Since I spend a lot of time online, it’s a prime way for me to supplement my coupon-ing and budgeting.
1. Email lists. If you want to, you can sign up for email lists with nearly every brand in existence. Sometimes they send emails with coupons. If you are hardcore, go ahead. For someone like me, I generally limit them to brands I am always looking to buy.
Make sure you check for your local retailers as well. I get weekly email coupons from one of my grocery stores that aren’t available in the circular or online. Even better, they tend to be for produce, meat and store-brand items. And I keep tabs on my favorite shops so I always know when there is a sale at the Gap Outlet or my dry cleaner.
Also included in the email category are all those deal websites like Groupon and LivingSocial. I have about 5 or 6 of these in my inbox every morning and I only click on one of them a month. I don’t really mind the clutter, but I’d be sympathetic if you only signed up for one. I tend to stick to the general ones, I’ve found the niche ones (baby items, etc.) are not as great. Since a lot of them offer similar products (massages, restaurants) I tend to wait for the best offerings in those categories.
Sometimes email lists really pay off. I just got a $4 off $20 coupon from CVS in my inbox this morning. Awesome.
2. Facebook. Now this is one where I don’t put a lot of effort. I don’t use my FB page much (except my fan page!) and I don’t want a list of 3,025 things that I like constantly plugging up my news feed. But I do follow one of my grocery stores on there and occasionally they post coupons or deals.
The thing is that so many brands and stores are using Facebook that if that’s where you want to center your efforts, it would be a good one-stop shop. I see at least 5 deals every day that require you to like someone’s facebook for a coupon or discount. There are TONS of them.
3. Twitter Since I am already on Twitter a lot, this is a simple way for me to interact. I enjoy following @CVS_Extra, especially now that there’s a CVS right by our house. And it helps that I just won a giftcard from them. Some brands will do games or giveaways on Twitter. It’s less coupon-oriented and more sale-oriented. And it’s a great place if you have a local consignment store to post when they get new items in.
Unfortunately a lot of brands and stores don’t make good use of twitter, so I recommend you check out their feed for a couple weeks and if it’s no good, unfollow.
A good example of a brand near me that does an excellent job on Twitter is Isis Parenting. They not only post their sales and new merchandise, but they’re always putting up useful links for pregnancy, breastfeeding and a bunch of other stuff.
If you’re not currently on Twitter, it’s a risk-free way to follow your preferred brands and retailers without having to commit. You never have to post a thing but you can follow as many as you want.
Another excellent thing to keep in mind for Twitter is that it can be a great way to resolve customer service issues. I’ve used it when I had a problem with a LivingSocial deal but their customer service was closed over the weekend. Their twitter account immediately jumped in and helped me out. Not everyone does this well, but the ones that do are awesome.
If you’re an avid Twitter user, you can follow twitterparties with brands where there are usually prizes. Won a beach towel from LandsEnd last week just by tweeting about what kind of swimsuit I like. Yes, I’m winning right and left. If you participate enough, you’re going to get something back.
4. Deal Blogs. There are some amazing people out there who spend every day posting the good deals and coupons available in different areas. For my local stuff I follow Wicked Cool Deals and Maven of Savin. I have them in my google reader since there’s usually over 10 posts a day. (They’re also on Twitter.) Not only do they post coupon deals and tell you how to get them, they also go through each week’s circular and show you how you can best match up your coupons with the sales.
There are blogs like this all over the place, there’s probably one near you.
A lot of these categories overlap. Almost everyone on Twitter has a FB or a blog or an email list. Find the options that work best for you, and they may be different ones for different brands. They also involve different amounts of time investment, so you may want to pick and choose depending on what sites you already use and what’s the easiest for you.
I’m sure there are more out there and I’d love to hear your thoughts on other ways you save money with social media.