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Frugal for Less has previously reported on how to make money using social media. For example, you can link your Facebook and Twitter account to Datacoup or use social media platforms that pay you to post, like Rabadaba or Tsu. But you can also save money with social media.
Where do you start? Wikipedia lists over 200 social networking sites. Sure, you probably haven’t heard of Gentlemint, a “Community for sharing and discussing all things manly,” but I’ll bet you’re already on Facebook and Twitter, and maybe Instagram and LinkedIn.
So why not use those and other social media platforms to save big money on many of the things you buy? Here are some ways to do exactly that.
If you look through the reviews of businesses on Yelp.com, you’ll see plenty of complaints, but you’ll also see responses from the business owners and managers. Often these include an offer to make it up to the customer. That might mean a free meal or a discount on a future hotel stay, or some other compensation depending on the type of business.
When you complain, try not to insult anyone or make extreme statements. Telling a company you’ll never do business with them again leaves them with little reason to help you out. In my experience you’re better off suggesting you like the company and their products and you assume they would like to keep you happy.
You can post your complaints on many different social media platforms. For example, you can locate the company’s Facebook page and leave a post explaining why you were disappointed with a product or service.
Mint contributor Kyle James suggests using Twitter. He says tweeted complaints are known to prompt a response from Dish Network, DIRECTV, Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner and Charter Communications among others.
He offers his own story as an example: “I was replying to another blogger’s frustration regarding his high Verizon Wireless bill… when I received a direct tweet from a Verizon rep asking how they could help lower my bill.” The representative reduced his cost by $20 per month.
2. Save on College Expenses
On Green Note, “students can connect with their social networks to obtain donations from friends, family and their community.” You have to pay a one-time membership fee ($20 at the moment) and have a PayPal account, which is free to open if you don’t already have one. Donors contribute using their credit cards.
How much can you save on your education? You aren’t likely to have your whole tuition covered. CEO Bill Hulbert says “It’s more to offset incidental costs such as books and fees.”
Green Note has a page full of Tips for a Successful Pledge Drive which include being creative and persistent, as well as updating your page so donors can see how you’re doing. And, of course, you’ll want to link to your Green Note profile from your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts.
3. Ask for Advice
Whatever you want to save money on, you’re probably already connected to previous buyers of the same product or service. So why not ask your Facebook and Twitter friends for help? A simple post asking “Where can I get a good deal on a couch?” or “Which store has the cheapest groceries?” might save you a lot of money.
4. Follow Stores and Restaurants
By following Chili’s Facebook page I found meal specials, but I also learned about their email club. Joining that got me free chips and guacamole. Most chain restaurants and retail stores can be followed on Twitter and Facebook, and they often offer money-saving specials and coupons.
5. Use Amex Offers on Facebook and Twitter
If you have any of the many different American Express cards, connect your accounts to Amex Offers on Facebook or Twitter. You’ll find regular offers of cash back (in the form of a statement credit) just for using your card at your favorite retailers.
Sometimes you can get a statement credit of half or more of what you pay for an item. I once received a statement of $10 for buying a $10 Home Depot gift card — on each of my three Amex cards. That’s $30 of stuff for free!
6. Ask Friends for Stuff
Need a ladder to clean the gutters, or a table for a party on the patio? Why rent or buy things if a friend will lend or give them to you for free? Just post your needs on social media and see if any of your contacts can help you out. And if you want to take this idea to the extreme, see the next suggestion…
7. Ask for Financial Help
After his vehicle went to the junkyard one of my Facebook friends needed a used car to get to work. He tried to raise $3,000 by posting (repeatedly) about his situation and asking for donations. In the end he raised $1,600, which cut the cost of his vehicle by more than half.
You probably shouldn’t try this too often, but if you’re really in need, your friends and connections on social media might help you out. You can create and link to a GoFundMe campaign or just provide donors with your PayPal account information.
8. Follow Money-Saving Social Media Pages
You probably already follow Frugal for Less on Facebook, and that can certainly help you save money (and make more). But there are other social media pages that focus on showing you how to save money. Here are a few examples on Facebook:
9. Watch for Recalls and Refund Offers
Safety recalls often come with a refund. You can watch for them on the official Twitter page of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
10. Search Twitter Hashtags
A quick hashtag search on Twitter can sometimes save you a lot of money. Try searches like “# furniture #sale” or “#furniture #deals.” Separating the words usually works best (“#laptop #sale” instead of “#laptopsale”).
Adding the name of your city will narrow the results if you’re shopping locally rather than online. If you know exactly what you want add the brand name as well to further narrow the results.
11. Search Pinterest
Pinterest has a ton of pins related to saving money. Search a variety of phrases to find them. For example, if you’re looking for cheaper food search “save on food,” “inexpensive food,” “cheaper groceries,” and so on. Then follow the links to the original money-saving content.
Pinterest also has a ton of DIY posts you can use to save money. For example, you can find diagrams and instructions for plumbing projects. Doing those yourself can save you hundreds of dollars.
12. Follow Daily Deals Social Media Pages
Websites that offer daily deals can be found on Facebook and Twitter, and that may be a better way to connect than by getting a bunch of emails that you may not open. For example, you can follow Groupon on Facebook or Twitter, and find numerous daily specials on Amazon Deals on Twitter.
13. Get Gift Cards from Social Media Contacts
If you’re familiar with buying discounted gift cards, you know they can save you a lot of money. But you don’t necessarily have to go to online vendors to get them.
Instead, try asking friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter if they have any gift cards they don’t need. Who knows; they might give them to you. In any case, if they have any cards for stores where you regularly shop you can offer to buy them for half of their remaining value.
14. Ask for a Coupon
Mint contributor Kyle James suggests visiting retailers’ Facebook pages and sending direct messages asking for a coupon. Explain that you hope to complete a purchase of their product if they can help you out with a discount. James says the representatives who monitor social media are given coupon codes to hand out as they see fit.
15. Use Social Media Instead of Paper Invitations
If you have an event coming up, why spend money on paper invitations and postage? Just post your announcement/invitation on Facebook or Tweet it on Twitter. Ask your friends to RSVP you online (and maybe send a few paper invitations to friends who are not online).
16. Chat Online Instead of Texting
Unless you have unlimited texting as part of your phone plan you pay for those texts. You can save some of that money by chatting on Facebook. The Facebook guide to Chat Basics even explains how you can chat with several friends at the the same time.
17. Use a Facebook Buy and Sell Group
To save money when selling something, skip the expensive classified ad and use a Facebook buy and sell group. Facebook explains how they work, but basically they’re an alternative to Craigslist. You can also use buy and sell groups to find and buy something you need at a great price.
If you’ve used social media to save money, tell us about it below, and happy frugaling!