When Free* Isn't Free


Free Stuff|How to find

Often times you will see companies offering free* products. However you'll notice it's not spelled correctly. That's right. If there is an asterisks after the word, it has a entirely different meaning. Many times that free* product comes at a cost. It can be shipping, handling, or lots of spam.

I have always hated deals with a hidden cost. Therefore, when I post a deal on Making Cents of It, I make sure it is free... not free*. What does that mean for you as a reader? If there is a free* product but you have to pay shipping, I list the shipping as the cost and will not list the deal as free.

Popular Types of Free* Deals

Just Pay Shipping & Handling - A free product sounds great until you factor in shipping. For example, the other day I went to buy free* business cards. When I went to check out of the website I had a choice of shipping options, the cheapest of which was $9.95.

Sign-Up for a Credit Card - I think the current commercials with Alec Baldwin "No, you get a hat" really shows how silly these promotions are. Each time I go to a sporting events, I see tables set up trying to get you to sign up for a credit card. In exchange they'll give you a free t-shirt. So how does that work? Here's a cheap t-shirt probably made in a third-world sweatshop and now you have an account with an annual free of $79 and an interest rate of 27%. Doesn't really sound worth it to me.

With Enrollment - When I was a kid I got six free* CDs (this was before MP3s) from a music club. In exchange I had to purchase four CDs at full price within a year. Full price was almost $20 for an album that was as low as $9 in stores. Plus the automatically sent me the "CD of the month" if I forgot to reply to the catalog that I didn't want it.

Now We Have Your Information - Can you say spam? Many of those companies that give you a free* gift then turn around and sell your information to marketers. You will get your gift, but you will also get tons of junk mail, emails, and possibility phone calls.

* This small, almost hidden asterisks completely changes the meaning of a word. If you see a small star after a word, search the page for the hidden meaning because it can be costly.


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