I have 653 pins on my various Pinterest boards. I also have 514 followers and I personally follow 149 people. In fact, Pinterest is often used as a downtime activity for me – I’ll settle into bed at night and surf on my tablet, pinning everything from recipes, to outfit ideas, to beauty tips. After all, Pinterest is meant to be a cyber bulletin board, where you can keep all of your ideas and inspiration in one place.
Despite the many positive aspects of Pinterest, there is a downside: Often, Pinterest can entice you to spend money. I see all the cute clothes, home decor, and amazing recipes, and before I know it, I’ve blown my budget.
As a blogger, I find that Pinterest is an excellent social media marketing tool, and I’ve found tons of ideas and tips that have made my life easier. But it’s all too easy to hop online and suddenly feel like you need a new wardrobe, a home full of chevron accents, and a completely new diet based completely on pricey organic finds. If you want to use Pinterest, the trick is to use it responsibly so that a half hour of pinning doesn’t also mean an empty bank account.
How to Spend Less on Pinterest
1. Budget for Online Spending
If you know that you typically spend money when checking out Pinterest, plan for those purchases. While you can’t pinpoint exactly when you’ll fall in love with a must-have kitchen gadget, you can add a little wiggle room in your current budget to allow for those spontaneous online buys. Then, when you’ve exhausted your online spending money, it’s time to log out of Pinterest and find something else to do. It’s a sensible way to allow yourself to acquire some of the cool stuff on Pinterest without completely blowing your budget.
2. Find Cheaper Options
Not long ago, I was perusing Pinterest when I saw a pair of shoes that I loved. Unfortunately, they were way out of my budget. Still, I pinned them and pined for them, and even considered biting the bullet and purchasing them. Finally, I began searching for similar products using Google Shopping, and while the original shoes were $80, I was able to find a similar style for about $20 via another online retailer.
If you’re really dying for something that you’ve seen on Pinterest, do some sleuthing and see if you can find it for a cheaper price. Google Image Search and Google Shopping are awesome tools that can save you serious money.
3. Search, Don’t Browse
I’m definitely guilty of this one: It’s dinner time and I’m trying to figure out what to make for my family. I log into Pinterest and start browsing recipe ideas. Suddenly, I have to go to the store because I’ve seen the perfect recipe for grilled steak salad, despite the fact that I don’t have any of the ingredients and have already done the grocery shopping for the week.
This can be a total budget-killer, and it’s for this reason that if you’re going to use Pinterest for dinner ideas, you should use the “Search” function, rather than browsing the categories. If you have chicken on-hand, search for “chicken recipes,” and you will only see recipes you have the ingredients for.
4. Set a Timer
Pinterest can be a major time suck – and the longer you’re online, the better chance you have to end up wishing for someone else’s home, closet, kitchen, or salary. If you love Pinterest but find yourself spending way too much time online, try setting a timer on your phone. Give yourself a few minutes to check out the latest pins or search for something in particular – but when your time is up, log off.
I especially love the Firefox extension called LeechBlock. You can set it for a particular amount of time, after which it locks the website so you can’t mindlessly surf back again. If you’re a Google Chrome user, the StayFocusd extension does the same thing.
5. Don’t Compare
Remember that people tend to present the best version of themselves, their families, and their lives online. So when you stumble upon a blog or website through Pinterest that has you feeling green with envy, remember that you don’t know the whole story. Don’t add “fantasy” pinners to your friend’s list if you know that their pins are just going to make you jealous.
6. Use What You Have
I love to shop, but I definitely don’t have enough money to buy all the outfits I see while browsing Pinterest. Instead, I use my own closet and the items that I already have to gain inspiration from other pinners. For instance, if I have a pair of colored skinny jeans I haven’t worn in a long time, I can look for inspiration from other pinners to figure out new ways to pair those jeans with other items I have in my closet.
The same goes for home decor. Have an old armoire? Check out refinishing ideas, and you’ll save big bucks in comparison to purchasing a new piece of furniture.
7. Close Your Account
It might be drastic, but if you simply can’t control your spending while using Pinterest, it might be time to close your account. Craving things you can’t afford, feeling dissatisfied with your current stuff, and being led to blow your budget because of Pinterest isn’t healthy. You lived before Pinterest – and there is life after it.
Pinterest can be a lot of fun, as well as a great way to discover new products and ideas. But don’t let it make you feel bad about your current budget or cause you to overspend online. By using the website carefully and intelligently, you can reap the benefits without all of the drawbacks.
Do you ever find yourself feeling envious when browsing Pinterest? How do you cope?