Social media is a daily distraction, but not many people know they can use Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and other channels to save money. That’s right, you can use your break-time scrolling to find deals and resources to keep your expenses down.
Embrace high-tech frugality with these 11 ways to save money using social media.
Photo: Deposit Photos
Find deals on Twitter
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) once tweeted a deal for 18% off participating hotel stays. Some 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. Follow your favorite restaurants to be the first to hear about limited-time money-saving promotions.
Look for giveaways on social media
First, a scam alert. No airline is going to give away free plane tickets if you repost or reply to something your friend shared on Facebook, and grocery stores aren’t handing out $50 coupons or gift cards on social media. But do look for the verified, official company accounts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and follow them for deals and giveaways.
Ask for discounts by tweeting
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. But be respectful.
Search for deal-related hashtags
Be pennywise and 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.
Become a DIY master with YouTube and Pinterest
You can save money by doing things yourself. YouTube is loaded with how-to videos that allow you to spend less on DIY home repair. And while you might not get the in-depth instructions you would in a YouTube how-to video, you will save money and discover some unique ideas for home décor and organization ideas with step-by-step visuals on Pinterest. You can find just about anything from turning an old cabinet into a coffee table, to cool wall art and frame ideas, to a gazillion uses for Mason jars. Twitter feeds will alert you to posts on DIY sites, so start following your favorites.
Get recipe ideas and save by eating at home
While recipe sites are a staple on the Internet, on Pinterest you can create boards of recipes you want to try, as well as keep track of tried-and-true meal ideas. If you’re anything like me (a magazine recipe clipper who puts ideas in a folder and forgets about them), Pinterest might be a more effective way to keep track of go-to meals. Making meals at home equals more money in the bank, since it’s cheaper to cook from scratch than to order takeout or dine out.
Use Pinterest to plan parties on a budget
Pinterest is the place for party planning. While you may not have the time or patience to create the extravagant theme parties that some pinners do, you can still score some fabulous and frugal ideas for party décor, favors, clever food buffets, gifts and more. If you have to plan a baby or bridal shower or a kid’s birthday party, do a search, and you’re sure to find some inspiration.
Barter and borrow
Join Facebook groups in your local area dedicated to buying, selling and swapping — or Buy Nothing groups devoted to no-cost merchandise — to acquire the things you need on the cheap. When the guitar-playing son of one Living on the Cheap 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.
Whatever you’re looking to buy, someone online might be able to offer it to you for free or at secondhand prices, saving you a bundle over purchasing items new.
Exercise at home
If you cut your gym membership out of your budget, you can scour Pinterest for tons of workouts you can do at home for every fitness level and goal. These moves go hand in hand with motivational quotes to keep you fit and focused.
Follow financial experts on social media
You can find many great money-savings ideas, coupons and tips from some of the top money minds and companies online. A few pin-worthy favorites are The Krazy Koupon Lady and Living on the Cheap, of course.
Or, 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.
Find tips on scholarships and college saving through Twitter
If you’ve got kids, you’re already thinking about how to save for college, whether they’re 6 or 16. Twitter has you covered with money-saving advice and financial aid information.
529 College Savings Plans tweets tips and tools for saving for college under the Twitter name @529forCollege. Scholarship America (@ScholAmerica) gives 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.