Apparently, I’ve got savings on the brain lately — from cell phone trade-ins to amateur hacks designed to squeeze a little more functionality out of last-gen products.

I know, I know — for some people, talking about finances is as much fun as taking a trip to the doctor’s office. But it’s all in how you look at it: It’s not penny-pinching as much as just putting more green in your wallet. Who doesn’t like that? And thanks to the device sitting in your pocket, purse or desktop, you can scrounge up a little more using a tool you’re already familiar with: Twitter.

With social media being a huge business trend, most of your favorite companies are probably already riding the 140-character wave, like:

Apple: @AppStore@iTunesMusic
AT&T: @ATT@ATTNews and 
Electronic Arts: @EA
HTC: @htc
Microsoft: @Microsoft@XBOX
Motorola Mobility: @Motorola
Nokia: @Nokia
Research In Motion: @BlackBerry
Rockstar: @rockstargames
Samsung USA: @Samsungtweets
Sony: @Sony, @PlayStation
Sprint: @Sprint
Verizon: @Verizon@VerizonWireless, @VerizonSupport, @FiOSTV
T-Mobile USA: @TMobile

Unlike an email or voice mail in some generic inbox that may never see the light of day, your Tweets stand a much better chance of being noticed and addressed. There are social marketing specialists that get hired to man these channels, so if you’ve got a legitimate complaint, someone will likely see it and respond.

Here are a few other tips to bear in mind. (If you’re a Twitter veteran, feel free to add to them in the comments section.)

  • You can only send private direct messages to contacts who follow you.
  • If a company doesn’t follow you, but you’re hoping to get one of your Tweets noticed, be sure to include its @ account name (or a hashtag, if the company’s following a particular trend).
  • Tweets are usually saved and recoverable, so if a company Tweeted a coupon code yesterday, you can go back and look it up. (The URL format for Twitter accounts is typically or!/username.)

Many companies break announcements or offer deals via Twitter, so it makes sense to be in the loop — and not just in tech. Restaurants, supermarkets, car rental services, hotels, pharmacies, and a vast selection of other businesses have hopped on the Twitter wagon, so staying connected to the goings on of your fav brands has never been easier.

For example, travel is another excellent industry to follow. Not only have people gotten deals from accounts like @JetBlueCheeps, or direct from the airlines themselves via accounts such as  @VirginAtlantic@AmericanAir and others, but if there’s trouble with a flight you’ve already booked, airlines will often Tweet about it first.

Last, but not least, don’t overlook aggregate accounts for Twitter deals. Places like CheapTweet, for example, collects Twitter deals and puts it online and (of course) Tweets them — everything from shoes to food to home solar panels. Deals are well-rated by users, as well as those with high-volume Tweets, rank highly on its list. @RetailMeNot also sends out coupon codes to the Twitterverse. (For fashion mavens, consider following @shopbop@samplesalesites, @shopstyle and @LuckyMagazine for some deals and steals.)

Twitter is a powerful tool, and the reason for that is actually quite simple: By Tweeting, your plea is in the public eye, and there’s nothing some companies like more than a little good P.R. It benefits them, and it benefits you. Plus, with a little more in your pocket, maybe you’ll be able to afford that shiny new tech toy you’ve been drooling over. Best of all, if you’re following the right accounts, it may not even have to cost you full price.

Are you using social media to save you some bucks? What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten? Share your stories (or advice) below.

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