Social media is a part of our daily lives. We are distracted at work by posts from friends, breaking news Tweets and colorful pictures waiting to be pinned to boards. But we can use the same media to save money. Here are some ideas:
1. Early birds hear the tweet
You can gain early access to deals and discounts by following companies on Facebook and Twitter. Connect with airlines or bulk ticket buyers and watch for promo codes to save extra. Cheap Tickets (@cheaptickets) recently tweeted a deal for 23% off participating hotel stays in France and Italy. Companies post deals exclusive to social media. Some are brand specific, like @ClifBar or @Quaker. Others, such as @MoneyTalksNews or @DealsCollege, compile deals and send out Tweets of special sales at Macy’s and other well-known department stores.
2. Winner! Winner!
The same companies hold giveaways on their pages or ask for retweets or replies on Twitter to win gifts. We recently found Pro-Direct Soccer on Twitter (@ProD_Soccer). The company told followers that if a pro soccer player “kept a clean sheet” in that night’s game, it would give away a pair of signed gloves. @Quaker tweeted about a giveaway to the first 100 people to arrive at a specific location. Some sites work to alert followers to giveaways of all types, like GiveawayNow.com (@GiveawayNow).
3. Post for a goal or a tweet success
If you are looking for a deal on a specific item, don’t wait. Tweet or post a note to the company, outlining your need. I wanted to buy an electric lawn mower and had my eye on a particular brand and model. I tweeted to a distributor and asked if there were any discounts available. I received 10% off the price and free shipping from the distributor – and I love the lawn mower. Do you have a beef with a company? Let your followers know, and include a hashtag or Twitter name of the company in question. Sometimes the bird with the loudest squawk gets the worm. Typing a period at the beginning of the post and before the Twitter name makes the post viewable by the company’s followers. But be respectful.
4. Pennywise, pound sign savvy
The pound sign is now dubbed the “hashtag” and is a favorite of Twitter followers and Instagram users – and it often leaks into Facebook and Linkedin conversations. It lumps posts into categories. Typing in generic words like “coupon” or “promo” can bring up countless ways to save. Don’t be afraid to post your own hashtag and state your reason. Want to go to Africa on safari? Pounding social media sites with a hashtag may cause a company to approach you with a great deal.
5. Persons of Pinterest
Pinterest is a great way to find easy tips on home repair, DIY craft or gift ideas, and instructions on gardening, furniture upcycling and much more. But you can also connect to thrift mavens, coupon queens and kings, and experts on finance. By typing in the phrase “saving money,” I found pins on budget-friendly meals, living well on less than $28,000 per year, and a list of ways to save money at theme parks.
6. Barter and borrow
A Living on the Cheap expert strategically networked with residents of a particular apartment building and found out about an available apartment to rent. When the guitar-playing son of another LOTC expert wanted to try out an upright bass, she posted her need on Facebook. One of her Facebook friends had one – and her son was able to borrow it for a few weeks instead of signing a costly rental contract. Another friend routinely lists items she has for sale on Facebook and Twitter. She sold a vintage Hoosier cabinet and handmade stained glass napkin holders without leaving her home.
7. Follow the money savers
Follow well-known savings experts such as Suze Orman (@SuzeOrmanShow) and Dave Ramsey (@DaveRamsey) on Twitter and Facebook for daily tips and motivation. SmartyPig.com (@SmartyPig) lets you share your savings goals with friends and family on Twitter, and they can contribute to your cause.
8. Want a tweet receipt?
Tweet What You Spend is an option available through Twitter that allows you to use your mobile phone to enter spending at the time of transaction using your Twitter account. You can set spending limits and receive alerts when you get close to breaking the budget ceiling. Manilla.com helps you organize bill-paying and set budgets, and its Twitter site often alerts you to special giveaways.
9. College funding in 140 characters
OK 529 Savings Plan, an Oklahoma college savings plan site, tweets tips and tools for saving for college under the Twitter name @OCSP529. College Scholarships (@My_Scholarships) gives daily updates on available scholarships and financial aid. Type a hashtag in front of a keyword, such as scholarship, textbooks or college, and look for discussions about specific institutions or benefactors. @Gradefund is the Twitter connection to a site that invites sponsors to pay for good grades. Donations start at $5, and can be earmarked for a student or for a particular school.
10. Stay in touch
Using social media sites to keep in touch with friends and relatives and share photos and information can save you the cost of stamps and long-distance phone bills. But remember that a written letter or a timely phone call can still warm the hearts of our loved ones. Know when to give more and gain riches as a result.
Image by Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net.