For smart shoppers social media is more than just a time sucking diversion filled with people spouting their uwanted opinions and cute cat videos. It's a money saving tool. To make the most of you money online, check out these clever strategies from consumer expert Andrea Woroch.
Price Track with Pinterest
If you can spend hours pining over (and pinning!) items you want, their latest feature is made just for you. Pinterest will now send you a price-drop notification via email when a product you pinned has dropped in price. To take full advantage of this feature, you might create a board exclusively for items you might actually buy.
Share Your Ride
Forget taxis, shuttles and rental cars: save money on your next trip with Zimride. Simply enter your starting point and destination and browse available routes and prices. You can also create a route and review the profiles of people interested in sharing the trip with you. That way, you can ensure everybody gets along.
Get Exclusive Coupons
One of the primary reasons for following your favorite brands on Facebook and Twitter is to gain access to exclusive coupons and deals. Typically, followers are informed about upcoming promotions and specials before they reach the masses. Additionally, some deals are exclusively for social followers, like those offered by Rite Aid.
Starbucks is testing a new method of sending eGifts to your friends. Their Tweet-a-Coffee campaign allows you to gift a $5 e-gift card to a friend via Twitter. While this definitely saves time, shoppers looking to save money on online gift cards can head over to GiftCardGranny.com, where Starbucks e-cards can be purchased at an average of 12-percent less than face value.
Some retailers are using hashtags to help shoppers share information and win prizes. Best Buy is encouraging consumers to tweet popular gift ideas using the hashtag #TrendingTech so shoppers can find real-time info on the tech that people are talking about. TJMaxx's "The Gifter" campaign gives followers a chance to win a $500 gift card when they answer a new gift-related question each week with hashtag #TheGifter.
You may recognize Twitter as a forum to share your applause and voice your concern about your favorite retailers. This year, you can ask them to participate in a fast-growing event that saves you money. Procrastinating shoppers can tweet their favorite retailers to participate in Free Shipping Day, the one-day online event scheduled for Dec. 18 when stores waive minimum order requirements and guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve.
Check In for Savings
Share your location with friends and family on Twitter and Facebook and get freebies and discounts in return. Foursquare is the premier app for "checking in" to a retailer, restaurant or other location. In addition to broadcasting your location on social media, you'll also get such perks as a free appetizer or discount toward a future purchase. You can even link your credit card to Foursquare for additional savings.
Reach Your Goals
Social media is great for unlocking deals and scoring discounts, but it can also help you achieve your savings goals. SmartyPig is a free online piggy bank that helps you save for specific items or milestones, whether it's a big-screen TV or your upcoming wedding. You can share your progress and stay accountable via Facebook and Twitter, plus friends and family can choose to contribute to your goals through these channels.
Andrea Woroch is a money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.