These 4 social media smartphone apps can save you big money on everyday shoppingMarch 8, 2012
Smartphones are everywhere, and most smartphone users wouldn’t know how to live without them. Smartphones help us stay in contact with friends and loved ones, find our way around, and navigate the little challenges of everyday life. But did you know that your smartphone can also help you save money?
Smartphone apps and social media tools are offering many unique new ways for people to save money, often on everyday purchases that they’re already making. You might be surprised at how you can unlock the potential of your smartphone to help you save more money and have more fun at some of your favorite retail destinations.
I talked to Robin Meadows West, a business consultant in Des Moines, Iowa who uses smartphone apps from Foursquare, Groupon, LivingSocial, and the Entertainment Book. Here are a few ways that Robin saves money in her everyday life just by using her smartphone:
- Groupon and LivingSocial: These discount sites offer daily deals via e-mail where you can buy a coupon for surprisingly big discounts off of goods and services ranging from restaurant dinners to massages to skydiving lessons. People have the option to either print their daily deal coupons or download a smartphone app to use the coupons on the go. “I was already buying a fair amount of Groupon and LivingSocial deals, but I would often forget to print the coupons or forget to take them with me to the store,” said Robin. “By downloading the apps for Groupon and Living Social, I can just show my phone and get the deal I’ve already paid for. It’s much easier and I never miss out on the savings.”
- Foursquare: Many people use Foursquare to “check in” at their favorite restaurants, bars and shops in order to alert their friends as to where they’re going. If you frequent certain places at a high enough level, you can earn fun “badges” to demonstrate your loyalty to your favorite shops and restaurants. But Foursquare is more than a social media pastime. It can also help you save money every time you check in. “I started using Foursquare as a competition with my friends over who could get the most and coolest badges,” said Robin. “Then I discovered that there are a surprising number of stores and restaurants that offer deals when you check in on Foursquare. I’ve gotten everything from free cocktails to $5 off my grocery bill at the supermarket.
- Entertainment Book app: Entertainment Books is full of coupons and discounts from local businesses are often sold as fundraisers for schools and youth sports teams. “I hadn’t really wanted to buy the Entertainment Book because I thought I wouldn’t use the coupons, but I bought it to support a fundraiser for a friend’s child,” said Robin. “Then I found out about the Entertainment Book app. It’s so much easier to use all the coupons and get your money’s worth when you can just pull up the app on your phone instead of trying to remember to take the book or coupon with you. The only drawback is that not all of the same coupons from the book are available on the app. But there are enough that I can get a lot more use out of the Entertainment Book and it’s a much better value.”
Compared to the “old days” of clipping coupons and waiting for sales, today’s smartphone apps make it more convenient than ever before to save money wherever you go. “The convenience is a huge advantage in using these apps,” said Robin. “Who doesn’t carry their phone with them everywhere they go? This way all of my discounts are available in one place. If I’m out running errands and decide to go for a bite to eat, chances are I’m within 5 minutes of someplace I have a coupon for.”
Robin said that she has been surprised by the sheer volume of stores that offer a discount or freebie just by simply “checking in” with them via Foursquare. “It hasn’t changed the way I shop, but it’s definitely made me more diligent about using the Foursquare application,” said Robin. “It’s a no-brainer – you’re already there, you’re already shopping there, why not just check in and maybe save a few extra dollars or get a fun little bonus?”
Robin expects to see more apps like these becoming popular in the years to come. “With more people carrying smartphones, I think we’re going to see more companies offering deals and discounts via Foursquare and other apps,” said Robin. “I’ve noticed an increase in their availability just in the past year.”
Why not get in on the ground floor with some of these special deals and savings? Check out the smartphone apps for Foursquare, LivingSocial, Groupon and the Entertainment Book.
Got any other hidden app-gems that you use in your life? Share them with us below!
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