I find it awesome how many Internet tools we have nowadays at our disposal. You can do whatever you want online: meet friends, do business, learn, shop, and much more! I will never grow tired of discovering and exploring new opportunities Web 2.0 (and soon-to-be Web 3.0) offers to us. So in this post I am looking at social budget shopping and how we can save money with social media.
Some most useful Web 2.0 features mentioned below include:
- Personalization: create your own pages, alerts, lists, etc;
- Socialization: make new friends or share your shopping with your existing friends;
- Publicity: you no more have to guess if the retailer is reliable or a product quality is high – get access to multiple user reviews or ask your friends for recommendations.
Create your personalized saving alerts
FreeShipping.org , a free service that collects and organizes free shipping offers, has introduced a new social feature: you can save all your favorite coupons  in one place and get updated only on those offers that will be interesting to you.
Basically, it is a fully customizable email subscription offer that alerts you only when you want and on the events you choose. All you need is to register (which takes seconds) and add your favorite stores to your page. After that you are given the option to choose the alert frequency: weekly, on the chosen day of the week or as a new coupon appears. Of course, you can share your list with friends who will be able to see it but won’t be given an option to change it:
Another example of the personalized alert system is PriceGrabber ‘s price watching feature: if you have found the item you’d like to buy but can’t afford, you can set your desired price for it and receive an email notification once its price drops below your specified minimum. It is a cool feature as you have full control over your email box: receive only those notifications that will most probably result in the purchase.
A step further in the personalized email subscriptions was taken by Trackle  – a new web monitoring tool that allows you to track shopping portals and get notified once anything new happens. With it you can create multiple alerts and get notified once the price drops, a rare product becomes available or a new coupon code is issued.
Find and share product reviews
Nowadays you are given an opportunity to research the product thoroughly before buying it: explore user reviews, find reviews given by experts and even watch video reviews. PriceRunner  is one of the largest sources for product reviews I am aware of. It lists both users’ and experts’ reviews. The site also allows users to post video reviews and watch reviews created by other members. CNet  is another huge portal listing expert, user and video reviews in multiple product categories.
If you want to read reviews by people you really trust, you should consider using Needdit  or I Want One  Facebook applications. The latter provides you and your Facebook friends with the ability to review and vote on any Amazon.com products.
However the best way to find trustworthy reviews is to ask your friends on Twitter or search Twitter . Quick tip: if you want to find some negative reviews on the product or retailer, consider adding 🙁 to your search query, example: [iphone 🙁 ].
Save money by getting organized
Online wish lists as well as shopping lists are numerous and they offer cool features for you to get control over your shopping and spending. List your future and past purchases, save prices, sort your lists by various categories – as we know, proper organization is the key to success.
Giftag  is one good example of such site – it allows you to manage products into the lists, create categories and add tags. Moreover it offers a handy FireFox extension that takes the product page screenshot and saves it for you to better remember the product details:
Besides letting you organize your online shopping, the service provides a wealth of usual web 2.0 goodies: add friends, make your wish lists public, share your lists with friends, etc.
If you have many friends at your Facebook profile and want to share your shopping list with them, you don’t have to leave your favorite social network to do that – shop inside Facebook and let your friends see your wish lists and share their opinions.
What I Want  Facebook application is your best choice if you want to organize your shopping together with your Facebook friends:
- Organize your wish list according to priority, quantity and purchases.
- Create: shopping lists, What-I-Want, What-I-Have, recommendations, wish lists, etc.
- Share your wish list with your Facebook friends or with non-Facebook users too.
Share your shopping experiences
Today you don’t need any technical or marketing knowledge to create a site and get online visibility. Kaboodle  is a huge social shopping portal that among other cool features allows members to create shopping blogs and share your shopping experiences in public. You can post anything there, comment, subscribe to others’ blogs and rate them by giving “hearts”.
The site naturally offers plenty of other social web features: you can compile shopping lists, create and participate in polls, join groups and make friends. All your activities will be viewable in Facebook-like activity feed:
Do you use any social shopping tools? Which ones are your favorite? Please share your thoughts!