FRUGAL YANKEE ASKS: Is it really FREE?

Filed in Gather News Channel by on August 1, 2007 0 Comments

 

We Frugal Yankees love free stuff.   But today, we’re presenting some Freebies that you should look at very carefully and “Be Cautious.”  Last time, we covered “Stay Away From These.”  Next, we’ll have a list of great Freebies:  “Grab These Babies.”

BE CAUTIOUS

    “Buy One, Get One Free” (BOGO) is NOT free.  It may be a great price.  But it may just push you to buy more than you need.

    If you have to buy products and send in proof-of-purchase, it’s not free.  You’re paying for it by buying the product.  If it’s something you’re going to buy anyway, go ahead and get the freebie, but don’t buy the product just to get the premium.  Coke has a promo at the moment to get movie tickets and lots of other goodies.  To get one movie pass, worth about $9 you have to buy 67 2-liter bottles (@ $1.10)) or 20 12-packs of Coke (@ $3.50).  That’s over $70 worth of Coke.  You could drink water and buy your own movie ticket, saving at least $60.

    When it’s free because of a rebate, consider:  will you really send in the rebate?  Is it a good use of your time?  Ten minutes plus 50c in postage and envelope for a 79c rebate means you’re working for $1.74/hour.  But the same ten minutes and postage for a $30 rebate on electronic equipment means $177 per hour.  Most of us will do that.

     Do you really want it?  Don’t get caught up in Freebie Fever.  That free ice cream cone isn’t a good idea if you’re dieting, lactose intolerant, or on your way to dinner. 

    There are also freebies that tie in you in to future purchases.  Computer printers are a biggie here.  When they offer you that free printer, look at the cost of the ink or toner and take a few minutes to do the math.  You might be better off buying another printer with cheaper supplies.  Around 1903, King Gillette famously figured out that he could make money giving away the razors because it made people buy his blades. 

   Next week the Frugal Yankee looks at when free is really free!  Stay tuned!

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