Nothing in Life is Free

Life Lesson #5: Know the true cost of something BEFORE you buy. 

Today’s lesson is inspired by Robert Heinlein (author of Stranger in a Strange Land) who said, “Nothing of value is free. Even the breath of life is purchased at birth only through gasping effort and pain.”

What does this mean to you?

All too often consumers (myself included) get duped into thinking we’re getting something for nothing when in fact this is rarely, if ever, true. Don’t let this happen to you. Instead understand what something is going to cost you before you buy it, eat it, drink it, or do it, because everything, and I mean everything, in life has a price. Don’t believe me – look closely at this pic – and if you can’t see the problem ask a fan of the movie Alien. 🙂


Let’s Look at an Example:

This sounds like a simple lesson, but the sooner you learn this is life the better. Consider the following…you’re playing on your iPad and you see a new game which looks really cool. Best of all, it’s advertised as ‘Free.’

What would you do?

  1. Check out the reviews and details on the game to see if there are any in-app purchases that you’ll need to make in order to play the game.
  2. Jump on that deal because you don’t want to miss out.
  3. Download the trial version and see if you like it.
  4. Do something else

Rarely will you find an iPad game nowadays that is truly free. Many of the popular games are billed as ‘free downloads’ but once you start playing you’ll soon discover that to play the game past a few levels you’ll need to buy the full app or else you’ll need to spend money on in-app purchases in order to get much-needed items to complete specific tasks. Even many of the games that do let you play for free, you’ll discover aren’t really free because they bombard you with unwanted pop-up ads that steal your time and try to trick you into visiting other websites. But that’s how it goes nowadays – nothing in life is free.

Same goes for many of the great deals you see on TV – in most cases you’ll be offered something ‘for free’ in addition to your product. How about a second gizmo just like the first, totally free? Or another great whatchamacallit that you don’t really want or need, but hey it’s free, right? Wrong! You have to read the fine print my friends – oh, apparently you overlooked that you need to pay separate ‘processing and handling’ for that second gizmo. What is ‘processing and handling’ anyway? It’s how they get you to end up paying more for things you don’t need or want, that’s what it is. And that whatchamacallit – besides the fact that it wasn’t that good to begin with, that too will cost you an arm and a leg. In the end, you’ll find that you’re paying $50 for what you thought was only $19.99. Ouch. But as we both know, nothing in life is free.

Does this mean you can’t ever get something for nothing? No. There are occasions (rare) in which you can get something for free. Perhaps it’s from a trusted friend or family member. Or maybe somebody from your church or volunteer group will help you out. There are actually good people in the world who will do you a favor and ask nothing in return. But these the exception, not the rule. And even in those cases you could make the argument that if someone does something nice for you, then you should do something nice for them too. And if that is the case, then you’ll have to spend your time or money to help them too. And while I think it’s great to pay back kindness with kindness and that you should totally do that, it only further proves my point — because once more you see – nothing in life is free.

Don’t Wait, Use This Wisdom Today

The next time you consider doing something, be sure you know the cost of it first.

Did You Know?

Today’s lesson came from a book Jax and I wrote called Diary of a Minecraft Dad

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