How to Use Pinterest for Self Improvement


I am a BIG fan of Pinterest. The amount of ways in which we are able to use Pinterest is astonishing. We can plan our dream wedding, decorate our homes, cook like a gourmet chef, workout like a personal trainer, and get inspired from voices all around the world. Individuals like to utilize Pinterest in different ways and for different purposes, real or imagined. I primarily use the social media platform for one purpose: self-improvement. It may sound straight forward, but there are ten things you should do in order to use Pinterest to your best advantage.

1. Simplify

Decide what is really important to you.  Think hard about your goals and create boards accordingly. Try not to pin things that are not useful or that you won’t refer back to. When you are creating boards, keep their names simple and be sure they describe their content. Keep your profile clean and concise; more than 20 boards is probably overkill.

2. Pin with a Purpose

Browse Pinterest with a purpose in mind. Often I am searching for meals to cook for the week ahead, or looking for a workout to do that night. While mindlessly scrolling through the app and pinning randomly does sound fun, it is unnecessary. Chances are you won’t use those pins later, and you just wasted valuable time that you could have spent on something else more productive (even if it is a midday nap).

3. Delete Often

Every once in awhile, browse your boards for old material that isn’t useful to you anymore. You may have cooked the recipe a few times already and remember the instructions, or simply don’t have the desire to complete that particular project any longer. Delete these items. Cleaning out your boards will help you assess your previous goals and create new ones.

4. No Fear

Don’t want people to know that you’re trying to lose weight?  Did you know there is a way to keep boards secret on Pinterest? When you are creating a board, simply click “keep board secret.” If you have a board you already created and would like to make it secret, click the edit button and “keep board secret.”  No one except for you will be able to see that this board exists. So pin, pin away! Fear is not an option.

5. Get Inspired

Create an inspiration board full of whatever motivates and inspires you. Mine is called “mind, body, spirit” and is full of inspirational quotes and articles to get me going when I feel discouraged. Open this board up whenever you need a reminder that you can accomplish anything. It can be uplifting on those days when you feel like you’re failing.

6. Dream Big

Make boards for countries you want to visit, crazy adventures you want to take, and large projects you never thought you could do on your own. Putting these big ideas on the screen can make them seem more concrete and you may be more likely to do them.

7. Collaborate

Did you know that you could add collaborators to boards that you create? I made my husband a collaborator on some of my boards so that we can make and accomplish goals together. Collaborating with someone can also hold you accountable for the goals you want to reach. If someone close to you knows what you are working towards, they can encourage you and remind you to keep going.

8. Join Group Boards

This is like collaborating with strangers. Search for boards that interest you that have many collaborators. If it is open to join, there will be instructions at the top of the board on how to do so. This is an easy way to see pins from like-minded Pinners and keep you on top of your goals.

9. Venture Beyond Pinterest

In our pinning frenzies, it’s easy to forget that Pinterest isn’t the only place to find pins. You can pin literally ANYTHING on the web. If Chrome is your browser of choice, get the browser button, which can be easily added in a few minutes. After you have this, just hover over any picture on the web and the red “P” will appear. If you wish to pin a whole web URL, just press the browser button on your Chrome toolbar.

10. Take Action

It doesn’t help to set goals and get inspired if you don’t take action. Do that workout, redecorate that living room, cook that gourmet French recipe. One of the reasons I am such a big fan of Pinterest is because it encourages growth, exploration, and most importantly, trying new things. Think of it as an online catalog of you and what your future could look like. Dream big!

Check out Sage Advice on Pinterest, or my profile, Jessi Martin, to see how I organize my boards!


Healthy Grocery Shopping on a Budget


Remember when grocery shopping was the most exciting thing ever as a child? The endless amount of people and things to be seen, the possibility of candy or gum in the checkout line…that excitement didn’t last long. After only four years of having to brave the grocery store, I started to DESPISE shopping for food. It’s expensive, confusing, and time-consuming. BUT, over the years, I have crafted a way to dispel the more confusing aspects, cut expenses, and buy healthier (unfortunately, it is still very time-consuming).

1. Price Match

This is the best way to save money on groceries. Some grocery stores will match the prices of their competitors, which can save you big if you combine each store’s sales. Pricematcherz is a site that lists stores in each city and their sale prices for the week (not all states are included). Simply go down the list, writing down food items that you plan to buy, their prices, and which store is offering the deal. If you shop at Walmart, simply keep these items together when checking out and tell the cashier they are price matchers. The cashier will ask you for the price of each item, and may double check the ad from the corresponding store. Other grocery stores may have a more complicated process, like requiring that you bring the advertisement with you. Some stores don’t allow price matching at all. Call your regular store to find out their price matching policy. If you can do it, it is worth it! I often have an estimated savings of about $10-15 on a $100 grocery bill.

2. Print Coupons

This is a pretty well known tool for saving money on groceries. Not many shoppers know that they can print out coupons from online, however. My favorite website for this is Scroll through the coupons, clicking ones that you want to clip. When you’re done, just click the print button. Cut them out and put them at the end of the conveyor belt when checking out at the store. The cashier will scan them, and you can count the savings! I usually save about $8 with coupons on a $100 grocery bill.

3. Use Ibotta

Ibotta is an amazing app for your phone that helps you rack up serious money just for buying groceries. It only takes a few seconds to sign up. Use my referral code vmgcvvg to get a free $10 when you verify your first rebate! Before you go shopping, browse through Ibotta to see if there are any items you wish to buy or already planned on buying. After you purchase those items at the store, unlock their rebates on the app. After you’ve unlocked them, press verify rebates and you will be prompted to scan your barcodes and then take a picture or scan the QR code on your receipt. The money will show up on your app within an hour. After you’ve saved $25, you can choose to transfer the amount to your PayPal or redeem a large variety of gift cards. It doesn’t take long to save that amount; I already have a lifetime savings of over $150 on Ibotta! Usually, the price matchers, coupons, and Ibotta deals match up because the company is promoting on each all at once, and you can get some products for a great price! For example, a 12 ct pack of Charmin toilet paper is on price matchers for $5.99, combined with my Charmin coupon for $1.00 off, and an Ibotta offer for $0.50 , so I really only spent 4.50 on a pack that typically costs $9.00.

4. Meal Plan and Make Lists

This is the easiest way to ensure that you aren’t walking through the store like a zombie, staggering around in a daze and wondering what to feed your family. It will also keep you from making unhealthy choices if you can stick to the list. First, I go through my fridge, freezer, cabinets, pantry, and bathroom to see what kind of basic things I need to get. After putting those on the list, I browse Pricematcherz, print my coupons, and look through Ibotta, writing down grocery items as I go. From those items, I will come up with meals and snacks for the week from both brainstorming and browsing Pinterest, writing down additional items I will need along the way. It is easier to check out quickly if you use a highlighter to mark what is a price matcher on your list. I will write a more detailed post on meal planning and meal prepping in the future, since it can be a pretty difficult thing to get in the rhythm of.

5. Use the Carry-Out Option to Get Groceries

This option doesn’t allow you to cut costs by using price matching and coupons, but it can still save you time and help you to eat healthier. Some stores allow you to order your groceries online and select a time to pick them up or for them to be delivered. At my local HyVee, the fee for pick up on grocery orders under $100 is only $2.95, while orders over $100 can be picked up for free. By ordering your groceries online, you skip the temptation to impulsively pull junk food off the shelves, and save your health and your wallet by doing so (not to mention the hour long nightmare that is grocery shopping).