In Discussions, Money

The Allure of Free Things: When Free is Not Always Good

It is hard not to get suckered in when you see FREE but how many times have you accumulated things, or signed up for services just because something came FREE with it?

Here are a few examples:

  • Makeup that comes with a FREE! bag or gift
  • Buy one, get one FREE!
  • Spend at least X amount of money and get FREE! shipping
  • Get a FREE! T-shirt / Cap / Pen / Bag with every credit card application

All of this adds up to you buying stuff and accumulating junk in your home just because it was free… but was it really worth it?



If you had a choice between choosing to pay for something you REALLY want versus getting a crappier version for free, what would you do?

Most people would rather take the FREE! but crappy item than to pay for what they really want.

Doesn’t this sound ridiculous to you?

If I had a choice between 2 cakes, one being super delicious and exactly what I am craving for $5, versus a slice of generic No-Name cake that is just pure sugar but is FREE!, I’d rather pay the $5 and get what I want, rather than eat something just because it was free.

Still, “FREE” is pretty tempting even if it doesn’t make sense.


Here are two free things I think are fantastic:


Cards that have no annual fees tend to have very high interest rates, and cards with annual fees (around $100 a year) tend to have lower interest rates.

You could argue that with a super high interest rate on these no annual fee cards, it makes no sense to NOT pay a $100 annual fee for something with a lower interest rate especially since you COULD miss a payment or be unable to pay the balance completely, but this does not apply to those who are responsible with their money because…

…a $0 balance means $0 in interest charges.




Again, you could argue that paying $5 for a chequing or savings account makes sense if it comes with all these other benefits, but frankly, I have never seen a difference in services between a FREE! chequing / savings account and one where I pay for the account except that the one that is paid, tends to charge me $20 for cheques and penalizes me if I don’t keep a minimum balance.

Two great free chequing / savings institutions in Canada are PC Financial and Tangerine.

If you go with either bank, you get:

  • Free cheques (unlimited)
  • Online bill pay and banking
  • Cheque deposits by just taking a photo with your phone (LOVE THIS!)
  • Super fast customer service
  • Higher savings rates (seriously!)
  • Cash incentives to sign up (If you use my Tangerine code, you could get up to $150 in cash!)

Use my Tangerine referral ID: 32726976S1 to get $50 and $150 in bonuses

The ONLY thing I require a “real” bank for is to deposit my USD cheques. I can’t deposit them via taking a photo and I have to bring them into the bank in person.

Otherwise, why pay for a chequing or savings account?

Isn’t that just counter-intuitive? Paying for the privilege of saving your money?



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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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