There’s a lot written about how social media can wreak havoc on your budget. There’s the argument that the time we spend has a financial cost in lost productivity elsewhere. Perhaps the most obvious example is the accessibility of shopping online and the constant barrage of advertising via our daily feed suggesting that we absolutely need something new and better.
According to a Sensis social media report released in May of this year, the average Australian spends 8.5 hours a week on Facebook and 24% of us admit to checking in with our account up to 5 times a day.
But we don’t want another lesson in why our time spent on social media is bad for us.
There are two sides to every story and there are some real ways we can make, save and learn about money through social media that can benefit our personal finances.
Here are 8 ways these accounts could be worth more to you than just a fun distraction!
- Follow companies you like
By “liking” them on Facebook and following them on Twitter, you’ll receive deals and special giveaways that might not be announced anywhere else. Companies are engaging more and more this way through social media, so you could be missing out even if you’re on their mailing list.
- Attract discounts based on your social media following
Companies are recognising the advertising value of individual social media ‘influencers.’ Building your social media following can now translate into personal product discounts. For example, Hotelied.com is a hotel accommodation site that offers members discounts on accommodation based on their social media following – in the hope that they will spread the word!
- Create Twitter lists
You can create separate lists on Twitter for different companies you follow (i.e., one list for retail stores, one for travel deals, etc.). Then you only need to browse through those lists once a week or whenever you’re coming up to book a holiday for example.
- Search hashtags
Hashtags (#) are used to quickly search specific topics on all popular social media platforms. You can use them to search for deals if you know what you’re looking for. For example, if you are looking for holiday deals for Hawaii you could search #travel, #deals, #Hawaii and you’ll get a list of updates & posts from various companies who have posted their latest Hawaii deals! Try it!
- Make and save with Facebook groups
You know the ones I’m talking about – the members-only swap, buy, sell or classifieds that allow you to list items you have to sell. It’s easy to pick up a bargain on these second-hand pages (especially when you’re checking in 5 times a day!), and it can be just as easy to make a sale. Rather than put your belongings out on the side of the road or simply give them away, it costs nothing to list something for sale and you might just make yourself some spare change.
- Save money with DIY on Pinterest
Pinterest is a hub of inspiration for projects involving the restoration or upcycling of furniture around the house. However, for the less handy amongst us, there is DIY inspiration for the everyday things we use such as homemade cleaning products and storage solutions for around the house – which can save you plenty.
- Pin your way to an organised household
Meal planning instructions, freezer meal ideas, kid’s meal inspiration, tips & tricks for lowering your grocery bill, a million and one ways to save money, and all the printables you could imagine (printables are downloadable worksheets for organising your life) are available on Pinterest!
- Expand your personal finance knowledge with Twitter
Using Twitter, you can follow some of the brightest minds in personal finance as well as relevant money or financial news sites. By doing this, you are able to receive insights, information and expert opinions on all areas of personal finance on a daily basis. Browsing this information every day will improve your depth of knowledge of personal finances.
So next time you feel guilty for checking your Facebook page for the fifth time since breakfast, don’t be! Refresh your feed for the sixth time, get pinning, and #hashtagtoyourheartscontent, you’re saving money after all!
Rebecca is a work from home, full-time mum. She works together with her father in his wholesale carpet business. She also runs a blog that aims to inspire mums everywhere to confidently pursue better money management skills. A dip in the ocean, a spot of yoga, good coffee and beach time with her family is what fills up the rest of her spare time. You can check out her blog at www.thefiscalmum.com