Monday, March 1, 2010

Who doesn't love a good freebie?

I've mentioned before that my husband LOVES freebies! I'm slowly converting to his ways of couponing and bargain shopping, but sometimes the effort it takes to get something "free" hardly seems worth it! (Remember economics? "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch") A few times in our marriage, however, we've scored BIG TIME with freebies.

Scenario 1:
I was pregnant with my first child, and we were living in California. My husband's DREAM was to appear on The Price is Right, so for his 26th birthday, we decided to spend the ENTIRE day in line waiting for the show. As part of the process, each member of the live audience is interviewed. Throughout the day, we were honestly the most boring people in line. While others were spending the whole day bouncing off the walls trying to win over the producers, we sat quietly reading, sleeping, and coming alive only for our brief few minutes in front of the judges. After our little interview, however, I knew my husband's award winning Elmo impersonation was more than enough. And I was right! He was the first one called to COME ON DOWN! He went on to win a Big Green Egg BBQ, a hot tub, a portable sound system, my beloved treadmill, a stove/range, and A NEW CAR! Worth the effort? HECK YES!

Scenario 2:
You've all gotten random emails promising a free laptop, free money, free gift card, airline tickets, you name it, right? Well...most people disregard these emails, including me. A few years ago, however, we had a friend tell us about a legitimate offer for a free Plasma TV. Since he'd done it successfully, we decided to give it a shot. HUGE PAIN IN THE BEHIND! We had to complete about 18 "offers," which we traced on a spreadsheet, had to keep track of when to cancel these offers (keeping them long enough to qualify for the 42" Plasma TV but not longer than necessary to avoid extra cost). We probably spent around $100 when all was said and done. I was skeptical until the glorious day our TV arrived on our doorstep. I never thought I would do this sort of thing again, but recently found this blog. The writer of Money Saving Methods, a former-CPA-turned-stay-at-home-mom goes into great detail about how to complete such offers...and makes a pretty good living doing just that sort of thing! I recently spent about $40 doing the same sort of deal (spreadsheet, cancelling offers, etc.) and am anxiously waiting for a $500 Visa Gift Card. Worth the effort? It's debatable, but I'm starting to think it really is.

Scenario 3:
Several months ago, my husband informed me that we were going to listen to a timeshare presentation that would win us a free trip to California. We went into the presentation knowing there was NO WAY we would even consider purchasing a time share. However, as I mentioned before, I AM A HUGE WIMP WHEN IT COMES TO SAYING NO TO SALESPEOPLE. By the time we finally walked out of the meeting two hours later, after saying NO to no less than FOUR pushy salesmen, I felt like the worst person in the world. My family was going to suffer for the rest of my life because our vacations wouldn't be what they could be with a timeshare. But hey--we were going to California! The company actually tried several times to talk us out of the trip...they even offered us $200 NOT to go since we'd be leaving Wednesday night and returning home Friday morning. But we didn't take the money...we went on the trip! And it was GREAT! The hotel was probably the WORST hotel I've ever stayed at, but sometimes bad things make for great memories. It was just what my husband and I needed! We got to visit my hometown, Disneyland, we saw Avatar, and we ate out more in three days than we normally do in three months! It was just what this cranky mama needed! There's no place better than Disneyland to make you miss your kids (and to realize how old you're getting when the making-out-in-line-teenagers disgust you!) I hope I never have to listen to a timeshare presentation again, but was it worth it? DEFINITELY!

What about you? Are you a sucker for freebies, or would you rather just pay the dang money to avoid the hassle?


Shirley Hale said...

We did the same timeshare thing. If we weren't in the process of buying a house, we might've done it too! They told us that they were all losing their jobs and they're paid 100% commission so basically saying no is saying too bad so sad! about their situation. We haven't gone on our trip yet. Thanks for the reminder! :)

Judi, et al said...

No I am not much for freebies that require a lot of work! I am a frugal person at heart and I enjoy finding deals on things we need! Good Will, garage sales, Craig's List, etc. I have entered little blogging freebies (only a few) and have yet to win. Those are pretty easy though.

Heidi said...

So was the tax on your PIR winnings just as "free".... :)

Aubrey said...

Sometimes I would rather just pay the dang money, but I am a bit of a sucker. I also have a free trip to Vegas, but who can leave town in the middle of the week to go with me? I should just go. Did you see my blogpost about all the free birthday things? I got so much free food in December.

Jer + Lu said...

You've scored big time! My fave is your Price Is Right experience-- I can't believe you won so much!! That is seriously awesome!!
As for the spreadsheet stuff, I'd go nuts trying to keep it all straight + having to cancel... I'm a sucker too.
Timeshares... went to a presentation ONCE and will NEVER go again. It was AWFUL + we opted not to even use our free trip (and that was without a $200 compensation!)