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Dealing with the deals

Happy Friday! Not sure what to do this weekend? Try pulling up your favorite daily deal website. These have gotten so popular, there's even news that many use daily deals as an alternative or supplement to their health insurance. The availability and variety of these have grown so much in the past few years, navigating the sea of deals can be intimidating!

Here's how I deal with the deals: I look at them as the cure to my "I'm bored, what do you wanna do?" weekends.

Daily Deals = decision makers. Okay, so you think I'm crazy. "How does this girl get bored living in NYC?" I don't get bored - the options are overwhelming. My boyfriend and I get stuck in the "I dunno, what do you wanna do?" cycle until our weekend ultimately ends by getting sucked into TV. Sound familiar? Use the daily deals sites as a solution, not only an opportunity to save some cash. By limiting your restaurant choices to the few with great deals, you're left with concrete, affordable options with reviews, recommendations, menu previews and a map! Maybe you'll stumble upon a great deal on bowling or a show while you're at it. It's an instant date for half the price!

Try something new. Did I actually want to go seal watching in Queens? I definitely wasn't planning on it. I had no idea there were seals off the coast of Long Island! But...why not go? Sometimes, I don't necessarily use daily deal sites to save money - I use them to browse for new things to do that I would probably never try for full price. I could even make a new friend or find a new hobby by getting out of my element. Try looking at daily deals with this attitude.

Make a commitment to yourself! Over 20% of purchased daily deals go unredeemed. Don't let this happen to you! By using a daily deal to make plans, you have the extra motivation to follow through with it because the money is already spent. Spending a little on something that you normally wouldn't do (having a spa day with the girls, for example) is an opportunity -letting deals expire is straight-up a waste of money. As soon as you buy a deal, write down the expiration date in the calendar you look at most, and then 2-week and 1-week warnings. For you busy-bodies out there - consider this your deadline to have the fun you promised yourself!

At least if you know you won't be able to use it, you may be able pass it along to a friend. Make sure you read the fine print ahead of time - while most deals are transferable, there is always the chance that it may not be. There are also new websites popping up that allow you to sell them. And some sites will offer you a refund if you don't use your deal before it expires. It never hurts to ask.

Deal sites we've tried: Groupon LivingSocial AmazonLocal PopSugar bloomspot Lifebooker (spa & beauty) Savored (restaurants)

NYC Village Voice Deals Time Out Offers

What are some of your favorite deal sites? Do you have any great deal stories?

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