Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how much you really paid for that “free” item? While some offers may truly be free, many products come with a cost, even if it’s not labeled as such. Here are some of the costs associated with “free” items:
When we get something for free, we can be so caught up in the rush of a great deal that we forget to ask ourselves what costs, if any, are associated with this free item. Over the long term, shopping addiction can cause us to rack up debt and miss out on investments that could benefit us in the future.
We often forget to consider how much time it takes to obtain a free item. It may entail filling out a lengthy survey or waiting in a long queue. What might have originally seemed to be a great deal can quickly become a time-consuming task.
Many websites and apps give us access to their products and services for free, with the caveat that they will collect our personal data in return. While this data is often anonymized and shared only with trusted partners, it can still be used to sell us products and other services.
Just because something is free doesn’t make it a good deal. Many free services and products are of low-quality, and you might find yourself spending more money in the future to replace or upgrade the item.
Tips For Making Smart Free Purchases:
- Assess what costs, such as addiction, time, data, and quality, you are truly paying for the item
- Research the product or service to make sure it is of good quality
- Ask yourself if you really need the item before taking it
- Limit yourself to a certain number of free purchases per month
- Don’t let free items consume too much of your time
- Remember that what seems free now may cost you later
While it is sometimes tempting to take advantage of free offerings, it is important to take the time to do the math and assess the costs associated with an item. There is no such thing as a free lunch, even if it doesn’t show up on the menu.