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!
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!