There’s nothing wrong with a gift certificate for a massage or a cleaning service, skydiving or a manicure, dog boarding or a photo sessions—sites like Groupon, Living Social, and Eversave offer all this and even overnight stays at posh hotels. But what happens when what you want isn’t a Groupon? What if you don’t want to give someone a piece of paper for the holidays? What if you want something to wrap up, and in turn, something that can be unwrapped? To be fully fair, all three of these sites have begun to expand beyond coupons for services and into deals for physical objects. In fact, I see a $450 My Pacific Pearls necklace available for $79 here. But there are other sites on the internet—great sites—that offer many more options for better prices on name-brand items. All operate on the same system: sign up to become a member (membership is super nonexclusive, no matter what they tell you) and you’ll receive a daily email outlining the latest deals. From there, it’s just a matter of deciding if you want a cashmere scarf, a coat, a snowboard, a sofa, or even a chandelier. Know the right site, find the right thing. Here’s a few to get you started:
- Rue La La - One of my first subscriptions, Rue La La has great designer cocktail dresses, handbags, shoes, jewelry … and the occasional great deal for men, too.
- The Clymb - As an outdoors-person, I check The Clymb every single day. This is the place for workout wear, snowboards, wet suits, tents, and, of course, climbing gear.
- DailyCandy Deals - (formerly Swirl) I only discovered Swirl just before the change-over, but find that DailyCandy keeps its deal site stocked with a wide-range of affordable options, handily arranged in categories that include “Girls,” “Guys,” “Under $50,” and “Customer Favorites.”
- One King’s Lane - remember that sofa and chandelier I mentioned above? Find those here.
- Fab - I frequently poll Fab for ideas for my Awesome Stuff column. May I redirect you to the grenade soap? Also great for innovative kids toys and chic home furnishings.
- The Foundary - from online retailer, Hayneedle, The Foundary is another site that can furnish your home in a couple of clicks.
- HauteLook - Like Rue La La, but owned by Nordstrom.
- Gilt - offers up-scale items like La Perla lingerie, Marc Jacobs handbags, and Vendoro diamond cocktail rings. Proceed with caution, or your wallet may hate you.
- Woot - the traditional Woot deal is a quirky T-shirt (think aliens, animals, or Harry Potter) but there are also one-day item offers in electronics, wine, home, and kids categories.
- MyHabit - Like Rue La La and HauteLook, but owned by Amazon.
Happy bargain hunting!