Never underestimate the value of free

The Value of Free

by Veronica Bowman

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How often have you passed by a display stand or table that had free publications available and didn't pick one up? How many times have you ignored free sample offers or tossed out what you consider junk mail before looking through it? You may not realize it, but you could be missing out on some information and offers that could save you some money and coincide perfectly with your frugal lifestyle. You should never underestimate the value of free things.

Let's start with those free community magazines you see around town. Inside of those magazines you will often find articles or community calendars informing you of local events going on for that month. Many times the events are free or minimally priced. Looking through these publications is a good way to find free or budget-friendly family entertainment and activities.

Quite often, those community magazines have recipes from locals that are easy to prepare from ingredients you have on hand. You may also discover clubs, groups, and organizations that you would like to become involved in. Finding a new affordable hobby or discovering ways to help your community by donating a portion of your time can be quite rewarding.

A visit to a health food store or farmers' market generally offers you an opportunity to pick up some free publications that have health and nutrition tips. You may even find coupons, recipes, and free sample offers in these publications.

Although your budget may not allow you to purchase some of the book and magazine offers you receive in the mail, you can get a glimpse of some health related or financially focused information by looking through those offers. You can always search online for more in-depth information regarding tips, hints, and suggestions that capture your interest.

There are often free publications lying around in doctors' offices and hospital waiting areas. You can find information regarding health screenings, medications, vitamins, and more. There are often heart-healthy or diabetic-friendly recipes in these publications. You may also discover some free seminars that relate to issues you are dealing with.

There are a lot of online sites that offer free stuff. If you request some of these products, a coupon is usually included with the sample. If it's reasonable for your budget, you may want to continue using the product. If not, you've saved some money simply by having use of the free sample.

One example of how free samples can save you some money is with free pet food samples. You can make the free sample last longer by using it as a treat instead of feeding the entire packet to your pet at one time. Another possible benefit of receiving free pet food samples could involve changing the brand you buy. Compare ingredient labels and serving size recommendations of higher-priced pet food to the brand you typically use. After doing the math, you may find out you can feed your pet a smaller amount of the higher-priced, healthier food, which could balance out the cost.

Imagine how much simpler life could be if you were debt free. Now take the first step to getting there.

Do you toss out that advertising packet that periodically arrives in your mailbox without even looking at what's in there? Quite often, it's worth the time it takes to look through those papers. You may find coupons for local restaurants that offer exceptionally good meal deals and BOGO offers. There may be discount coupons for car maintenance, local events, and various other things tucked into that packet of what you thought was useless junk mail.

Once you discover the value of free stuff, you may begin to quickly spot the word free everywhere you go. Even if you are not sure how applicable the product, magazine, or newsletter may be to your living situation, pick it up and look through it. You may be pleasantly surprised at the positive impact it has on your life and your budget. Knowledge is a wonderful thing to acquire. If you learn one new thing from each free magazine or newsletter you read or each free sample you try, you have gained something beneficial and valuable from something that was free.

Reviewed May 2017

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