Posted on 3/31/2011 20:54 EST
Who knew the paradox of choice could extend even to discounts? Consumer are now complaining of daily deals fatigue due to all the sales that come in their emails daily. What's more, according to this USA Today story, is that many companies are creating a culture of fear among buyers that if they don't snap up the deal now, they'll be losing out on something.
Competition among companies to offer the deepest discount is fierce, and while being a comparative shopper is usually advantageous, doing so with this many options is tough. The ugly, sad side of the surge in group buying sites and daily deals offerings is that it's leading to compulsive shopping for things people don't need and a false sense of savings in addition to daily deals fatigue.
Two simple ways to assess whether or not a deal is really a deal are: 1) see if it's something you really need and 2) see if it fits in your budget. And by budget, we mean power up the Excel spreadsheet or log-in to the budget-tracking site or software you use, and see how your daily deals are affecting areas like bills, groceries, and your retirement fund.
Do you have daily deals fatigue?
"Buy now, or you'll miss out.
It's been an effective marketing strategy for as long as there have been retailers. But today, analysts say, that theory is driving a sales-crazy marketplace in which retailers, desperate to survive tough times, are finding increasingly creative ways to lure consumers who consider 20% off to be the new full price..."
on USA Today
Posted on 3/31/2011 20:47 EST
Everyone wants to be in the cloud -- but at what cost? A PC World analysis has deemed Amazon's Simple Service Storage (S3) a cheap cloud storage option to back up your PC.
The S3 costs between $4.65 and $8 a month to maintain, and that includes transferring files in and out and how much stuff you keep in storage. One person who calls himself a "horribly lazy computer owner" gives the service a 5-star rating on Epinions. In addition to being cheap, he likes that you can use the service for any computer, something for which other companies may charge a license fee. He says it takes a bit to set up because you have to sign up for an account and get keys, but the S3 is a great cheap cloud storage solution overall.
Any others who've tried S3 for cheap cloud storage care to weigh in?
"Backup is one of the oldest needs in computing. Whether it's hard disk failure, computer theft, or just a wandering three year-old with a fruit juice carton, it's very easy to lose data on a computer.
There's a debate about the best kind of backup, but storing your data offsite and online is a good option..."
on PC World
Posted on 3/31/2011 18:15 EST
You know part of being cheap is buying store brand over name brand for many goods. But some cheap things are also cheaply-made and won't work as well as the real deal. With this in mind, DealNews.com decided to test generic batteries vs. name brand at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.
The verdict: the generic batteries work just as well as the name brand. However, many readers on the site didn't buy the testing method. The test looked at how much the batteries drain when constantly used, not when they're used intermittently, as they are in many situations (certain cameras, for one). The study also didn't reveal the types of devices tested.
Which do you think performs better in generic batteries vs. name brand?
"When it comes to batteries, how can you tell a deal from a dud? When is it worth spending money on a premium brand?
We brought a collection of different AA batteries to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and asked if they could test to find out whether there's any real difference between brand-name and generic batteries..."
Posted on 3/31/2011 18:12 EST
You may have wondered if "refurbished" is a dirty word and asked yourself, "Should I get used electronics?"
The answer is...it depends. A story on Wallet Pop says buying from sites like eBay may be dangerous when it comes to getting used goods. But if you buy directly from the retailer, such as Apple, which has its own refurbished products web site, you can save as much as 15-percent off the list price. In those cases, the answer to "Should I get used electronics?" is "Yes."
More reason to purchase a used good from the retailer is that you may still get a decent warranty on the product. And unlike at popular discount sites, you can go straight to the company if you encounter a problem.
What's your experience with used electronics?
"Apple may have set the tone for designer electronics, but if you're too broke to invest in the Mac-head lifestyle, try going vintage with its refurbished line of products. Other electronics retailers sell used products too, and buying straight from the source is safer than taking your chances on eBay..."
on Wallet Pop
Posted on 3/31/2011 18:09 EST
It's hard to deny the allure of a three-month cable or Internet promotion, despite the inevitable. You pay a discounted rate for those few months, than gasp when you get the bill for month No. 4 and see it's the standard -- and waaaay higher -- rate. "How to lower the cable bill?" is, thus, a common question.
The Hartford Courant has a few ideas, including knowing the price you're trying to wrangle out of your company. Researching your usage using tools like Billshrink.com and comparing competitors' offerings are other answers to "How to lower the cable bill?"
But there's a simple way right off the bat to negotiate a lower deal -- plead ignorance. Tell the company you weren't correctly informed of the terms of the promotion and that you didn't know how high the rate would jump. If that doesn't work, threatening -- nicely -- to cancel your service, or better, go with the competitor usually does the trick.
How do you lower your cable bill?
"The initial offers seem too good to be true: cable, Internet and phone service for only $99 a month. Plus a free cable modem, a free wireless router, free high-definition channels, free HBO for three months and up to a $275 rebate!
Don't believe it. Check your local cable provider's website. Next month's promotion might include world peace and lower gas prices..."
on Hartford Courant