Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Cost of 'Free'

What do you think when someone says, "Nothing is free"?

Personally, I detest it. It seems so pessimistic and unfair. But, I suppose, we do not live in a just world. Life isn't fair. I'm slowly realizing that it's true -everything does cost something.

I recently signed up to take surveys in exchange for gift cards. Sweet. Free stuff to take surveys? Sure I'll check that out! It soon became clear that I would invest nearly 3 hours of my time to get that 'free' $10 gift card. That's not free at all!

Searching for coupons, deals and free stuff costs me time, thought and energy. I must invest myself to find these $1.00 off deals. ... is it worth it?

What about love? Surely love is free? Not from humans it's not ... it requires time, thought and effort. To love requires an investment of myself in someone else's life.

I think the word 'free' is overused and widely abused. (mostly in the name of gaining attention and generating sales) Nothing really is free. It may not cost any money, but it's sure not free. I should say here, that 'free' is still my favorite price! I love not paying money for things. What I am saying, is that we need to first count the cost.

Do those surveys cost you hours of your time to gain a free Tshirt? How could you better invest those hours?

Do your many projects cost you hours, days and weeks of your time that could be better invested elsewhere?

I often wonder, 'If I were to die in a month, what would I do differently today?'

Questions like these help me to align and re-align my priorites, and 'keep on the right path'. In those moments when I really don't want to read a story to my children, or even speak to them gently I remember (sometimes) that, if I knew I only had a month to live, you can bet every dollar you have that I would definately take the time to read stories and speak gently! ... I pray that as I practice living this out, that it will become the 'norm' instead of the occasional success :)
Some helpful verses:

“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?"
Luke 14:28
"When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions"
Prov 31:26
"A wise person thinks a lot about death,while a fool thinks only about having a good time."
Ecclesiastes 7:4


  1. Too true. I can't believe the amount of time you need to invest to get those 'free' items. Then half the time you need to sign up for something that is NOT free to get it. Not always worth it.

    And reading books to our kiddos... that is time well spent!

  2. I definitely need to reevaluate how I spend my time. I totally agree that love isn't free. It does take time and effort to cultivate it! Thanks for motivating me!

  3. Thanks, Alisa. I'm always encouraged by your comments!


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