How Pinterest is Helping Singaporeans Save Money

Ryan Ong



The first time I heard about Pinterest I was like “What the hell? What is that even for?” It’s like someone digitized the illegally defaced wall of a bus stop. After spending weeks insisting Pinterest is just “Flickr for retards”, I’ll finally admit I was wrong. Pinterest is popular and desirable. Like I never was in school, damn it. I hate you all, and while I go cry, learn how Pinterest saves us money:


What the Hell Is It?

Pinterest is a website. You can upload pictures, “re-pin” pictures you find interesting, or save them for later. Yes, I know you don’t see the point, but that’s what we used to say about Twitter too.

Anyway, think of it as a bulletin board in a dorm hall, except with fewer dirty pictures. It’s also a little more organized, so you can look up specific categories like “food”, “clothes”, or “MoneySmart editor’s prison mugshots”. That is, if you’re a member. Pinterest is invite only.

Hah, no, not really. Kim Kardashian couldn’t have an easier time getting into a STD clinic. Just type your e-mail address here and you’re in. Take a look, then come back if you can. Odds are, your frontal lobes will go into a coma, and all you can think of between now and next July will be “next picture”.

So how is this saving us money?


Two young girls using the computer
We don’t want to buy dolls any more. This home made fuel-air explosive is way cooler.


1. The Crafts Prompt Frugality

I spend 10 minutes on Pinterest, and I end up trying to make ninja stars, exploding Mountain Dew rockets, and things typically reserved for people in reform prisons. But cool stuff aside, Pinterest has got a ton of functional DIY projects.

And just looking at the stuff prompts frugality. Instead of running out to buy things, some Singaporeans have started imitating them. I have friends who’ve become crafts-fair freaks:

Poly-student Suhaimi, who’s on Pinterest till two in the morning, says:

I was going to buy some floating shelves for a wall garden, which were like $45 each. Then I saw this, so I just copied the idea. I got some old bottles and used them as planters. Nothing’s grown yet, but it looks good so far. And it didn’t cost me anything.”

Another friend, who declined to be named for fear of being branded a sissy decorator-man forever, says:

“I had to replace the hanging lights for my dining table, and it was like $300 because I couldn’t buy one or two bulbs. I had to buy the whole set. Then I saw someone using bottles for a chandelier on Pinterest, so I just did that instead.”


Plants in a bottle
Not sure if creative, or just an alcoholic gardener.


2. It’s Teaching People How to Cook

In a previous article, I’ve already discussed how cooking saves and makes money. So have a million other Food Channel episodes. But compared to Pinterest, TV promotes cooking about as well as Hansel & Gretel.

Pinterest is…disarming. Still shots make the food look easy. Things like chocolate-coated bacon, peanut butter bars, and fancy food decorations look possible. It’s different from watching a cooking show, where the only thing your brain is saying is “HAHAHAHAHA! You can make that dish like S-League can sell out tickets.”

Since Pinterest users are happy to try, they’re saving on food costs. Packing lunches can save you $20 – $30 a week; not least because it kills the desire to splurge on cafes.


Chocolate coated bacon
Easy, you raise the pig on chocolate before cooking it. Duh.


3. It’s Lowering Gift Costs

Pinetrest is to special occasions what George Soros is to finance (minus the “smug fat ass who destabilizes economies” part).

The craft projects range from Christmas ornaments to freaking coffins. It’s easier than shopping. Do you know a single mall where you can view Birthday cards and caskets at the same time? If you do burn it down, because that’s sick. Anyway, Pinterest is like a shop with everything. As stay-at-home mum Donna Liew will tell you:

I actually find it easier to find a gift on Pinterest than in the shopping centre. In the shopping centre I can walk round and round for hours and I still can’t find the right present.

And because the Pinterest “gifts” are DIY, it’s usually cheaper than buying something from a store. Donna says the gift ideas:

Usually cost less than $10. Many don’t cost anything at all, because they use common household items. Last year at Christmas, and counting birthdays, Father’s day, etc.  I think I must have saved $300 – $ 400 overall.


Paper rose
You know that $35,000 first edition book you’re so proud of? I turned it into something lovelier!


4. It Satisfies A Shopping Crave

You may have seen numerous articles about Pinterest and shopping. Because the site emulates a shopping experience, it delivers the satisfaction of shopping without the expense. This is proven by extensive research, where “extensive research” means “whatever pop psychology bloggers want to make up”.

Look, I dunno; maybe it is a psychological thing. It’s more probable that Pinterest is a just a huge distraction, like Reddit or a good video game. Either way, it combines three elements: It’s time consuming, it’s entertaining, and it’s a free service. That’s pretty much the ticket to frugality.

Going back to Suhaimi:

Ever since I became a Pinterest addict I go out less. I just come straight home from school and browse. Last month I had $200 extra left in my bank, usually I just have $20 left from my allowance.

So if you need an equally powerful distraction, go on and sign up. We’ll see you in a few years, or when the men in white drag your comatose body from your keyboard.


I’m not a loser like you mall zombies. I spend 6 hours staring at a screen instead.


Image Credits:
lovelihood, ssedro orphanjones, diohinchcliffe, cuttlefish, williamcho

Do you use Pinterest? Comment and tell us how it saves you money!

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Ryan Ong

I was a freelance writer for over a decade, and covered topics from music to super-contagious foot diseases. I took this job because I believe financial news should be accessible and fun to read. Also, because the assignments don't involve shouting teenagers and debilitating plagues.