What free stuff actually costs you

28 May 2019

We've all receive them before - free stuff. Water bottles, lanyards, keyrings, mugs, stress balls, extras with an order, samples at the supermarket, 2-for-1 whats-its and all sorts of stuff.

We see a LOT of clutter caused by free stuff, so we wanted to have a chat about the fact that even though something seems to be "free", it's not really - everything you bring into your home costs you in some way. We talk about lots of the hidden costs of "free" in the hope that perhaps it might help you be a little more intentional about bringing stuff into your house and reduce your clutter levels.

Show Notes:

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, Professor Dan Ariely:

“We often pay too much when we pay nothing. Most transactions have an upside and a downside, but when something is FREE! we forget the downside. FREE! gives us such an emotional charge that we perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is”.

What does free stuff cost you?

Storage space: It gets in the way of what you already have and use/ love in your house

Time: To collect, to find a new home for, to maintain, to on-sell or part with when you’ve had enough, to encourage kids to put it away

Maintenance: Dust, clean, sort

Money: To fix/ replace missing parts, buy-1-get-1-free: you spend money that you might not have intended to, you may have already paid for it (it’s cost was already included in the purchase price), it may lure you in with a free offer- like a trial or subscription to be able to sell you the paid version.

Health: Think of the lollies/ sweets at shop counters, upgrades to bigger sizes (soft drinks), lollipops for kids etc. Why add extra sugar that you wouldn’t have consumed just because it’s free?

Environment: Creating more stuff that people don't want or need. If they really wanted or needed it then they would be willing to pay for it. Disposal without thought or care.

Access, Let people into our inbox - putting stuff in front of our faces again and again- to get a ‘free gift with purchase’ or a free subscription

Obligation: You may pay with the guilt or obligation of having to return a favour. Unspoken rules about giving something that it will be given to you in return.

Reference links