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:
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.
Winner! Winner! The same companies hold giveaways on their pages or ask for retweets or replies on Twitter to win gifts. @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). #Giveaway also lists current giveaways.
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.
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.
Become a DIY home project master. You can save money by DIY. YouTube is loaded with how-to videos that allow you to spend less on 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 – start following your favorites.
Great recipe ideas and inspiration equals less take-out. 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.
Party planning 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 bridal or baby shower, or a kid’s birthday party, do a search, and you’re sure to find some inspiration.
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.
Exercise at home. If you cut your gym membership out of your budget, you’ll find 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 top money advice Pinterest accounts. You can find many great savings ideas, coupons and tips from some of the top money minds and companies online. A few pin-worthy favorites are Mint, The Krazy Koupon Lady and Living on the Cheap, of course.
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.
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.
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.
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