7 Pinterest Tips to Save Money and
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Pinterest has become everyone's go-to place for saving inspirational, aspirational images. But, while it's wonderful to dream about wide open spaces and homes big enough to rollerskate in and crafts I love (but will probably never find the time to do), recently I've taken to using Pinterest a little more… shall we say… realistically.

While I still have my inspirational boards, I've also started complementary boards to collect things I can actually use and afford. Here's my method:

Decide on a budget: This is my first step when I'm using my Pinterest to save a little cash. Yup, an item may be beautiful but if I don't choose to pay over five hundred dollars for a swing arm bedside lamp, there's no point in pinning it to this board (though it may go on the dream bedroom board).

Let your gut be your guide: Though you may have decided you want a beige sofa, if you find yourself drawn to that red couch, pin it. After a few days of pinning, when you take a look at your board, you may find that you've pinned a dozen red couches. Maybe it's time to rethink your decor around that red couch you really want instead of the beige one you think you should be buying.

Consider using a secret board: If you have a number of followers who are likely to repin the items you're coveting, especially if they're things that are one of a kind or limited stock, you might want to make this particular board secret. True, there are only a limited number of secret boards but, if you're actually using this board to pin items you are about to purchase, this board will soon be deleted.

Use one board per item you are actually ready to buy: This board is less inspiration and more perspiration: ie, it's a board that you're putting to work to help you make a decision on something you're prepared to plunk down cold hard cash on. ideally, the lifespan of this board will only be a few months.

Overpin before looking at your board and making a decision: Give yourself at least a few days of pinning before you look at your board. That way you'll have enough choices to compare and contrast before picking the one that best matches your needs in terms of price and style (and discovering that you really want a red couch!)

Shy away from repinning: I learned this one the hard way. I'd repinned a rug from someone else's board and when I went to purchase it, I discovered it was out of stock (and had been out of stock for a few months!). If you do repin something, take a few moments to click through to the actual site and make sure it's something that is in stock and purchasable (not just an inspiration photo from someone's blog).

Give yourself a time frame: In that same vein, if you're using Pinterest to find actual items to purchase, give yourself a timeline within which to do it, since items do get sold out or become discontinued.

(Image: Claire Bock / Claire's January Cure: My Third Week)

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