By Jessy Troy
Who here likes to save money? I can’t see you right now, but I am going to assume that anyone reading this just enthusiastically rose their hand, or at least wanted to. We all want to save a little cash wherever we can, and with times still tough it is more important than ever to keep a little bit tucked away for emergencies. That doesn’t mean we can’t shop, or that there aren’t things we still need to buy.
But that social networking profile you have could really help you out. You know the one: the Twitter you use to chat with coworkers, or the Facebook profile you stalk your teenage kids with. It is good for more than playing Farmville and watching the latest news on Justin Beiber, your latest guilty pleasure. You can use social media to help you save money on items you purchase every day, or even those items you would like to get but up until now couldn’t afford.
The following are five ways that you can make the most of your buck using the latest social media phenomenons.
Let’s say you live in San Francisco and you are hoping for a restaurant nearby to go out on Thursday night, but you are nervous about the cost. You don’t have to settle for McDonald’s or buying an appetizer instead of a meal. Just use a geo-location website or application such as Foursquare, which will show you local businesses that might be having a special offer.
If you have a smartphone you can use an app like Happy Hours to find out what bars near you are having a happy hour and at what time. This means discounted drinks at places in any of 41 U.S cities that they currently cover.
2. Fan Pages
If you are a Facebook user you have probably fanned plenty of pages dedicated to music you like or TV shows you watch. But did you know that hitting ‘Like’ on the pages of brands or stores you enjoy could give you special, secret coupons that are reserved for dedicated customers? It is common for these pages to post promotional codes for their websites or links to printable coupons on their wall, which are only viewable by people who have joined their pages.
You might also see contests from stores like Kohl’s, The Home Depot, Target, Walmart and more. If you join pages of local branch stores, like from Kroger, you might even find in-store deals and specials you wouldn’t have otherwise known about.
3. Community Coupons
You have probably seen a lot of advertising for sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, and you might be curious about how they work. Both are what are known as community discount sites. They both offer daily deals for 24 hours, one deal a day. That coupon is good for a serious cut in the original price of local businesses in your city. When a good amount of people buy the discount the percentage off goes to everyone. The cost to the business is made up by the influx of new customers it brings.
These are always fantastic, because even though the sites only offer one deal a day, those are delivered right to your inbox, and the deals are great.
A form of social media that is usually thrown to the side in favor of more popular status-based sites are forums. Still a great way of meeting and greeting, there are a huge number of penny pincher forums out there to join. These are a great place to share your own coupons and sales with a group of like-minded and friendly men and women who have their eyes on the latest deals and freebies from all over the web. You can even find a local shopping buddy.
5. Share, Share, Share
Two weeks ago I heard about a website that was doing a Black November sale for the weekend, with deals of as much as 60% off. I posted about it on my Facebook wall and got an overwhelming response. A few hours later, a friend of mine posted a link to another site, and the next day I had two more from others. I have had deals and links to coupons posted almost every day since, and I have been posting as well.
Sharing is a great way to trigger a reminder with friends who are also looking for deals to post their own.
Jessy Troy describes herself as a frugal shopper and eco-friendly shopper. She is a social media enthusiast and loves discovering new tools online. Her favorite coupon site is FreeShipping.org (who doesn’t love free delivery deals!) and the sections she highly recommends checking within the site for the upcoming holiday season are their Pottery Barn Coupons page and Go Frugal blog.
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