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When It’s a Free Gift, It’s Going to Cost You

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free gift (Image: iStock.com/ziquiu)

Want to get better control of your spending? Stop being bamboozled by the word ‘free.’

A gift is free. Period.

A ‘free’ gift is going to cost you: money (i.e., you have to buy something else to get it), time, space in your home, attention, an e-mail address—something. Even if the gift is not actually worth anything.

And an absolutely free, complimentary gift will really set you back.

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Basically, the more ‘free’ something is, the more it’s going to cost you to get and/or keep it. In many cases, you’ll be paying forever. (Or you’ll learn that it’s not really yours at all. Like your Facebook account.)

How can you tell what’s really a gift? You give it—without making a big deal about how free it is.

There is no such thing as a free gift. The exceptions to that rule are rarely worth anything. So before you accept one, be sure you know exactly what it costs, what it’s worth, and if you can truly afford it.

If there is no real value to a thing beyond possessing it, that’s not a gift, it’s a burden. Say, “No, thank you” and keep it moving. And keep a tight grip on your wallet.

Black Enterprise Executive Editor-At-Large Alfred Edmond Jr. is an award-winning business and financial journalist, media executive, entrepreneurship expert,  personal growth/relationships coach, and co-founder of Grown Zone, a multimedia initiative focused on personal growth and healthy decision-making. This blog is dedicated to his thoughts about money, entrepreneurship, leadership and mentorship. Follow him on Twitter at @AlfredEdmondJr.