Can Social Media Shopping Save You Money?

Nowadays, almost every social media platform shows brand ads or allows company profiles you can follow and interact with. Have you considered what this means for your shopping habits and your budget?

If not, here’s what you need to know to decide for yourself if using social media to make purchasing decisions is right for you.

The big question: Can social media shopping save you money?


There are several ways you can use social media to nab some good deals and save some serious cash:

  • Sell or find deals on used goods. Places like your local Facebook Marketplace offer a forum to sell and buy items directly between platform users. Think of it as a big garage sale that runs all year long. You can earn extra cash selling items you no longer use or buy items for discounts you won’t find on other second-hand websites.
  • Follow coupon and budget bloggers. These folks have made saving money a career and a lifestyle. They can help you save money by showing you how to DIY projects or by connecting you to saving strategies or coupons you wouldn’t have time to source yourself.
  • Follow stores, brands, restaurants, museums , hotels, etc. on their social media accounts to uncover sales and exclusive coupons. This is perhaps the easiest and most obvious way to save money while using social media; however, it does require the time to follow companies you like and then watch their posts for deals.
  • Enter giveaways from followed brands/companies. This is a popular way for companies to reach new customers and reward followers. Entering usually requires you to share their post or tag a friend in the comments, but for that little amount of work and time you could score big!
  • Create a list of favorite retailer accounts on Twitter to see their sales and promotions sooner and more easily.
  • Search hashtags like #promocode or #couponcode to find discounts.
  • Use Foursquare to check in at your favorite retailers or restaurants and gain access to loyalty rewards.


On the flip side, using social media as a guide for purchases can cost you money:

  • Shady sellers, fake products, and scams abound online with deals that feel too good to pass up. The more nefarious accounts can lead to malware on your computer. Or you might just end up wasting money on a fake product that you can’t return.
  • Shopping mostly online will incur shipping costs and potentially lengthy return processes. It also prevents you from using a cash-only budget.
  • Time-sensitive promotions can rush you into a purchase you later regret.
  • Constantly following social media accounts hoping for a deal can cost you time you could otherwise spend making money or saving it elsewhere. Not to mention it can eat through a limited data plan on your cell phone.
  • Constantly surrounding yourself with brand posts, enticing deals, and lifestyle influencers can lead you to spend more in the spirit of FOMO (fear of missing out) or Keeping Up with the Joneses.

To back all of this up, an often-quoted 2012 study from a marketing research firm claimed that heavy social media use can inhibit self-control and encourage spending.


In the end, it comes down to being able to harness the money-saving potential of social media by using self-control and sticking to your budget. Like a credit card, it can be used as a tool for financial wellness or for overspending and consumer debt, depending on how you use it!

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