Are Freebies And Free Services Really Free?

by Andrea

Books, Free Stuff, Frugal Tips, Office Items And Housewares

free-word-scrabble-board-by-Spiders.jpg Have you ever taken advantage of free resources only to discover that you are stuck with a bill or a major inconvenience?

Now, I am not one to knock getting free stuff.  I love free stuff… to a certain degree.

But I also think you should be aware of what those free things will really cost you.

#1 Public library

The library is my biggest nemesis.  I have a voracious homeschooled reader on my hands, and she will borrow a book, read it 2 or 3 times, and then promptly misplace it.

I decided we would be better off buying used books when I received an $80 bill for past-due books.

You might think that you can be diligent to avoid such charges, but if you have a pre-teen on your hands, and don’t live within 5 minutes of the library, you may be asking for trouble.

Read Bad Habits That Cost You Money for tips on getting library books back in time.


#2 Free website hosting

Free web hosting is great for vanity websites, but if you are using a free website to host your business site, it may be costing you a lot more than you will ever know.

Free website hosts provide free pages so they can make money from ads placed on your site.  These ads are usually relevant to what your website is about, so if you are selling pencil portraits, your website may also be hosting ads from your competitors on your website and stealing your business.

You may be better off paying the upgrade fee instead of using free web hosting.


#3 Free business cards

I love the fact that most online printing sites like Vista Print and Overnight Prints offer free business cards these days.

It makes it more likely for me to give out my cards freely and enables me to be creative with marketing when using my cards.

However, you should know that, considering the high cost of shipping, these cards are not really free… just low cost.  And the quality of the cards also reflect the low cost.

There is always the option of making your own business cards.

#4 Free credit reports

Free credit reports are a great idea if you know where to get them.

The problem with free credit reports is that you still have to pay to get your credit score.

Two great articles on this subject:

#5 Free online education

Sites like Open CoursewareFree MIT Courses Online and others offer free knowledge for the taking.

However, you need to know how to apply that to a degree, and there is no interaction should you need help.


#6 Freecycle

Freecycle is a website that helps you get things you need and get rid of things you don’t need …for free.

It is a great idea and is extremely popular.  The problem with Freecycle is that you can spend a great deal of time making and arranging for transactions and waiting for people to pick things up.

You can also run into creepy people, some of whom you really wouldn’t want knowing where you live.

Check out Freecycle: What Do You Want? What Have You Got?