How Far Will You Go For Free Things?

I had a busy day recently, going to the city for a few appointments, and on the way home I stopped at the grocery store to get some much needed groceries. I did a delivery of most of what I bought, but since I didn't know when I'd be getting the delivery, I brought home the food I'd need for supper on the bus with me.

On the bus halfway between the grocery store and my house and with my phone on two percent battery I saw that a friend from my neighborhood messaged me. There was a giveaway of foodstuffs via an organization to people in need, and after they finish giving out to the needy, any extras are a free-for-all for anyone to take. This friend told me that there were a bunch of packages of gluten free tortillas available for the taking.

By the time I checked this, my phone was down to one percent. The bus I was on continued one stop further to where they were giving out the tortillas. I knew myself and if I didn't go straight there I wouldn't actually get the energy to leave the house and get them, but it was an opportunity I didn't want to miss. But the kids needed stuff for supper (they were with my neighbor) and I had them, so I thought quickly.

I called up my neighbor with the last one percent of my battery, asking her if she could meet me at the bus stop closest to my house and get the supper food that I was carrying back with me from the grocery store and start getting dinner ready for my kids while I went to get the tortillas and lugged it back home. Fortunately, my kind neighbor agreed, and with that my phone was dead.

After dropping off my groceries with the neighbor and my kids when they came to meet me, I went a drop further along the route and found the location where they were giving away the tortillas, and saw that they were being given by the case (you could take less, though, if you wanted).

Gluten free tortillas? I'll take as much as I can. I tried to load 3 cases into my arms and one tumbled out. There was a limit to my capabilities. Fortunately I did have a backpack with me, so I took some lone tortilla packages and stuffed as many as I could fit into my backpack, before loading it onto my back and holding two cases of tortillas in my arms.

"They aren't so tasty," a kid who was there let me know. "I'm not worried," I respond. "Gluten free food often does taste a little weird to people who usually eat gluten, but I'm ok with that."

With that I started my ten minute walk home, laden with as many packages of tortillas as I could manage. I had to stop quite a few times because my arms were hurting me, but I just kept chugging. (I thought about waiting for the bus but waiting would have taken longer than walking home.)

Once home I tasted them and found out that this kid was somewhat correct. They aren't the best tortillas. They aren't really soft enough to roll into a burrito without cracking (while cold, anyhow) and they aren't the most tasty cold. I've so far tried two ways to use them heated up and they were delicious both as tortilla pizzas and as quesadillas. I'm going to figure out more ways to use them as well. But I see lots of quesadillas in my future.

But as I was walking home with my tortillas, it got me wondering- just how far am I willing to go for something free?

This isn't the first time my friend has shared about what is available for the taking and free. She usually posts it in the local whatsapp group, but this time messaged me directly because she knew I was gluten free and that I especially would enjoy free gluten free things, and she was correct. But previous times she posted I was already at home, snuggly in comfortable pajamas, and it meant getting dressed and walking over there (or waiting for the bus to take it one stop) and back, and I just couldn't be bothered. 

I have a limit to my energy these days, more so than usual, so in general I won't go much out of my way for free, or even great prices. When I do hit up scratch and dent stores, it typically is while I'm anyhow in the area on the way to an appointment, because I don't have the energy and time resources to take a trip just for that.

However, if it is something extra special, like gluten free items that are generally really pricey being given away for free, I often am willing to go the extra mile. (Ok, bus stop.) But for regular free stuff? There's a limit to what I can do.

In the past, though, it was very different, and for those who read my blog in the old times, you could see it clearly. I was struggling financially and didn't really have a choice other than to do everything I possibly could to get free things. I'd take two buses each way to the open-air market and get items that were ridiculously cheap at the end of the day, plus rescue decent enough produce and even fish from the trash wagons before they made it to the dumpster. It was a hard time in my life and I did what I did by necessity. Sometimes you do need to go far for free or nearly free things.

And sometimes, you just can't. Fortunately, my finances are as such that I don't absolutely need the free things, especially because my body has put a lot more physical limitations on me lately. Free things help, but if free things is at the expense of my taking care of things in my house or work, so that I need to pay for things to make up that lack, then it isn't worth it. Better to skip the free things and save the energy for the things that are non negotiable.

There is no right or wrong answer about how far one should go for free things. But its a good thing to think about- how far you are willing to go for free things, and why.

How far are you willing to go? How much effort will you put in to get something for free?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. As you said, No right or wrong. It really depends on if you can handle the running around, and maybe after a person does it a couple times, he can decide if it was worth it or not. I think when I was younger I might have ran around to different areas for a better bargain. Now because I am older, I can't run around so much anymore, and thats ok. You gotta know your limits.

  2. It sounds to me like you are trying to do too much in general. Please pace yourself. You shouldn't be spending your days just tired and stressed out. I learned that the very hard way. Take care of YOU so you have something to give to others, please.

Previous Post Next Post