5 Ways That Pinterest Can Save You Money, Headaches

Pinterests New Look

By Abby Hayes

Pinterest, like all social media platforms, can be a huge time sink. And if you're not careful, it can cost you money, too. After all, it only takes a few failed Pinterest projects to funnel money into things you'll never use. But there is a flip side: Pinterest really can be a useful tool to improve your budget. Here are just five ideas:

1. Pin Budgeting Articles

One of the easiest ways to use Pinterest for money management is to create a board for money-saving or money-making ideas. Troll your favorite personal finance websites for ideas on saving money on groceries, buying a home or saving for retirement. Pin them all to a single board so you can easily reference them later.

And if you're a true neat freak (or just really like to read about personal finance), you could always break it down into separate boards.

2. Make a Shopping List

Pinterest is an excellent resource for planning. You might use it to gather ideas for Christmas gifts or your child's birthday party. And you don't just have to pin do-it-yourself gift and party-planning ideas, either.

You can use Pinterest to link to ready-made products from your favorite stores. The Rich Pins feature lets you pin products with a real-time price attached. So you can check back on your boards once in a while to see if the prices have dropped. Better yet, let Pinterest send you an email when a price changes on a product you've pinned. That way, you know you're getting the best deal.

3. Create a Wait List or a Wish List

If you tend to overspend on last-minute splurges, consider using Pinterest as a wait list. Whenever you feel the urge to buy something -– be it a new pair of jeans, a new TV or even a new car -– pin an image of that item (or something close to it) to a Pinterest board. Then, give yourself 30 days. If you still want the item after 30 days, buy it. If not, you've saved yourself from an impulse buy.

An alternative to this is to use Pinterest for a wish list. Say you see a new book or pair of earrings you'd really like to have, but you don't have the money. Stick them on a Pinterest board, and when your mom asks what you'd like for Christmas, you'll have something better to say than, "Uh, I don't know."

4. Gather DIY Ideas

Pinterest is known for its "Pinteresty" DIY ideas. In fact, it launched as a way to gather great DIY ideas. Whether you're looking for frugal recipes, gardening tips or ideas for upcycling the clothes in your closet, you'll find it on Pinterest.

A word of caution: Just because an experienced chef, seamstress or woodworker makes a project look easy, it doesn't mean the project actually is easy. So be careful about the projects you tackle. Start with projects that are well within your reach and then move on to more complicated ones. That way, you can avoid the "Pinterest fails" now littering the Web.

5. Organize Meal Planning

ood is one of the biggest budget items for many families. It's also one of the easiest ways for most families to cut back on spending. If you find your family constantly throwing out leftovers or grabbing fast food because you forgot to plan something for dinner, Pinterest can help.

This social media platform is chock-full of ideas for meals –- from simple to gourmet. You can use it to create your own family cookbook. You can split recipes you find online into several boards by theme. Then pick out your recipes each week to plan ahead, so you don't have to grab a fast-food burger on the way home.

26 Ways to Trim Your Household Costs, Room by Room
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5 Ways That Pinterest Can Save You Money, Headaches
  • TV. Downgrade to a cheaper package or eliminate cable/satellite altogether and use services like Hulu and Netflix (NFLX).
  • Electronics. Put your electronics on a "smart" power strip to lower electricity costs. Turn off electronics and unplug phone chargers when they're not in use.
  • Lights. Replace your traditional bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs to cut energy costs dramatically.
  • Furniture. Shop second-hand, go to garage sales and comparison-shop online to get the best prices on some great, unusual pieces.
  • Heating and cooling. Get a programmable thermostat to help regulate your home's temperature based on when you're there and when you're away.
  • Appliances. Energy Star appliances may cost more to buy, but they're well worth it when it comes to the long-term savings.
  • Water. Don't waste money on bottled water. Filter your own tap water with a faucet-mounted or pitcher-style filter and take it with you in a reusable water bottle.
  • Dishes. Only run the dishwasher when it's full, and let the dishes air-dry.
  • Cleaning. Use reusable sponges and dish cloths rather than paper towels. Make your own cleaning solutions from inexpensive household ingredients like ammonia, vinegar and baking soda.
  • Shower. Use a low-flow shower head and limit your shower time. (Sorry, long, hot showers are a no-no.)
  • Sink. Turn off the water when you're brushing teeth or shaving.
  • Toilet. Invest in a dual-flush toilet, which has separate buttons allowing you to flush with a small amount of water or a large amount, depending on the job at hand.
  • Lights. Put lights on a dimmer to use less energy late at night and early in the morning, when bright light is not necessary.
  • Heating. Bundle up in cold months with multiple covers and quilts, and turn the heat down when you're sleeping.
  • Closet. Clean out your closet and sell any unwanted or rarely used clothes and accessories.
  • Use it more. Instead of eating out, cook more dinners at home, and have friends over for a potlucks instead of going out to pricey restaurants.
  • Phone. Get rid of your landline if you rarely use it. There's no point in having one if you're on your cell all the time anyway.
  • Internet. Get internet service from your phone or TV provider and bundle your services for savings.
  • Work out. Create a home gym and cancel your pricey gym membership.
  • Store food in bulk. Get a standalone freezer and create a pantry area with shelving units to store products purchased in bulk or on sale.
  • Laundry. Use cold water, only run full loads, air-dry items, and regularly clean lint traps to keep your machines running efficiently.
  • Hot water tank. Insulate your hot water tank and set it at a lower temperature.
  • Furnace. Change the furnace filter regularly and have your air ducts professionally cleaned every three to five years.
  • Extra space. Rent out unused space, whether it's a storage space, a bedroom to a student, or creating an entire apartment.
  • Insulation. Keep heat from escaping and lower your energy bills by insulating your attic.
  • Odds and ends. Storing a ton of stuff up there? Hold a garage sale and sell what you're not using.

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