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
Food 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.
5 Ways That Pinterest Can Save You Money, Headaches
By Abby Hayes
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