After the expensive holidays, and global recession has thinned our wallets, spotting a good deal can really boost your morale. Fortunately, some money-saving websites cater to your needs.
Two of the best online communities for finding well-priced products are FatWallet and Slickdeals. Both sites not only notify users of low prices but they also provide a venue for discussing and analyzing the nature, quality and details of goods that might otherwise go unchecked by an individual pair of eyes. With deals, often the devil is in the details.
UPDATE: FatWallet is no more! Slickdeals, however, continues on as the world’s best deal-spotting forum.
For example, among some of the more infamous sales spotted at both sites over the years was the 2011 Panasonic ToughBook W8 debacle, where a canceled military contract allowed thousands of $2,500 magnesium shell sub-notebooks to go on sale for less than $400 each. Some commenters, however, were quick to caution against a purchase, as the laptop’s specs fell short of modern standards – despite its rugged exterior, the ToughBook was only a mediocre deal.
This article discusses the differences and similarities between SlickDeals and FatWallet. Additionally, it contains a brief introduction on how to get started saving money using the FatWallet reward program, which gives users cash back from purchases.
Part One: Similarities
SlickDeals and FatWallet have a great number of similarities regarding their relisting of coupon codes, their prominent display of local deals, the presence of a detailed discussion forum and the wide availability of RSS feeds, for those who use a feed reader to keep posted on deals.
- FatWallet Coupon Codes
- SlickDeals Coupon Codes
- FatWallet Local Deals
- SlickDeals Local Deals
- FatWallet Forums
- SlickDeals Forums
- RSS feeds for FatWallet
- RSS feeds for SlickDeals
Part Two: Differences That Matter
The biggest difference between the two sites revolves around FatWallet’s Cash Back program and SlickDeals’ lack of a comparable money-returning mechanism. Consequently, the SlickDeals forum heavily promotes the use of the online rewards company SwagBucks. However, due to a complex rewards system, reliance on gift cards, and the additional software they encourage users to install, I don’t recommend using SwagBucks.
Another important difference – Cash Back simply gives a flat percentage back from purchases to the buyer, applying only to certain retailers. This percentage can go as high as 27.5% or as low as 1%, varying by company.
In a similar manner, SwagBucks rewards customers with gift cards, based upon how many “reward” points they acquire. Like with Cash Back, SwagBucks limits the cards’ redemption to specific retailers.
Part Three: Getting Started
Getting cash back from the FatWallet reward program requires that you first sign up for a FatWallet account. To get started, navigate to the sign up page, where both Facebook social login and native accounts are supported.
After creating an account and signing in, you must then find a sale offered by a vendor covered by FatWallet’s Cash Back plan. Some of the best deals at FatWallet are displayed on its main-page, although you may want to search the site for items you are interested in.
The dead giveaway whether something qualifies for the Cash Back plan is the mention of any percentage cash-back in the item description. For example, if you go to the FatWallet main-page, look for the green dollar symbol with a percentage next to it.
After locating an item you want, the process is quite simple. To get the additional percentage back, you must make a purchase by clicking on the link provided by FatWallet. Then, after buying, within 90 days you will receive the percentage back, either through PayPal or by mail.
I advise using FatWallet’s service as a means of searching for items you plan on buying. One handy method of searching the site is through RSS. My favorite method is aggregating multiple RSS feed through Yahoo Pipes. In fact, Yahoo user hawkman402 has designed a Pipe that only displays FatWallet items that have received a rating of 3 or better.
Another means of improving your online shopping skills is through using price-tracking apps.
SlickDeals and FatWallet represent two of the most popular deal-hunting websites on the Internet. While they possess a great many similarities, there remains a crucially important distinction between the two: FatWallet operates its own cash-back, reward program, whereas SlickDeals simply encourages its users to use online reward schemes, like SwagBucks.
However, in most other ways, the two sites appear nearly identical. They offer coupon codes, local deals and discussion forums that have the same functionality and, frequently, the same deals.
Although SlickDeals is the number one deal-finding site on the web, my preference is for FatWallet, primarily because of its more direct, and less complicated, Cash Back program.
Image Credit: Wallet via Morguefile.com