ABCs of Saving – Figure out Free

ABCs of Saving - Figure out Free; three ways to determine if a freebie is worth going after; plus the one freebie I will always chase down.

As I look at my financial life after having four kids I realize something:

I am a reformed coupon queen.

Legends were told of my savings adventures. Legends – I tell you!

But as we settled into parenthood, I simply didn’t have the time to mess with all that stuff. Could I still be getting free items on a regular basis? Yes. Could stores still be paying me to take items out of their stores? Indeed.

But there are many more pressing things and I have a new, more evolved outlook on free.

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Don’t get me wrong. Free is GOOD! I love free, too!

And yet,

Free isn’t always completely free

Are you a coupon queen? 

Do you have a hard time passing up a good deal? Especially when it is free? 

What if I told you those good deals – even the freebies – are not actually free? 

Free can Be Clutter

The price you pay for these items is clutter. And eventually time getting rid of all that clutter.  A prime example for me is magazines.  I used to only subscribe to magazines when I could get them for free

The amount of free magazines which landed in my mailbox each month – and as a result in a basket in the living room (unread) – got to be really, really high.  I shut off the spigot a while back and stopped taking subscriptions to all the magazines I had been getting for free, only keeping the ones I read regularly (one!).

But as I de-cluttered I came across a good number of magazines that were still lying around the house, unread.  It is just pure waste – and waste isn’t free in my book – emotionally I can’t stand the idea of not using what I have been blessed with.

Free Can be Time-Consuming

Hours! Hours I used to spend working out the best deals at the grocery store and the drug store. The grocery game was fun – super fun! There was a high when I could tell the stories of my savings superiority.

Now, I could not imagine spending a fraction of that time laboring over coupon savings. I have lots of other ways to save money in my life without chasing every free item.

That is not to say I look down on couponing. Absolutely not! I just do not have the time to spend collecting, sorting, scanning, searching, and shopping for freebies. I highly recommend Money Saving Mom for help in this area – she has done all the work for us!

The return on my investment of time has to be greater than a free item or two.

Free Can Have No Value

Just for Men.

That’s the valueless coupon queen freebie item I remember the most. I got it for free. In fact, they may have paid me to take it out of the store.

Why is it valueless?

My husband has a full head of hair with only a few grays he has no problem with. But this was YEARS ago. When I had absolutely no one to even give it to. No one.

Why did I feel the need to purchase something of so little value? It was free.

These days I look at the free things which cross my path and ask myself the most important question regarding free:

Will I use it?

If the freebie has no value to me, will only become clutter, and takes time out of my busy schedule to procure it – it is not FREE.

The one FREE thing I will go after

I wrote years ago about free money in your mailbox. Though the economy’s ups and downs dictate how often that money slides into my mailbox, I do take the time to go chase down that freebie.

It is free money after all!

ABCs of Saving - Figure out Free; three ways to determine if a freebie is worth going after; plus the one freebie I will always chase down.

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