Location, Location, Location

Social networking sites aren’t just for the young and restless anymore. More and more, they’re becoming hot spots for deals and steals.

Think social media is just a big waste of time? Think it’s just for the young people? Just for the moms who want to share the vacation pictures of the family, or (shhh, don’t tell anyone!) people addicted to Farmville? Wrong. Social media is also a way to save money, which is my middle name.

It could be as easy as joining a few fan pages. Did you know that joining the Facebook fan pages of the King of Prussia Mall and other local boutiques will give you the inside scoop on special events and discounts? With one click you can “like” them and that can lead to savings on everything from clothes to cakes. Sometimes you get special coupons or just a special alert about sales. The same applies for restaurants, like Ruby’s Diner in Suburban Square. Its fan page has sections where you can find coupons to make dining out with the family more affordable.

And then there’s a lesser-known social media called FourSquare, which is my new best friend. Think Facebook that is all about location. You download Foursquare to your smart phone, invite friends, and then “check in” when you get somewhere, thus letting your friends see where you are (OK, some may find this a bit creepy or just too much information to be sharing). Here’s the part I like: When you “check in” somewhere, a screen comes up that tells you if there’s a deal to be had. Many places offer deals if it’s the first time you’ve “checked in” somewhere. On a recent story, my first-time check-ins got me a free cup of coffee, a free fruit bar, a free game of bowling and free shoe rentals, plus a free appetizer at a Mexican restaurant in Pennsauken. At Main Line Cycles, a check-in will get you a free water bottle. At Houlihan’s on City Avenue, you get free fries. Check in at Six Flags Rollercoaster Cuts in King of Prussia and you can get 15 percent off a haircut. The Oakmont Pub in Havertown offers a free pitcher of domestic beer every fourth check-in. (Now, mind you, you can’t check in four times in one night.)

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Sometimes, you can get even better deals or free stuff if you become the “mayor” of a location. I know, seems silly right? But whoever checks in at a place the most times becomes the mayor. I admit I’m the mayor of my hair salon. Back to free: At Play-A-Round Golf in Malvern, the mayor drinks free while you’re playing. The mayor at TJ’s Everyday in Paoli gets his or her first draft free.

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!