Everybody Loves Free Stuff
I was scrolling through Facebook the other morning, when something caught my eye.
It was brown and furry, with big feet, a pink button nose, and long floppy ears. OMG someone was giving away bunnies!!!
Immediately, I was in love.
And I started going over all these plans in my mind. Plans of how I might bring this little puff ball into my life.
Because it would be as easy as stopping by the local farm, picking out a rabbit, and bringing him home. Easy peasy.
In my town, there are several large farms. These farms sell fresh produce, flowers, eggs, baked goods, various crafts, and are just altogether fun to go visit. Lots of times they’ll support a charity event by selling their wares, and also include a petting zoo to entertain the kids. Or me — cuz, like, I’m just a big kid at heart.
One of the events going on that very day was not terribly far from my house. They were having all of the cool stuff above, plus goats, chickens, and a bunch of other fun activities.
But the part that totally had me lingering on the post was about the bunnies. Apparently the farm was partnering with a local rescue organization to rehome these bunnies for adoption.
And their pictures were sooo cute — big fluffy squishy puffalumps, sitting on the laps of volunteers. They looked so happy, so content, and so cuddly! And they were FREE!!!!
OMG, how could we NOT get a bunny??
The Choices We Make
Here is where emotion begins to overtake sensibility.
Because do we really need a bunny? Of course not.
We already have two dogs who require more than their fair share of dedication, attention, and grooming.
Plus who knows how either dog would react to a newcomer, especially of the rabbit variety. In fact, just a few days ago there was a little Peter Cottontail in our backyard. Our youngest dog took off after it, running like the dickens that she is.
And while she didn’t even come close to catching it, I’m sure she gave that bunny quite the scare. So if I were to bring a similar animal into our house, who knows what type of chaos might ensue.
But on the other hand …
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
If I introduced them correctly, maybe we’d become one big happy family? And I mean, c’mon — who can say no to a free bunny???
I feel like if I keep on repeating that question, it’ll somehow make it a wise decision …
Which then led me down another rabbit hole (pun intended…LOL)
Where do bunnies sleep?
Where do bunnies spend their days?
I mean, they’re not exactly like dogs or cats. Can you train a bunny to use a litter box, or ring a bell to go outside?
I somehow imagined all four of us (two dogs + one bunny + myself) chilling on the couch in the living room, binging Stranger Things.
And then what would happen when it was bedtime?
I have no shame in admitting that my dogs sleep in the bed with me. It’s often in some strange configuration where I wake up with a backache and a crick in my neck. But the two of them sleep quite soundly.
And I somehow don’t think a rabbit is supposed to sleep in a bed. They might be more like guinea pigs or gerbils, better situated in cages.
Free Stuff – Vetting Out the Details
I went on the farm’s main website, and looked at some of the pics. It appears their bunnies live outside in a hutch. I don’t have one of those, nor am I capable of building one.
Can you buy hutches online? Probably, but I’m sure that would be way out of my price range. Plus it’s been an extremely hot past few weeks in New England.
Err, do hutches come with AC?? Nope, probably not.
I guess another alternative could be to find a fairly large crate or cage to keep indoors. So yet another expense, unless I could find one for free on Craigslist or Letgo.
And a crate would also require some sort of bedding material, like hay or something like that. Plus a water bottle, and — hey, what exactly do bunnies eat?? #NextRabbitHole
By this point, the novelty of getting a free bunny is taken over by the fact that there will be additional costs involved.
Mr. Bunny will require housing, food, healthcare, and the basic amenities that will allow him to survive and thrive.
Because wherever this little cutie came from, I’d want to make darn sure I was improving his living conditions by like 1000%. There’s no way I’d want to put him in a position where he’d be worse off by living with me.
So the only smart choice in this situation would be to forego all thoughts of bunny adoption.
Nothing in life is free. Not even cute bunnies.
Freecycle and Full Circle
So that’s where this whirlwind of a thought process has led me. From seeing free bunnies on the internet, to the entire lifecycle of a living being that deserves more than I’m capable and willing to dedicate at this point in time.
But these are the choices we make in life, right? As minor and trivial as they can sometimes appear. They can also have long-lasting, incremental consequences.
But for 15 fleeting minutes — I thought about getting a bunny.
And while there are places you can go to find stuff that is legitimately free, you should still think long and hard about what that means.
Is there some kind of long-term commitment involved? Will there be ongoing maintenance? Do you know all the details of what you’re getting into? This is especially important when it comes to living beings like pets.
Here are a few places where you can find free stuff. (Just make sure you perform your due diligence before reaching out online to claim the item).
When You Shouldn’t Accept Free Stuff
Have you ever heard the phrase “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts“?
While that might not be totally applicable to this situation, I think it exaggerates one of the main points here. Sometimes things that are free wind up being more than what you bargained for.
And sometimes a gift comes with a price, or strings attached. When those Trojans opened up their gates to see that big swanky horse from Odysseus and the Greeks, they should’ve thought twice before accepting it.
Additionally, there are some other examples of how free stuff can wind up costing more in the end.
Like those free trips to check out a timeshare opportunity, or a free steak dinner for listening to an investment pitch.
Or how about a vacation to Disneyworld for referring 20 friends and family members to that traveling vacuum salesman.
And even a free month supply of that fancy acne cleanser, when you sign up for auto-delivery.
Somehow you get roped in, sign up for something you don’t truly want, or even forget you handed over your credit card number. Then before you know it, there are 6 monthly charges on your statement that you never knew were even there.
(Almost) Free Music is My Jam
And here’s another big one —
Maybe some younger folks have no recollection of this — But have you ever heard of Columbia House or BMG music club?
11 cassette tapes (or CDs) for a penny. Who could possibly pass up that bargain??
Never mind the additional 8 or 9 tapes you agreed to buy at regular member price. I honestly don’t quite remember what the commitment was — except that the company for sure made out in the end.
You’d be roped into a monthly membership, where it was up to you to opt out of featured selections for the month. And if you forgot to mail the selection card back within 10 days, you were on the hook financially for that cassette. And nobody wants to admit to owning Eddie Murphy’s greatest dance hits.
The thought of getting stuff for free is enticing. Because we live in a world where the mighty dollar is king. If you stumble upon the opportunity to thwart that concept, it can feel like you’ve one-upped the system. Getting something for nothing can feel like you’ve hit the lottery, no matter what the item is.
But is it really something you’ll use? And will the amount of money “saved” counter any additional money that may need to be spent on upkeep?
That’s where we need to enlist common sense and logic to truly examine the value of free stuff.
Because sometimes — free isn’t really free.
What do you think? Have you ever encountered something that was too good to be true, or maybe talked yourself out of something that seemed like a great bargain at the time?
Or did you receive something for free that wound up being more effort or trouble than it was ultimately worth?
Hit me up in the Comments!
Robin : )
Robin is a full-time business professional who has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. She is also a personal finance blogger who shares her first hand experience with the struggles of money and debt. On Mastering the Side Jam, she focuses on ways to maximize efficiencies to make & save money, pay off debt, and live your best life.
She has been been featured on The Money Mix, Rockstar Finance, The Financial Diet and Women’s Money Talk, and has been quoted in various online publications.