These Are Things You Shouldn’t Accept for Free or Cheap

As much as we like getting free things, we have to remember the ancient wisdom: When you accept something that costs nothing, you get what you pay for. We can compare that to modern wisdom: When a company gives you something for free, you are not the customer; you’re the product. Both are true. They should serve as warnings not to take candy from strangers. But we like the candy so much, we are willing to ignore all that wisdom so that we can take all that offered candy for the low, low price of free or very cheap.

No matter how many times we’re warned, we keep doing the same things. We have taken so much candy from the same strangers that we feel like they aren’t strangers anymore. Companies like Meta (formerly known as Facebook) and Google have built their empires on giving away their services for free. Today, there are people who wouldn’t know how to live without Gmail, Google search, or their Facebook feed. They have also never bothered to ask what the cost to them is for using the service.

Some people still believe those services have no cost and are provided out of altruistic rather than business motives. This is not to say that you should immediately dump your free social network accounts. It is to say that you need to look into their true price. And while you’re at it, consider the following as things you should never accept for free or cheap.

Loans

There are good loans and bad loans. Learn to recognize the bad ones because they are usually disguised as good ones to suck you into their vortex of deceit. The bad loans give you a good number 0% financing, or a good message like “pre-approved!” These numbers and messages are followed up by the bad news shrouded in a lot of incredibly small print that they hope you will not bother to even try to read.

When you apply for your next recast loan, take the time to look at the terms and understand what the true offer is. Recast loans are great for reducing your high-interest mortgage. Good companies will give you a fair deal based on a number of factors. Bad lenders just pretend to give you a fair deal but end up not saving you any money, and in some cases, costing you more than if you had just stuck with your original mortgage. There are no free loans. There are well-structured loans that won’t cost you a lot of money. Do your homework and beware of the lender that doesn’t want you to read the fine print.

Employees

Would you earn more if you hired someone to help? That really all depends on the quality of the worker you are hiring. Not everyone is a particularly good worker. Some of them will cost you a lot more money than any benefit you get from the work they do, and that is if you can get them to do any work at all. Whether or not the right employee will save you money will also depend on your current business needs. But it is certain that regardless of your business needs, the wrong employee will always cost you money. Don’t accept a long-term employee that offers their services for free. That will inevitably be bad for your business. And don’t try to find the person who will accept the lowest wage. No good will come of it.

Anything Where Life and Death Is Involved

You don’t want a discount pilot flying the plane because the airline refused to pay for one who was more experienced. The same goes for a discount surgeon or a discount parachute packer. When it is your life on the line, you want the best you can get. Leave the discount security guard to the person who is not as interested in surviving the attack. You might not be able to afford the best of the best all of the time. But when it really counts, you want the best you can get, not the cheapest.

That is the lesson to be taken away here about spending your money wisely. Sometimes the wisest purchase is the one you invest in. And when it comes to financial services, employees, and life and death situations, you want the best you can get at the time. Even when living frugally, sacrificing quality is seldom a good value.

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