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I don’t waste my time checking into locations around town on Facebook. To me, it kind of looks like bragging to your friends about the great places you visit and, more importantly, it doesn’t typically save you money. Checking in to locations on Foursquare, on the other hand, helps me save money at my favorite restaurants, stores, and other locations around town.
What is Foursquare?
Foursquare is smartphone app that allows you to “check in” at virtually any locations, including restaurants, stores, events, venues, etc. The app awards points much like a credit card gives you reward points and, if you use it enough, you can unlock various badges that recognize your Foursquare prowess. You can use Foursquare to stay in touch with friends, compete with others for fun, or even keep a geographic diary as you go about your business.
According to Foursquare, over 20 million people use the service to check in to locations around the world. And, over two billion check-ins have occurred since the site was founded in 2007. Despite having more points than my friends and unlocking cool badges for my accomplishments, the most important aspect of Foursquare to me is saving money on items I already purchase and at restaurants that I frequent.
How to save money on Foursquare
There are several ways that you can earn discounts, coupons, and free items simply by using Foursquare and checking into your favorite locations around town when you visit. Here are five of the easiest ways to save money on Foursquare.
Look for special check-in deals. Look for the special offer icons on the smart phone app and at your favorite local restaurants and stores. A lot of stores offer discounts or freebies just for checking into the location on Foursquare. You may get a free appetizer at your favorite restaurant or a percentage discount at a local merchant.
Look for partnership deals. Some companies that you are already using are partnering up with Foursquare to offer money-saving opportunities to regular users. For example, American Express has teamed up with Foursquare and others to offer savings when you link your Amex card to your Foursquare account. Check in and pay with your Amex at the right merchants and you’ll earn credits on your card statement.
Become the Mayor. Many stores and restaurants have discounts that are specifically set aside for frequent visitors. For example, you can earn the title of Mayor of a location by checking in more frequently than anyone else over a specific period of time. The title of Mayor often comes with an exclusive special to reward you for your status.
Foursquare helps you skip the bad locations. How many times have you wasted your money on a horrible meal or were treated with poor service at a store? What if you could have known about it before hand? Foursquare allows its users to provide tips to one another right on the location’s check in page much in the same way that Yelp does.
These reviews can often tip you off to places that you should avoid. The tips on Foursquare can also help you make your dinner selection, find a great new restaurant, or help you find something special that you are looking for in a strange town.
Follow the brands that you love. Now specific brands and even products are getting into the Foursquare act. You can follow diverse product lines and their recommendations such as historical locations recommended by the History Channel or venues suggested by your local Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Bureau. You can even follow products that you buy frequently for even more deals and special announcements.
If you’re checking into a location simply to share with your friends where you have been, that can get old rather quickly. At some point, even our best friends get overwhelmed by the minutia of our daily lives. But if you’re looking for another way to keep some cash in your pocket, Foursquare can be a good tool.
Have you ever checked in on Foursquare? If not, what’s keeping you away? I’d love to hear your thoughts.