I have to admit that my morning routine now includes frantically checking emails from Groupon, Ideeli and Living Social to see what sort of delights I can cop for the low. Even though I do a lot more looking than I do purchasing, I have gotten a number of great bargains from this relatively new concept over the past year. For Clutchettes and Clutch Gents who may not be hip to the concept, allow us to introduce the daily bargain craze.

Groupon: Launched in 2008, Groupon is one of (if not the) first ‘deal-0f-the-day’ websites to hit the US and is also the most popular. How it works: a bargain of some sort, say a 40% discount on a bikini wax at a popular spa, is made available if and only if a specified number of people purchase a ‘Groupon’ (group coupon) for the service. Once the minimum is hit, “the deal is on” and it is usually available for sale for 1-3 days. Groupon has a diverse range of offers, the most common being deals on beauty services, dining and the experiential (bus tours, movie tickets,  dance classes, etc); the site offered an immensely popular $25 for $50 GAP deal earlier this year. The company, which plans to go public next year, also offers vacation/hotel deals.

Living Social: Of the 100 or so similar sites in the States, Living Social is considered to be Groupon’s only ‘real’ competition to date. Making it’s debut in 2009, the company offers “instant” deals, such as lunch at a nearby restaurant or a discount on clothing, which must be purchased by iPhone app, travel packages and family friendly deals, as well as the standard beauty/food/store discounts. Earlier this week, the site featured a $10 for $20 Whole Foods deal (which I copped for free, after purchasing one and sending out a link to friends; when three of your people purchase your deal, yours is gratis).

Gilt Group:  This shopping site allows members to purchase merchandise, food, clothing, home decor, artisanal ingredients at deep discounts. You’ll score major deals, but you will still need a little money to spend if you’re gonna order from Gilt. Today’s bargains include Vera Wang and Lafayette 148 and oh, if you’re the sort of person who has “shoegasms”, you should sign up for a free membership ASAPtually.

Ideeli: Similar in structure to Gilt, Ideeli offers a broader range of price points on its items. You can see a pair of $15 sneakers one day and a $1,500 vintage Chanel bag the next. The site offers women’s, men’s, kids, home and travel sections.

Are you a Groupon Gal or a Gilt Gent? Did we miss your fave deal site? Share your best finds with us!

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