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We all know what sales and coupon sites are designed for – spending money. We all also know what coupon sites pretend to be designed for – passing great savings on to you.

Sometimes you really can make great savings if you know what it is you are looking for and have a specific product or service in mind. However, with each great deal you come across you need to ask yourself – are you really saving money? Or are you only buying the product because it is 40% less than the original listed price and a “one day only offer”?

It's a well documented fact that scarcity marketing messes with your mind. Companies drive up the value of a product artificially by suddenly making it difficult to purchase, whilst at the same time promoting it through advertising. “One day only offers” fall into this bracket of marketing; making something artificially valuable because you can only access it for a short period of time.

To make sure you don't fall for the 'one day only' scam there are a few things you should always keep in mind.

1. Do some research

Are other companies making similar offers? Do your research. Try going directly to the product’s company website to see if they are offering the discount too. In many cases buying straight from the supplier offers you extra protections and guarantees.

For example, Groupon is one of the most famous offer sites that provides great deals on almost everything. For every deal you see on Groupon you should also check to see if you can find it with its direct competitors; retailmenot and amazon. They may be offering a better deal on what you want in direct response to the offer run by Groupon.

2. Be savvy

Ask yourself is it actually a good deal. In fact, ask yourself these five-second finance questions before you make any purchase. These offers are designed to make you panic at the thought of missing out – don’t fall for it. A lot of the time they are regular occurrences, and if you don’t get the deal this time round, they will come around again.

After all, let’s remember that these sites all have one primary goal, and it’ not to help you out. It’s to make you spend money. If it’s an offer that they know is popular and creates sales then it is one that will come back around in a new incarnation.

3. Don’t get caught out

Once you’ve decided you want an item and you’ve clicked through to the correct page, more often than not you'll find a list of stipulations and exemptions. The offer may actually be for something ‘similar’. A “30% off cut and colour at top salon” actually turns out to be in a salon in a different city, and for a colour you'd never use. The price that you will actually have to pay is in fact far more inline with something you would normally expect to pay anyway.

The idea behind this is that once you have committed to the purchase in your mind you have already mentally parted with the money. Therefore, although the price may be slightly higher than you anticipated, you will go through with the purchase anyway.

Don’t fall for this. Look at the offer and what it is really worth. Don’t be fooled into spending more money than you would have if you’d never seen that ‘one day only’ deal.

Saving money is also about spending well. Financial fitness comes with building solid financial habits over time.

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