22 Comments

  1. I don’t pursue free quite like I used to. For example, I used to get up on Sundays and head to CVS to get the free toothbrushes/toothpaste – or whatever coupons matched up. Now I would rather sleep in and have a lazy morning with my family. Trading the best family morning of the week for some free toothpaste is a terrible idea.

    • So glad you can related. You’re absolutely right about not trading important family time (and sleep!) to beat the coupon fiends to the freebies.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. This is a really important reminder for us all. Great deals, freebies, and sales are great, but not at the expense of what really matters to us. Just because something is “on-sale” doesn’t change the decision of whether or not it’s important to us. For me, it’s t-shirts. I have way to many “free” t-shirts. It may be time for a donation run!

    Another great post Penny!

    • Thanks, Mike! We were so excited the last time we were in Vegas when we scored free shirts. No need to buy a souvenir. The only problem is I think they’re still packed away in our luggage. Though if free shirts are my only regret from time in Vegas, I guess I’ll count it as a relative win.

  3. What a fantastic post! Really, this hit home for me. I jump at any occasion to get something for free, whether I need it or not. We have so many things still sitting around the house that I should get rid of.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I used to be so impulsive about free things. I remember feeling almost panic-striken over trying to get a store to get the free whatever-it-was before anyone else. How silly that seems in hindsight.

  4. Free stuff is probably the most contentious money topic in our marriage. My husband’s parents have way to much stuff in their house because they are scavengers of sorts (and friends just give them their old stuff). They repair everything, but it’s still cluttered and unnecessarily a lot of stuff. My husband has inherited that from them.

    As a result, I feel like I’m constantly going through his stuff and saying, “when can we throw this away. Or If we keep this can we get rid of that?” It used to drive him crazy, but he’s starting to be a little more picky (we got rid of 2 out of 3 ladders, so that’s good).

    I must admit though, his hoarding ways came in handy this week. I just did my monthly stock up at Target and I didn’t buy shampoo (which we were all out of). My husband found his stash of hotel shampoos, funneled them into our shampoo container, and now we’ll be good to go for a month or so.

    • Ah, yes. I tease Mr. P that it’s the scouting mentality of always being prepared. It’s hard to break them of that habit when they save the day, as your husband did with the travel shampoos!

  5. “In this modern society, how we spend our money is one of the single most persuasive tools we possess.”

    YES. Show me your bank account and I’ll know what you value…

    • So true. I think that’s why tracking your spending can be so painful for some people. You have to confront your reality – there’s no talking it away.

    • Space is probably the most precious thing in our house (besides Mr. P, of course!), so I’m trying to be much more judicious about how I used it.

  6. Good point on trading space for free stuff. I worked at a used book store for years and got so many books that I will never ever ever read, simply because I didn’t want them to get thrown away. It didn’t take long to get pickier, but I still have a lot of stuff that I probably wouldn’t have paid for. Now I have 3 houses worth of books crammed into my house.

    • Oh, books. That’s another post for another day. For years, I never parted with any book ever. I worked in a bookstore through high school and college, and then I went to undergrad as an English major. Now I’m much more of a library person. Just clutter. Beloved clutter, but clutter nonetheless.

  7. Brilliant points you’ve made here. It so easy to keep piling up stuffs in the name of freebies and discounts. One tip I will taking with me from this article today is to buy what I need and have a place to store it.

    • I never valued storage space as much as I should until I decided to start decluttering. Now I realize how much prime real estate is occupied by junk!

  8. I’m so with you on this! I once had a couponing habit, too, and used HUGE amounts of time matching coupons with sales, driving between all the different stores and then arguing with cashiers about which coupons hadn’t scanned properly. Blech, I get a little nauseous now just thinking about it! Plus, as you said, buying all this junk food and junk products that didn’t match our values. On the plus side, I used to donate a TON to a women’s shelter, because I’d buy basically any personal care item that was free or almost free and then donate it. But the negative was that we ate our least healthy diet at that point, and supported corporate bad guys. Now we spend about three times as much on groceries, but we eat healthier, and we feel good about who we’re supporting. And we almost always turn down the freebies!

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