"Deal a day" sites are everywhere these days.
With more than 130 of them in the United States, "aggregator" sites have sprung up: They take the deals from the various sites and package them into one collective e-mail. Some even allow you to filter deals based on your preferences.
In Canada, however, there are only a handful of real competitors. Which one is best? Here's an unscientific ranking, based on each site's diversity of deals, locales and reviews, as well as ease of use.
The incumbent. Its approach: Get together a group of buyers, give them a coupon. Group + Coupon = Groupon. This site claims to have saved customers more than $550-million through more than 13 million transactions, but that is a worldwide figure. There are 16 Canadian cities listed, but several have not actually started listing deals. Groupon deals are still heavy on spas and restaurants, but they do have a fair offering of other activities and products. They have an iPhone app, too, which comes in handy when travelling.
This site appears to offer deals in more than 20 Canadian cities in its directory, but when you click on some cities they are not actually up and running. Calgary and Edmonton are absent. For Ontarians, the selection is a bit better than Groupon. WagJag even breaks down urban areas into smaller pockets, including Port Perry, Whitby and Oakville. This is great if you don't want to travel too far to capitalize on a great deal. The diversity of deals is comparable to Groupon, if not better.
With only five Canadian cities, LivingSocial would need to have greater product selection to rank higher, but the recent deals just seem to be more of the same old stuff. They do have an iPhone app, and the site is clean and polished, but I don't think it is competing with Groupon and WagJag just yet.
DealFind offers a clean and uncluttered website. It hits you with all the pertinent information for the current deal with big, bold fonts, and navigation is a cinch. It's as easy to use as Groupon, but again it's lacking in geographic reach. It lists five cities in Canada, but three of them are essentially Toronto and the surrounding area. As with LivingSocial, the variety of deals is lacking. If you're not in Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver you can skip DealFind for now.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it looks as if Groupon is tops for a reason. But there are only so many spa days and restaurants one can visit. WagJag is worth subscribing to for the added diversity if it's operating in your city.
Remember, as great as the daily-deal phenomenon is, saving 75 per cent on something you weren't going to purchase in the first place is no saving at all.
Preet Banerjee is the W Network's Money Expert and a senior vice-president with Pro-Financial Asset Management.