Saturday Shopping: Saving on holiday shopping and nine other money stories you may have missed this week

Saving on holiday shopping and nine other money stories you may have missed this week


Black Friday looms and at least one company is closing its doors for the day

MarketWatch rounded up 10 of the most interesting money stories published over the past week that readers might have overlooked.

Holiday shopping bargains
Yes, the children have Halloween on their minds, but you are probably already quite worried about fulfilling their holiday wishes. Then again, your biggest concern may be coming up with thoughtful presents to give to your parents. That’s an annual nightmare for many people.

Catey Hill provided a detailed plan for maximizing savings on holiday purchases on the “day you want to do it least.”

What about holiday stocks?
As we continue the traditional annual holiday-spending orgy, we might as well try to make some money at the same time. Tonya Garcia discussed a new survey indicating that the average holiday spending by U.S. consumers will increase by 12.5% this year, with the biggest gain in home and holiday furnishings. This underlines the theme that the furniture industry is growing faster than the overall economy.

Resisting Black Friday
Not everyone is content to follow the herd of “sheeple” and scramble like mad to get their share of bargains on Black Friday.

Barbara Kollmeyer covered outdoor retailer REI’s plan not only to close on Black Friday but to make it impossible to place orders on its website. Jerry Stritzke, the company’s CEO, said the day after Thanksgiving would be reserved to go hiking.

Dreaded accounting problems
We saw on Oct. 21, when shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. VRX, -15.90% dropped 19% after the company was accused by a short seller of incorrectly reporting revenue, how quickly investors can run away from a stock. Valeant’s free-fall has continued, as the company admitted its relationship with Philidor, a specialty-pharmacy company, get cut off by benefits providers. Valeant then severed its ties with Philidor.

Shares of Valeant were down 29% from a month earlier through Thursday’s close at $111.50.

Nobody can blame investors’ natural instinct to bravely run away when a company has any hint of accounting problems. Another fine example, discussed by Tomi Kilgore, is Marvell Technology Group Ltd.’s MRVL, -0.06% 45% decline this year amid accounting-related announcements.

Read More Here: Saving on holiday shopping and nine other money stories you may have missed this week – MarketWatch

Thursday Tools: How to Save for a Home When All Your Money Is Going Toward Rent

How to Save for a Home When All Your Money Is Going Toward Rent

Source: How to Save for a Home When All Your Money Is Going Toward Rent

save for a home

Renters everywhere are feeling the constraints of rising rents. Higher rents erode your ability to save the cash you need to buy a home. Your living situation becomes a Catch-22: the longer you rent, the bigger percentage of your discretionary income you may need to save to offset rent increases.

Saving up to buy a home is no easy feat. You typically need at least a minimum of $20,000 to cover a down payment plus closing costs. That’s because you’ll need at least a 3.5% down payment to qualify for a mortgage and closing costs can be around $7,000 to $10,000 (about 2% to 3% of the purchase price). This goes without saying, but the higher the home price, the more funds you will need for the down payment.

(Keep in mind, you’ll also need a good credit score to qualify for the best mortgage rates. You can get your credit ready to buy a home by checking your free annual credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com and looking at your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.)

Picture this scenario: you’re diligently putting away at least 15% of your gross monthly income to buy a home in the near future. If your income is $8,333 per month ($100,000 a year) either from you or a spouse or combined, you would be saving $15,000 per year (or $1,250 a month) to meet that 15% mark.

Savings Tip: A 15% home savings rate is a figure you may want to aim for if you make at least $60,000 a year and are looking to buy a house within the next two years. In some markets, however, your savings rate may need to be higher to be consistent with the cost of living in that area.

As demand for housing remains strong, monthly rents are subject to change commensurate with what the market will bear. Let’s say your rent payment is $2,200 per month now, but rises to $2,500 due to housing market changes. You would need to find a way to recover the $300 increase if that money was formerly going into your savings fund. How do you do it?

How to Keep Rent Increases From Ruining Your Plan

Taking no action and using the money you would be saving for a home to cover the higher rent payment will lengthen your homebuying trajectory as your savings rate diminishes. With the rent now at $2,500 and your annual income still at $100,000, your savings rate, as a consequence of losing that $300, falls to 11.4% a year.

You may still get you a home, but will perhaps have to look for one in a lower price range or a different neighborhood. Alternately, you can lengthen your timeframe for making your purchase. You can also cut expenses to offset the rent increase. Here are a few ways to possibly do so:

  1. Cut an expense equal to the rent increase. Sounds obvious, but if you can find another spending area to cut back on (Daily Starbucks? A rarely-used gym membership? Online shopping?) rather than diverting the home savings to cover your higher rent, you’ll be able to stay on track.
  2. Look for a new place with a lower rental obligation. The process might be difficult, but could be worth it for the greater good of buying a home in the near future.
  3. Move in with family to aggressively save for your new house. Going from $2,200 a month in rent to $0 can super-accelerate your homebuying timeline.
  4. Get a roommate to help pay the rent and offset the increase. 
  5. Lock in your rental amount with a lease, keeping in mind that a lease binds you to the property. This contract, however, might not be such a bad thing if the term of the lease is consistent with your savings and homebuying plan.
  6. Consider buying a home sooner, if you’re financially able to do so. Many 401(k) and retirement fund accounts allow for special privilege borrowing provisions to buy a primary residence. If you have a slush fund in your 401(k), this could be a good option and the money comes out of your paycheck pre-tax.

Wednesday Whatever: Last Minute Halloween Costumes

If you’re reading this, it’s too late.

Let’s face it, you were most likely living your best life in the real world so Halloween costume shopping wasn’t exactly high on your to-do list; it happens.  Now it’s 2 hours before that costume party all your friends are going to and you don’t have anything to wear.  Don’t be that one weirdo in regular clothes. Instead, try out one of these cheeky last-minute costume ideas so you can join in on the fun. Focusing on minimal effort and maximum convenience, I’ve put together a list of 4 easy-to-DIY costumes that require little more than the arts & crafts skills of a 4th grader and hopefully some items you already own!

Now get to it – you’ve got to leave for the party soon…

Ghost

Groundbreaking, right? Purely for the massive amount of real-life LOL’s this will bring to the party, consider this your top choice. This costume basically needs no explanation. With nothing more than a $10 flat sheet (or the one from your bed can work) and a pair of scissors, you’ve got a cheeky QUICK costume. Unfortunately, ghosts don’t have noses so you’ll be the annoying mouth-breather all night but a small price to pay for maximum laugh potential. For the extra time-strapped (or just supremely lazy), you can also forgo the scissors and opt for a sharpie – just draw on the face. And for the extra ambitious last-minute Halloween partygoer, stop by your local convenience store and pick up a pumpkin basket to complete your holiday look.

Mummy

Consider this a more advanced last-minute costume for those of you responsible enough to have more than one extra roll of toilet paper lying around.  Start by outfitting yourself in all white. (It’ll help disguise the gaps in your toilet paper rolling technique and serve as a good base for when someone inevitably decides to rip off your costume.) The next step may require some assistance from a friend because you’ll need to wrap yourself from head to toe in toilet paper, tucking in, taping, or tying the ends of each roll as you go along. And…that’s it. If you want to ensure that your costume makes it through the night, consider making this costume out of elastic bandage wraps. Then again, you probably don’t care that much if you’re here in the first place.

Zombie

So this costume is all about the makeup. If you have a girlfriend or access to makeup, you’ve saved yourself an important step. First start with some old clothes then shred, rip, and tear them up a little. Then take fake blood or rep lipstick and strategically cover your face and clothes with it. I’d suggest drawing some blood stains around your mouth to get the full effect. Bonus points if you can paint your face white to achieve that realistic “undead” look.

Cowboy

This option is for the guy with a more extensive wardrobe. Things you’ll need to pull this off: plaid shirt, blue denim, brown boots, bandana. Tuck a plaid shirt into your jeans and tie the bandana “shoot em up”-style around the front of your neck. If you happen to have an old western hat or large rodeo belt buckle lying around, great! Add that to your costume for maximum effect. If not, try to play yourself off as a cowboy anyway and if that doesn’t work, you can always say you’re a farmer.

Tuesday Tips: 7 Ways to Cut Down on Holiday Gift-Giving

Putting a halt to endless gift exchanges with family and friends will save you time, money and stress.

A small gift in a man's hand.

Setting a realistic budget before you shop and asking about alternatives to gift-giving can help you save money on holiday shopping this year.

As the holiday gift-giving season approaches, we often are filled with a sense of dread: How will we ever find the perfect gift for everyone on our list, the time to finish our shopping and the money to pay for all the stuff we need to buy?

Some Americans are saving money and sanity by changing their gift-giving traditions and, in some cases, eliminating gift-giving entirely.

“I just gave up altogether,” says Sandy Smith, a human resources professional in New York City who blogs at Yes, I Am Cheap. Several years ago, after realizing she had blown a substantial bonus on gifts people had long forgotten, she told her parents, brother and sister that she was no longer going to buy Christmas gifts for them, and she didn’t want them to buy her anything, either.

Instead, she would take the family out to dinner at her expense. Her brother has since joined her in financing the outing, which the family looks forward to every year.

“We’ve enjoyed going out and hanging out and enjoying different cultures and cuisines,” she says. The first year she took the family to an authentic Chinese restaurant in New York City’s Chinatown. “It was such an exotic experience for my parents, and they loved it,” she says. “We’ve been introducing them to different foods all over the city. They’ve had a good time traveling the world through food.”

Holiday traditions are important to many people, but you may find that your relatives are happy to quit exchanging gifts, especially as the family grows.

“It’s all about time, money and energy,” says Stefanie O’Connell, founder of the personal finance blog The Broke and Beautiful Life. “I think that the gift-giving process is a toll on all three of those things.”

She suggested to her four siblings several years ago that they quit giving each other holiday gifts and concentrate on their parents and older relatives. Not only did she save money, she discovered that she had more time available to spend with her family since she wasn’t out shopping. Her friends draw names for a Secret Santa exchange and they have the added bonus of enjoying the get-together where they exchange the gifts.

Some families find it easy to limit gift-giving among adults but still want to make their children’s holidays magical. But buying fewer things may be better for your children, says Andrea Deckard, a mother of three boys in Cincinnati and author at Savings Lifestyle.

She and her husband decided several years ago that they would buy each of their three boys only four gifts every year: Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. They coordinate with grandparents and other relatives, so that if someone else in the family is buying one of the boys a jacket, the parents will get him socks or underwear, for example.

“We want to make sure they’re not getting too much junk,” Deckard says. How do the kids react to receiving fewer gifts? “It’s not as much of an issue as some people might think it is,” she says, adding that her sons, who are now 8, 11 and 16, have learned from the experience. “Our kids now realize that it’s stuff and we don’t really need all this stuff this time of year.”

Getting off the gift-giving merry-go-round starts with a frank discussion with friends and family.

Smith, whose blog chronicles her journey of paying off $120,000 in debt from student loans and a failed business venture, has been vocal in recent years about her less stuff, more time philosophy. She believes it frees her friends from worrying about whether they need to buy her something because she’s buying them something.

“It turns into this crazy thing where they’re not really giving you a gift because they want to but because it’s a pre-emptive strike,” Smith says. “When you put it out there, it makes things easier for everyone. … I think a lot of people want to go back to simpler things. I don’t think people will protest much.”

Here are seven ways to cut down on holiday gift-giving, while saving you time, money and stress:

Set a realistic budget, and then figure out how to stay within it. Many people buy gifts without calculating their total expenditures and are surprised when the bills arrive. “Getting honest about what those numbers look like is a way to get grounded,” O’Connell says. “You don’t want to be paying your Christmas bills when spring comes.”

Talk to your significant other about alternatives. O’Connell and her boyfriend put the money they would have spent on gifts toward trips they take together. Other couples may prefer a night at the movies or a romantic weekend at home.

Suggest to relatives and friends that you end or limit gift exchanges. Some families may draw names for gift exchange, do a Secret Santa drawing, set dollar limits or end gift-giving entirely. Others, like Smith’s family, may do something together instead of exchanging gifts. “It’s been better for my relationship with my family,” Smith says. “The experiences have been so much better than the gifts that I was giving.”

Coordinate gift-giving for kids with other friends and relatives. Deckard’s family members keep in touch to make an effort to limit the gifts they buy to things the children actually want or need. If your child wants something expensive, all the relatives might go in and buy that one gift, rather than buying individual gifts.

Opt out of office gift exchanges. Bake cookies for co-workers or write each a note about what you appreciate. O’Connell, who works in theater in addition to writing, gave up participating when she noticed how much some co-workers worried over the gift exchange. “The Secret Santa became this financial stressor that people weren’t finding joy in,” she says.

Ask your relatives if they would prefer alternatives to gifts. Many older people don’t want more things. Grandma may have all the sweaters she needs, but she may really want you to come over with dinner one evening or clean her gutters. Or, perhaps all the relatives can go in together and buy a year of housecleaning for the grandparents. Young families may appreciate an evening of babysitting, and teens may really enjoy an outing alone with a relative.

Bring edible gifts to parties. O’Connell comes from a big Ukrainian family where guests are expected to bring gifts. “You don’t come anywhere empty-handed,” O’Connell says. But a $5 bottle of wine is considered gift enough, she says. Wine, chocolate, cookies or other food items don’t cost much and won’t end up on a shelf collecting dust.

Monday Money: Teaching kids how to manage their budget

Money matters: Teaching kids how to manage their budget

Most Parenting Panel responders said they didn’t link allowance to chores

KidsSave

Teaching children money management skills is best done a little at a time.

The query: How are you teaching money management skills to your kids? If you give one, how do you handle an allowance (for example, how often given, earn from doing chores, must use money in a certain way, etc.)?

Frugal and unafraid: Somehow we raised very frugal children, but it wasn’t via paid chores or allowances. As parents, we couldn’t get comfortable with paying kids for being kids or for helping with tasks that we regarded as family responsibilities. Instead we offered money for what they wanted or needed whenever they made a well-reasoned request, and they just didn’t request very much money or ask very often! I think if kids see parents being frugal yet unafraid to justify an expenditure, kids learn to do the same. I think things only get warped when money becomes a pawn in emotion-laden interactions between parents and kids (see: guilt, anger), or when kids are allowed to begin believing that they are owed spending money just for being kids. Had we to do it over, though, we would figure out how to get more chore help!

— Ellen W., of Eugene, a 58-year-old mother of kids, 22 and 17.

Start with small consequences: We always believed in the principle of allowing children to make mistakes while the consequences are small. This relates, in particular, to money. Our two daughters got a monthly clothing allowance starting at age 10. They could spend it all every month or save for larger purchases. They learned wise money management “on the ground” when the worst that could happen was coming up short on buying some desired item. To this day both of them are far more sophisticated about money than I was at their age. They balance college debt, mortgages, car payments, and the cost of raising children with incredible savvy.

This kind of system provides a clear structure for the child. They know what to expect and what is expected of them. One time I was in The Gap with my youngest daughter and one of her friends. While my daughter was carefully examining price tags and creating unique outfits, her friend whipped through the store rather joylessly with her mother’s credit card and was done. As we waited for my daughter, the friend said this to me, “I wish I knew what my parents expected. Sometimes I think I’ve spent too much and sometimes not enough. I just think it would be more fun if it mattered more to them.”

Self-reliant adults start as children who were allowed to learn personal responsibility. Being 12 and not able to buy a new shirt because of poor money management is far preferable to being 40 and losing one’s home to foreclosure.

— Cheryl C., of Eugene, remarried mother of two adult daughters and grandmother to five boys.

Talk about it often: As a parent to two adult children I am very proud of their money management skills and feel it is an area that was done well. They both lived on a budget during college and now that they are employed are saving for retirement and other big ticket items.

Money was always talked about, at the grocery store we would discuss prices (learning how to figure out the best buy), choices were made when purchasing clothing, we turned out lights to save money, we didn’t waste food and you didn’t get everything you wanted, parents included. A weekly allowance was given starting at an early age and while chores were expected it was not tied to the allowance. Your allowance was to purchase anything that you wanted, toys, games etc or as the children aged, movies, outings with friends, etc. When the kids got to high school the allowance increased, was given monthly and they were expected to buy, clothing, lunches and gas for car. In high school parents paid for sport’s fees, school sport necessities and hair cuts.

— Laurie R., of Eugene, divorced single mother of two adult children.

Joint management: That’s a tough one as my daughter still can not mange money. That’s not unusual for young adults with special needs. Her money is managed by a Grantee who helps her prioritize how she wants to spend any extra funds left after obligations are met.

—Jae M., of Eugene, mother to a 28 year-old daughter, who has cerebral palsy and mental illness

Grow and sell: Money skills were taught early in my family. My dad was an economist and lived through the Depression and my mom was a budget-minded parent, and they had five children. We had a weekend routine of chores that were expected, and we were not paid to do them. There was one exception and that was the chore of our gardens. My parents involved us from the ground up. We had a large lot and my parents parceled off an area for a garden. I had four brothers and we planted on our lot our own produce. We tilled the soil, planted, weeded and watered. When the produce was ready, we sold it to our parents for our family meals. We had lots of ownership and pride in our contribution. Food always tastes better when you grow it yourself. Mom and Dad paid us the going rate for our produce and then put the money in a college fund. All of us went to college thanks to our parent’s foresight. When money came from hard work, it wasn’t spent frivolously.

—Anita H., of Eugene, mom to three adult children, of which two are deceased, grandmother to two (8 and 10) and Parenting Now! program manager.

Give it a schedule: I was never really taught about money, how to save, and how to make financial decisions but I think these are important lessons for a child to learn. I believe that allowances can be a good means of learning about handling money however, I don’t believe in tying allowance to household chores. Rather, I see the household chores as learning about what it takes to be a part of a family, a community, that everyone needs to do their part in order for things to run smoothly. Allowances need to be given on a regular schedule like a paycheck so the child can learn to make the money last for the “pay period,” if they choose to spend it. Allowances can be seen as the paycheck for “the work” they do outside the home, meaning school and play — depending on the age of the child.

— Suzanne M., of Eugene, married mother to two adult daughters and a grandchild

Spend how they wish: It was several years ago, so I don’t remember the amount, but our kids got their allowance once per month. Our daughter spent it immediately and then had to do without. Our sons were much more conservative and made it last. No limits on how it could be spent — it was THEIR money. That was the whole point. They had to do chores around the house, but the allowance was not tied to the chores. We also had a “toll box.” If a family member left an item (toy, clothes, etc.) somewhere it did not belong (like the living room floor) anyone else could put it in the “toll box.” Owner had to pay a nickel to get it back. When there was enough money in the box, we all went out for ice cream.

— Sandy and Jim B., of Springfield, married parents of three adult children and grandmother of two.

Open savings account: When my children were old enough to receive an allowance (at about 6 or 7), they were taken to the bank to open savings accounts. They were expected to save 40 percent of their allowances that was deposited in their bank accounts, leaving 60 percent to spend as they wished. I can remember how excited they would become when going to bank to make the deposit and how proud they were of their bank books. They were given age appropriate chores to do in exchange for the money they received each week.

My youngest daughter was quite frugal and happily watched her savings grow and my oldest daughter also did well and accumulated enough to buy some of her clothes. My son had trouble keeping from spending the whole allowance, but he soon learned the value of saving. I think teaching a child the value of money and how to spend (and save) wisely is an important life lesson.

— Patricia B., of Springfield, mother of three adult children (two are adopted and interracial) and grandmother of 10

Extra work: Teaching children about money management is a very important life skill that can start at a very young age. We did not give our daughter an allowance and we did not pay her to do chores. As a family, we all have responsibilities and we do our assigned tasks with a happy heart because we function together better, when everyone does their part. We also created a chart of extra work or chores that could be done with a value assigned to each task. That gives kids the opportunity to earn money they can spend as they like. As a parent, you should be guiding your kids choices about saving and spending, and let them suffer consequences if they aren’t harmful. We taught the biblical principle of tithing because that’s what we believe in as a family. You can teach about saving, interest, borrowing and other life skills that will eventually come up for them!

— Lori W., of Eugene, married with a grown daughter and two foster kids.

Must earn it: We found that when our kids had to “earn” their spending money they put much thought into what they spent it on. “Money” was put into context — “hours worked.”

When my daughter was 10, she wanted an American Girl Doll. We could have bought it for her, but instead we told her she needed to earn the money to buy it herself. It took a bit of time, but she mowed the lawn and cleaned the house until she earned enough to buy her doll. This was a big boost to her self-esteem. She had “earned” it herself.

— Kim L., of Springfield, mother of three grown children and grandmother to one

Learning to prioritize: We began teaching financial principles when each of our children reached ninth grade. Up until then, we provided everything that our kids needed, from haircuts to sports fees to birthday gifts for their friends. When they reached high school, we started giving them $60 per month and taught them how to plan ahead and budget, so that they would have enough money to cover all of their expenses. This was difficult at times because inevitably each of them reached a point where they had spent more on “entertainment” expenses and didn’t have enough for something else they needed. They learned about prioritizing expenses, so that they would have enough money for the important things, and they learned to do without, at times. They have learned to be frugal and to spend within their means —both important life skills.

— Dave and Dawn L., of Eugene, parents to four kids (ages 9 to 21, one with autism, one a foster child that they adopted)

Dollar store math: One of my favorite ways to teach my kids how to use their money is by going to a dollar store. Whether cashing in rewards for work done or buying sibling gifts, whenever we go to a dollar store we have all kinds of money discussions. We talk about saving money, setting budgets, needs versus wants, what kinds of gifts are appropriate for the recipients, what makes something a good value, assessing quality, cost per unit, and how to stick to one’s list and priorities when there are other tempting items on the shelves. It’s amazing how careful they are with their own money! Dollar store math is simple and the store is small, so my kids can estimate their costs, count their money, and complete the transaction themselves. Dollar stores are consumer economics with training wheels.

— Emilyann L., of Eugene, married mother of six (ages 3 to 13)

Source: Money matters: Teaching kids how to manage their budget

Sunday Saving: Ten ways social media can save you money

Ten ways social media can save you money

Whether you’re a social media mastermind, or only active on one or two sites, chances are you aren’t taking full advantage of social media’s financial possibilities. Here are 10 tips for saving serious cash on your next purchase.

Social MediaMaybe it’s a generational thing. Some people love social media, and have multiple accounts across many social sites, while others are less enthused about using sites like Facebook or Twitter.

Whether you’re a social media mastermind, or only active on one or two sites, chances are you aren’t taking full advantage of social media to save you money. Here are 10 tips for saving serious cash on your next purchase.

Follow Restaurants, Get a Discount

Some restaurants, particularly new restaurants that are trying to drum up business, will offer a discount if you follow them on social media. More established eateries might offer similar promotions, but only during select times (happy hour or holiday weekends, for example). Follow restaurants in your area on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to stay on top of their latest deals and promotions. Don’t forget to also follow restaurants in cities where you travel for work, or to visit family.

Some companies announce flash sales or sample sales on their social media pages before announcing events via their website or mailing list. Doing so allows them to build a social buzz about their sales.

Make sure you follow your favorite stores and designers so you don’t miss out! Look for social accounts to announce flash deals or limited-time coupons around the holidays. Christmas is a big one, but some of the smaller holidays can also be an occasion for companies to drum up sales via social media. Black Friday flash sales or other such deals usually have limited quantities, so it’s important to act quickly to score those deals.

Don’t want to clutter your personal Twitter feed with too much corporate filler? Set up a second Twitter account just for following your favorite stores, brands, and manufacturers, and watch that feed for sales.

Search Hashtags for Awesome Deals

Twitter may not be your favorite social network, but it’s a great tool for quickly finding related stories or trends. Search for hashtags and see what deals other people have found today. Hashtags such as #deals or #sales can be a good place to start, but experiment to find the right search query for your particular interests.

Let Someone Else Do the Work for You

While following specific brands and stores is great if you’re a loyal fan, many of us are impartial to where our savings come from, so long as the deals are good. In that case, you might want to seek out deal curators that you can follow on Twitter. Naturally, we’d recommend following DealNews, but bloggers with an eye on saving can be good sources for hand-picked deals too.

Vent Your Frustrations

Had a bad experience with a product? Complain about it on social media. One negative tweet can cause a social media firestorm, so many corporate Twitter accounts are authorized to rush to your aid if you’ve had a bad experience. In compensation for your bad experience, some companies may offer refunds, coupons, discounts on future purchases, or other incentives to help repair the relationship.

Unlock Discounts by Interacting on Facebook

Some stores will “unlock” discounts when you engage with their Facebook page. You may need to share a piece of content or complete a survey. These discounts are usually in the neighborhood of 5% or 10% off. Old Navy has been known to offer such interactive discounts.

Reap the Rewards of Referrals

Shop at a website that gives you store credit for referrals? Share your unique referral link on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other social network you like. Clothing subscription service Stitch Fix and gourmet food basket company Hamptons Lane both thrive on the referral link business model.

Get a Little Help From Your Friends

Sometimes an awesome deal is still just a little bit too much. Why not reach out to your friends and family via social media to see if they want to go halfsies on a major purchase? This is a great way to save money on travel, but it’s also a smart way to save on smaller purchases as well. If you’re the same dress size as a few of your friends, tweet them a link to a great dress on sale, and see if they’d share joint custody of the dress with you.

Don’t Forget About Foursquare

Foursquare encourages businesses to offer special deals to customers who have checked into a location a set number of times. Frequent hotel guests might get bonus points after three stays, for example. To search for Foursquare specials near you, go to the option for “offering a special.” To redeem, you generally just have to show the special deal on your phone when checking in.

Search for Recalls to Get Refunds

Twitter is a great source of info about product recalls. Not only will you be safer, but you may even be entitled to a refund or coupons if you bought a recalled product. Knowing about recalls can also prevent you from buying products from troubled companies in the future. One good account to follow for recall notices is the official account of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Source: Ten ways social media can save you money