two with afternoon tea plus bottle of wine at Belfast’s Harbour House Inn. Cash-strapped mini-break seekers can access the £65 deal by searching for deals in Belfast online.

4) You can often enjoy great deals without having to reveal your bust-weight-hip measurements or being plagued by promises of unwanted prizes and promotions.

But beware of the…

Pitfalls

1) It can take time to navigate your way through what can be a minefield of mind boggling choices – one site is currently promoting a £4.99 21 day matured rib eye steak next to a Bluray system on sale for £149.95.

2) Deals aren’t always available nationwide and can be limited to particular cities.

3) All deals come with expiry dates so it’ll be money down the drain if you don’t take advantage of the deal within the allotted time.  Some sites continue to display deals that have already expired.

4) Read the small print to avoid the disappointment of rocking up at a restaurant with Saturday night’s hot date, only to be informed that their Dine for a Dollar deal is valid only on weeknights.

So… be savvy

The internet is packed with discount voucher websites, so be savvy about the ones you select and steal a deal today.

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