I’m pretty sure the entire world is using Pinterest. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s like a giant virtual corkboard where you can “pin” the things you find online – cat pictures, inspirational quotes, DIY projects, recipes, and even products you like. Other people can view your board and re-pin the items you’ve selected onto their own boards. Such a simple concept, yet Pinterest has become a serious addiction for many of my friends. And while I did break down and open a Pinterest account a few months ago, I have never ever used it.
I can picture the way some of you might have just reacted in your heads. But Pinterest is so FUN! If you’d just try it, you’d love it! Everyone is on there! It’s so easy to use! I’ve heard all those things and more from my friends. I love technology as much as anyone, but there’s a very simple reason why I refuse to embrace Pinterest.
For a spendaholic in remission, Pinterest is like a massive buffet to a starving man.
Five years ago, I had dozens of bookmark folders in my web browser. Each one was filled with various categories of things I wanted to buy. I had folders for shoes, furniture, home decor, kitchen appliances, handbags, and even one for pictures of cute puppies. (For those who don’t know, I’m on my way to becoming a crazy dog lady.)
When I felt stressed, I would inevitably start opening those bookmarks to look wistfully at the beautiful items I coveted. If something was sold out or discontinued, I remember actually feeling sad as I deleted the bookmark and kicked myself for not buying it sooner. I was utterly obsessed with owning every single item on my list – most of the time I would comfort myself by ordering JUST ONE ITEM. Well, maybe two. Or three.
At the time all this was going on, I was fresh out of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. And it didn’t even take a year to end up back in debt, with every single credit card I’d gotten “for rebuilding my credit” maxed out again. In fact, I just finished paying off the last one 7 months ago.
What Does This Have to do With Pinterest?
The concept of Pinterest is pretty cool. For me, though, it’s a total flashback to all those bookmark folders. Humans are visual creatures, and some of us (raises hand) are strongly triggered by easy access to pictures of things we want. The few times I’ve looked at my friends’ pinboards, I’ve seen all kinds of stuff that caused a kneejerk “I NEED IT!” reaction.
If I used my Pinterest account, I can tell you what would happen. I wouldn’t start out pinning a bunch of stuff I wanted – I’d be much too vigilant for that. But after awhile, all those snazzy song lyrics and internet memes would function as a gateway drug. First would be a picture of a room I thought was pretty. Then a lamp or mirror that would look so cute in said room. Within a few months I’d be redecorating my entire house, courtesy of my recently paid-off credit cards. And I’d probably have a brand new wardrobe to fill my empty closet.
Stick a Pin in This!
Some of you may think I’m nuts. But those with a spending problem know exactly what I’m talking about. And I’d bet money that at least a few of you have made a purchase based on something you saw on Pinterest.
I’m not saying Pinterest is horrible, or that you shouldn’t use it. But be careful not to let the obsession take over your life. Sometimes we spend so much time dreaming about the things we want, we lose track of the things we already have. If I wanted to fill a corkboard with pictures of awesome things, I could do it without even leaving my house. But try telling me that if I’m spending my time looking at what everyone else has – or even just what they wish they had.
Do you use Pinterest? How do you quell the urge to make every craft, try every recipe, or buy every amazing product? Have you ever spent money as a result of looking at your (or someone else’s) Pinterest board?