CLEVELAND - Social media is changing the way companies do business. For consumers, this means faster access to discounts. NewsChannel5 On Your Side found ways to never pay full price again.
Clipping coupons for your grocery shopping is not the "only" place you can save. How about half off a massage or dinner? It's possible if you know where to look.
"I don't think I ever paid full price since the economy crashed," Ellen Smolenski explained.
Smolenski's computer keyboard is the "key" to saving money. "I go online everyday to see because there is always something new. It's never the same deal ."
When consumers stopped spending, companies looked for new ways to attract business. The Internet was the answer for many.
LivingSocial , Groupon , iDine Deals , and Woot change their offers daily for everything from restaurants to electronics. Some of these sites advertise savings up to 90%. It should be noted, the majority of the deals appear to be around 50% off.
Groupon and LivingSocial are two similar sites. You can sign up for the daily deal by email or just go to the website to see it. The difference is that Groupon only validates the deal if an unspecified number of people take advantage of it. Groupon wants you to share the deal with your friends, and doesn't charge you if the deal doesn't pan out.
There are no quotas on LivingSocial, but you can get the deal for free if you share it with friends. If three friends buy the deal based on the link you shared with them, it's free to you.
"Throughout my usage of Groupon I probably saved over $500," Smolenski added.
Smolenski even makes money on Groupon. She refers friends, and if they click on her link and buy the deal she gets what she calls Groupon bucks. Groupon also has a rewards program , and offers different incentives to earn more rewards.
Right now, iDine Deals is only in Cleveland and Houston. They offer discounts up to 50% off at restaurants. There are only a set number of discounts.
Woot's website says it offers "cool stuff cheap." You'll find a lot of electronics on this site. The offers change daily, and can sell out. You're only allowed to buy up to 3 of the same product, so you can't buy in bulk. The website tries to dissuade you from returning the item. There is an email address, but no customer service number to talk to a live person. If the item is defective, the best you'll get is probably a refund because there are only a set number of products.
Kashless allows members to post all sorts of items for free. On the day we looked, Cleveland members were offering everything from free comforters to free dirt. The site claims membership takes just 30 seconds.
ToolzDo claims it makes life simpler and easier by allowing neighbors to rent and swap free stuff. It allows you to keep unwanted stuff out of a landfill, and the site promotes freecycling in your town.
Promotional codes and printable coupons
If you need to save on clothing, travel, or gadgets there are websites that offer the latest promotional code and printable coupon.
Smolenski likes FatWallet , because she can get cash back. It also offers coupons, deals, and savings if you buy something from one of their affiliated stores. Before you shop online, check FatWallet's referral links so you can save even more. For example, if you need something from Bloomingdale's, you can take advantage of coupons plus earn 3% cash back on your purchase. Most of the stores we saw on this site are national.
Ebates is another popular cash back site. It offers coupons, coupon codes, and cash back opportunities if you click on their link the the store. Again, most of these stores are national.
The best advice to finding the discounts is to type in the product you want and the words "promotional code" into a Google search. It will bring up the codes. The only caution is that the links are sometimes expired or the discount may not apply to the specific product you are buying.
HeyButler offers coupons and discount gift cards for local shops. You can save on gift cards for restaurants, clothing and apparel stores, parks and recreation, and services. The parks and recreation deals were for karate, the movies, bowling, and golf on the day we checked. The site also offers a rewards program for members to earn free stuff.
While Restaurant.com doesn't offer promotional codes, you need to look for one before heading to this site to save. You can often get 80% off the deal if you have the right code. Without the code, you'll still get a deal. You can buy restaurant gift certificates for a reduced price. $25 gift certificates will cost you just $10, but you with a promotional code you can get it for just $2.
The deals are helping customers save, and businesses survive.