How Saying No to "Free" Things is Freeing Up Our Income

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Kelby Green - Ambassador Kelby Green – Ambassador 3 weeks, 3 days ago.

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  • #3156 Reply

    Like most people, I like free things. In fact, I was walking around my house a few days ago and (no exaggeration) about 70% of the furniture, decorations, and electronics were given to us at some point over the last few years. Now to be clear, we’re not a charity case, we’re just frugal. Some would say VERY frugal, but honestly, we just enjoy taking things that other people have “fallen out of love with”, cleaning them up a bit, and giving them a new chance at life.

    Here’s the thing, though: sometimes “free” comes at a high cost. For example, a few months back my wife and I were driving through a neighborhood and saw a garage sale. Unable to pass up a good deal, we stopped and ended up buying a cabinet for our daughters’ room. Ten dollars spent, no problem so far. As we were leaving though, the owner showed us a 52” TV in their garage that had been “just sitting there” because they recently bought a new one. They offered to give it to us for free if we could just fit it in our truck.

    Come hell or high water, I was going to fit that TV in the car…and I did!

    Once we got it home and fired it up, within fifteen minutes the bulb blows out. The picture was beautiful prior to that, so after a little Googling, I decided to spend $20 on Amazon to buy another bulb and install it myself.

    Installed the bulb and everything was fine…well, for two days until the speakers started making this obnoxious popping noise. The speaker fix: about $80. A little pricey for a “free” TV, but it’s still less than the cost of buying one new…at least that was my rationale. That worked for the better part of three weeks until the sound started again. And to make matters worse, we can’t even return the part from the speaker because it’s “used”.

    So now we sit with a “free” TV that cost us $100 to fix, that’s still broken. That’s $100 that could’ve gone to savings or debt repayment! I guess it’s not a complete loss because we’ve created a new household rule as a result. If we don’t have a real need for it and weren’t looking to buy it otherwise, we won’t take it even if it’s free.

    This has already saved us from taking in a huge armoire that we wouldn’t have known the first thing to do with, but would’ve taken just because it was free.

    So, what about you…have you tried saying no to “free”? And if so, has it helped you save any money?

    #3178 Reply

    Wow, what a great post, Kelby! I had never really stopped to think about that! It’s true – sometimes you’re trying to save a buck and it ends up costing you more than simply saying no to it in the first place. Thanks for the reminder! Needed it.

    #3183 Reply

    Thanks, Kayla! I started running the numbers on the last few things that I got for “free” and the amount spent is RIDICULOUS! Lesson learned, though. Even if it took me a while to catch on.

    #3189 Reply

    I most certainly say no to free things when it comes to sales pitches. Its always tied to some form of package that you pay later or 30 days for free and then you end up paying when you forget to end the trial period. Its much less of a hassle. One in particular would have cost me $50 dollars had I not remembered to shut it off.

    You know what else can be, “cheap,” but end up costing more? DIY stuff. After buying the materials it ends up being just as expensive if you had of purchased it completed.

    #3201 Reply

    You’re right, Antoinette! I always try to avoid those “Free for X days/months” sales pitches because I have too much going on in my day-to-day to remember when to cancel them.

    And yeah, those DIY projects can definitely add up. I blame Pinterest, though. LOL! If they wouldn’t make everything look so easy it wouldn’t even be a thought.

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