If you tell me something is free, you will get my attention. I mean, who doesn’t love free stuff? But not everything free is worth taking. That 20 year-old dresser your mom wants to give you cause you don’t have any furniture sounds like a good idea, but what happens when you don’t want it anymore? You have to have your own kids just to get rid it. One mans junk is SOMETIMES another mans treasure, but not always. Today I talk about some free stuff that is and isn’t worth taking.
I start by telling you about something that isn’t worth taking. You know those timeshare people who call you at 7am and say, “Come watch a short 45 minute presentation and we will give you a free laptop”? Sounds good right? Well, when you leave three hours later after having bought something you didn’t want due to incredibly high-pressure sales and you have your fancy new “Chinafun Mega-PC laptop calculator” in hand, you’ll understand. I personally didn’t buy what they were selling since I’m highly resistant to jerk salesmen, but many people do and it’s a sad situation you don’t want to be involved in. The crap laptop they gave me only fetched $75 on eBay. You can almost guarantee that anything you receive from going to a timeshare presentation isn’t worth it unless its cash or gift cards. That’s a free lesson for you folks.
Other times there is good free stuff. I recently received a promotional email from PayPal offering me a $15 credit towards anything at 1800flowers.com. At first I though, OK that’s cool, I’ll get something for my girlfriend, but then I remembered that flower delivery is incredibly expensive and that $15 was barely going to put a dent in any flower purchase I would make. I figured it was essentially just a coupon and disregarded it.
A few days later I decided to actually look at the website and see if there was anything I could actually get free. Though the flowers were way out of “free” range, I noticed they had some cheap candy and snacks that I could ship for only $5 each. There were no restrictions on the promotion so I ordered three of the $5 snacks and paid only $1.20 in tax for it. I topped that off by getting a 10% rebate by using the Ebates browser plugin (which I wrote about previously) and got a rebate of $1.62, meaning that I actually MADE 42 cents by using this promo. The only thing better than free is getting paid to buy something.
This is kind of small in the scheme of things but sometimes its good to do the little stuff so you feel more comfortable when the big deals come later. But seriously, free snacks!
$15 (snacks) + $1.20 (tax) – $15 (promo credit) – $1.62 (rebate) = -$0.42