Monday, April 25, 2011

The Scoop on Social Buying Sites: Groupon, Social Living, and Some Sites You've Never Heard Of

A way to save money that's been growing in popularity are social buying websites.

What are social buying sites? Basically, they work like this. You sign up with the website to get email notices about local buy-in deals for restaurants/entertainment places/services/what have you. Often, the deals are daily or weekly. So, the deal one day might be something along the lines of: "Pay $25 for a $50 gift card to Bob's Cafe downtown!" It's a buy-in deal because you have to "buy in" to get it - you pay the $25 online through the social buying site. It's call "social buying" because in order for the deal to go through, a certain number of people have to "buy in." This is how local businesses are willing to be a part of these sites - because through "buy-ins," they're guaranteed a certain number of customers. The amount of discounts range generally from 40% to 80% off. Some of the sites also offer additional discounts - like money for signing up or referring friends. 

Disclaimer: I generally don't post about things unless I've personally used them, but while I'm registered with a few of these sites, I have not "bought in" to any of the deals (yet). But. Several of my friends DO regularly use sites like these, and they've gotten some really awesome discounts. Click the names of the sites below to visit them!

The major "buy in" sites are:
Here are some others you might want to check out: 

BuyWithMe - This is focused on about 15 major U.S. cities, including Seattle, Chicago, and Boston. 
CBS Local - Major metro areas represented, including Detroit (woo woo!)
Dealster - Offers deals for a huge amount of major and more minor metro areas, including Yakima, WA, and Lansing, MI.
KGB Deals - Includes a nationwide option, as well as more localized deals for specific cities
PriceBunch - Deals for major cities and also a few smaller-ish cities, like Charlotte and Fresno. 
Tippr - The regular line-up of major metropolitan areas, as well as Honolulu and Columbus, Ohio.
Trubates - Allows you to search by your specific town - rather than by metropolitan area. 
Yipit - Deals for U.S. cities as well as some Canadian cities for you readers from the Great White North!
Zozi - Includes activity-based deals for several U.S. and Canadian cities
There are also city-specific websites, such as WeDeal (Chicago), BogoTown (Indianapolis), and Get Sugar (Boston). 

There are several more that are up and coming, too! 
In order to not get overwhelmed by all these sites, you might want to check out Daily Dibs, which shows you current deals for your city from Groupon, TravelZoo, KGBDeals, and Living Social all together. 
If you use Google Chrome, the Groolu app does something similar, grouping together "buy in" deals from Groupon, Tippr, Zozi, Dealster, and Living Social for you for your specific area. 

Happy deal-shopping, readers!

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