How to use discount websites

Group-buying websites are popping up all over the place, but you need to use them carefully if you want to save money.

Whether it's 50% off a holiday or two-for-one on cinema tickets we all love a bargain. So there's no wonder many of us are obsessed with group-buying websites.

They work by sending out daily emails to subscribers, alerting them to discounts on anything from facials to servicing your car. To qualify for a deal, you need sign up within a time limit, usually 12 hours. But for these sites to actually save you some dosh you need to use them wisely.

Many deals have exclusions so always read the small print. Take the expiry date. While you shouldn't have a problem using the voucher before its expiry date as companies limit the numbers sold, you may have trouble with booking a particular date. If you're thinking about using a restaurant deal on a bank holiday weekend, chances are everyone else will be trying to book a table that weekend too. Same goes if you're planning to use a hairdressing deal on a Saturday.

Also make sure you check for quality. Beauty deals for procedures like teeth whitening or facial peels are popular, but if you're thinking about purchasing something intrusive like this it's worth remembering that a company offering a big discount might not provide the best level of service. So check out the companies before you sign up to their offers.

Remember, if you end up with a deal that turns out not to be as advertised, the company should offer you a refund. And as you buy these vouchers online, the deal should also be covered by the distance selling regulations. So if you change your mind you have seven days in which you can cancel the order and get a refund.

Group-buying websites are great, but use your common sense. Don't rush into anything and remember; if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.