We are a culture driven by consumerism. Marketing campaigns are saturated with “can’t miss deals” and FREE things….are you influenced by free things?
Buy one get one FREE Buy two, get 1 FREE Buy 3 now, get 1 later
FREE is Good, Right? My parents raised me to be frugal, but also giving with what I have. My faith teaches me it’s better to give than receive, and when I give, I give freely. In my family, I bring gifts of health. A water purifier, a thai yoga session, an essential oil. I’ve received a Thousand Gifts myself over the years (thanks, friends 🙂 ) , plenty of FREE gifts: a home cooked meal, help with my kids, an inspiring book. There will always be an opportunity in the future for me to pay the kindness forward.
Shopping Habits Begin at a Young Age I’ve grown up learning to get the most value for my dollar. It all started with my parents who are very thrifty. They started out life with very little. My dad even grew up without running water. They instilled in our family the importance of getting value for your dollar, saving money with coupons and rebates, and being thankful for the FREE things in life whether it was a kind and generous friend or a deal at the store. I really admire those who can get a shopping cart full of groceries for $5. For years I did clip coupons, and tried my best to be a smart shopper. I skimmed through the ads every week, strategizing my shopping trips and taking advantage of FREE deals in particular. After all, FREE is good, isn’t it?
What Exactly is in That Free Product? When I started to eliminate chemicals from my home almost 20 years ago, I noticed that I was buying a lot of processed foods and chemical filled products with those coupons I clipped. I found that by simply cutting back on what I was purchasing I was helping my budget and it was cutting out a whole lot of chemicals. I also noticed that many FREE samples I received in the mail and in stores were often man-made, chemical products that I would not normally buy. The big shocker came when I recieved a sample of potato chips in the mail. I was getting more comfortable with reading labels and the first thing I did after reading the name of the “no-fat” potato chip sample was turn the package over to read the ingredients. Right below the short list of ingredients was a huge warning label that indicated the product might cause digestive upset like cramping, bloating and diarrhea. Is this a joke??!! There’s no way I was going to taste even one of those chips, it just wasn’t worth the risk. I tossed them in the trash. I could probably fill a trash can with all the free samples I’ve received and rejected because they were loaded with garbage. That makes me mad, because manufacturers continue to produce these products that are polluting our bodies and environment as long as we purchase them. Many of them they are giving away for free.
Is the Free Product Worth It? My parents have been married over 50 years, growing up we had everything we needed, but things were simple. My mom baked everything from scratch and we did not have gadgety things in our home. She never bought anything packaged except cake mix. Much to my surprise, the other day when I stopped over I ran to the bathroom and saw she had toilet bowl cleaner. I was in shock, all the years I grew up we never had blue toilets. I was so surprised that she would buy something “new” like this. Turns out it was given away FREE at the hardware store. All I could think about were the chemicals entering our water supply with every flush. Another day I came over I could smell synthetic fragrance. Like a bloodhound on a trail, I found the offending object in seconds. The short exposure left me a little dizzy and nauseous. I removed a chemical reed diffusor to the garage until I could get more details from my parents. Turns out the pretty reed diffuser was another FREE gift from the hardware store. The chemical diffusor was pretty, but it was releasing hormone disrupting chemicals into the air – my Mom explained to me “but it was FREE”. I think these stores are giving away all this chemical junk because they can’t sell it fast enough. It’s toxic, it’s bad for people and it’s bad for the environment. We will pay for it eventually, either in contaminated water or in compromising our health. Is it worth it?
Common Sense and Discernment I’ve accepted my share of FREE products over the years, some I’ve regretted, some have made it into the trash. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to accept free gifts that I didn’t need but I accepted them anyway, partly to be polite. Now I don’t even accept most freebies because I know they will just introduce chemicals into my home that I’ve worked really hard to avoid. I’ve developed some simple strategies that can help you too. Here are some questions to ask before you accept any freebies:
1. Do I know the individual personally who is giving the gift?
2. Is this part of a business transaction (store deal to buy now, pay later)
3. Do you know what the ingredients are in the product? Chemical, toxic, unknown?
4. If this a new product, am I willing to assume responsibility for determining if it is safe?
5. Would I spend money to buy a full size product of this sample?
6. Do I really need this freebie or will it just add clutter and chemicals to my life?
7. Does it support a Pure Home and Body? or does it have chemicals, additives or unknown ingredients that are bad for the environment?
Follow your intuition, and Common Sense. If you answered no to any of these questions, you may want to pass by the free sample. Many companies offer free samples, some of them may be downright dangerous. There are many companies, however, that are turning the tide and creating some great alternatives. It takes a little time to find them, and I can steer you in the right direction. Watch for my next post on where to find some great resources that support a Pure Home and Body, some natural freebies too!
Have you ever accepted a “free gift” that you later regretted? Have you passed by a freebie that you knew didn’t fit with your lifestyle? I’d love to hear your thoughts!