Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Me and Freebies

I think--I hope--that I come across as a fairly normal person. Sure, I have this weird thing about buying local, but that's so common it's almost a fad. I homeschool, but even that is becoming commonplace.

I harbor this deep, dark secret: I am incredibly cheap.

Because I am of Jewish ethnic origin, I feel like I should hide this to avoid jokes. Also, it's nice having everyone think we are upper-middle-class when in fact we hang on to middle-middle-class with white knuckles and dug-in fingernails. People just assume you are smarter, funner, more stylish if you make a lot of money. You're one of them. You're good people. They're entirely wrong to think this way and I should be doing everything in my power to dissuade them.


--Last weekend my Huggies Wet Wipes were free after coupon/sale combination at Target and it made my day. Actually, it made my weekend.

--When I walk into a clothing store, I head immediately for the clearance racks. I don't even see the aisle displays. They could have cashmere twin sets for a penny and I wouldn't notice.

--My kids don't know what is in the middle aisles of our local grocery store, the one we shop at every week. We buy the great deals on produce, meat, and dairy that skirt the perimeter and we visit the little organic bulk section, but I couldn't tell you where the Froot Loops are. We buy cereals and snacks at Costco where the organic versions are cheap.

--I have a Kate Spade handbag collection. None of them cost more than 4.99. I have even given designer handbags as gifts to family members who covet them. They think I spent too much... if only they knew.

--I told my daughter that Value Village is called Nordstrom. She likes to tell people where we buy everything and it was getting embarrassing. I hurry her past the sign too fast for her to sound it out, and when she noticed it began with a different letter, I told her the V is silent.

--I make my own BBQ sauce because I can't find an organic one locally, and when I do I probably won't be able to afford it.

--I have not bought shampoo, conditioner, or any kind of hair product in almost a year. Ditto for lotions, moisturizers, anti-perspirants, and a huge chunk of my feminine products. Whoa... how do I manage that?

Oh yeah, I get it for free.

The big indicator of my cheapness is my love of freebies. I find and order free stuff off the internet every day. I have a freebie page on my website, and it's the most often updated page. Freebies have become a major part of my morning routine. I make it into a challenge; how long can I have clean, moisturized hair from one tiny foil packet?

I worry about the environmental friendliness, but the post man comes here every day regardless of what he brings. I recycle all the tiny bottles and the paper envelopes in which they arrived. Gettig so many things for free leaves a huge empty space in on the miscellaneous line of our budget for things like buying more organic, giving to charities, and other green pursuits.

What attracts me to the freebies, more even than the financial savings, is the feeling that I am sticking it to the man. Freebie dispersion is a major part of marketing for the major health and beauty companies. Corporate America is trying to lure me into loyal customerhood, and it ain't gonna happen. I will use their Dove shampoo, love how shiny it makes my locks, and move on to Sunsilk when the bottle is empty. Proctor and Gamble is not getting a dime from me or my household even though I enjoy their products on a daily basis and even have them delivered to my door.

I think (barring theft of course) that NOT paying is the greener way. If we have to be part of this evil economy that is sinking its tentacles into the deepest recesses of our lives, leeching the third world of resources, and hypnotizing small children, let's at least not pay the beast for its services.

I'm off now, to find some more freebies. I'm running low on razors.


Lisa Russell said...

OMG I don't know what's funnier, the Nordstrom's thing, or sticking it to the man. You crack me up, that's why I am giving you an award on my blog. It's the Less than Three Award. You'll have to pop over to take a peek.