The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Freebies Edition

One interesting element of having a fairly popular blog is the amount of free stuff people want to send you for the purpose of convincing you to review it. I get multiple emails each day with people wanting to send me promotional materials (t-shirts, etc.), books for review, DVDs for review, some truly bizarre things (like children’s toys and blow-up dolls), and other offers (that more or less amount to bribery). Virtually every blogger that builds a reasonably large audience gets similar offers – and I understand why. If a popular blogger mentions something, it reaches a pretty wide audience and comes from a trusted source.

My philosophy on these freebies is pretty simple. I tell them flat-out that I’m not going to review their product unless that product actually turns out to be interesting in some way or another. If they want to take that gamble, they can go right ahead and send it.

What I’ve found is that this response filters out most of the nonsense. The few things that I do get sent – mostly personal finance books and, on occasion, some purely promotional stuff – is either stuff that clearly isn’t going to get mentioned (like a logo t-shirt) or it’s actually worthwhile, like a personal finance book from a reputable publisher.

The only problem is that this free stuff piles up. So what I’ve started doing is taking a box with me when I go to speaking engagements, filled with these freebies after I’ve read them. I then give them away to anyone who asks a question, since, if people are listening to me talk, they must be at least somewhat interested in the topic.

Several people asked how I deal with such things. That’s my policy, in a nutshell.

Did Your Parents Give You a Whole Life Insurance Policy? Here’s What To Do With It. My wife has such a policy, and we’ve long debated about what to do with it. This is some real food for thought. (@ wisebread)

About Closing Credit Card Accounts and Your FICO Score Just because you finally pay off your credit card doesn’t mean you should close the account. Doing that can actually have a negative impact on your credit score. (@ money under thirty)

The Psychology of Automation This is a pretty worthwhile book excerpt. I strongly agree with the central idea here – automate your savings and it’s a lot easier to save. (@ tim ferriss)

Want To Stand Out At Work? Get The Small Stuff Right I agree wholeheartedly. Get the small stuff right consistently and you’ll be fine, even if the big things don’t turn out perfectly. (@ dumb little man)

How to Save $100 (or More) at the Grocery Store This Month There’s some excellent advice here on grocery shopping. The store circular, meal plan, and shopping list are key. (@ get rich slowly)

Are You Emotionally Invested in Your Credit Card? This is a really interesting perspective on credit card use that I hadn’t considered. (@ bible money matters)

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