No, that is not a typo. You are not hallucinating. Free is not frugal. OR not necessarily frugal.
About a year ago, I began to discover the wealth of frugal tips on the internet. Neat-o. Even though I did not, do not, and will never subscribe to the Grocery Game (a business that tells you how to combine coupons with store specials for "rock bottom" prices) or any of its free counterparts, I started perusing the Message Boards. Lots of "Hot Tips" abounded on various freebies. Tipsters and tippees recounted hitting the road in search of the goodies.
From these Boards, I also learned that you could send for free samples of this and that: oatmeal! aspirin! shampoo!
Add to that the fact that I already had figured out that you could get more than a lifetime supply of free shampoo and make-up and the like from CVS and Walgreens. So I did.
After a while, I noticed that the samples of oatmeal and aspirin were overpackaged. All that wrapping, not to mention shipping, not to mention human labor to send me 2 little aspirin.
Then I noticed that I had a plastic bin full of shampoo, body wash, soap, conditioner, toothpaste. Some of the Grocery Game ladies, exulting in their savings, sent in pictures of their stockpiles and claimed that they and their teenagers went through 5 bottles of shampoo a month. But my family goes through this stuff pretty slowly.
It occurred to me that free stuff encourages over-consumption. And I realized that the free stuff wasn't all that free in the largest sense. Driving around town to "score" a bunch of free shampoo takes time, not to mention gas.
So, Dear Readers, I went cold turkey. Even though CVS and Walgreens are offering free toothpaste yet again, I will not avail myself of it. And I no longer check out the sites that enumerate the "free" samples that are yours to request.
What think you of the concept "free is not frugal?" It's so hard to resist all the freebies out there; but I'm trying to stay strong. Wish me luck.