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Q&A | is it ok to take freebies and run?

Read on for the freebie question, but first, one about my desk!

Curious about your desk in the office…is it an adjustable sit/stand desk? If so, what brand and how do you like it?


tidy office.

Yes, it is a sit-stand desk; it’s from Ikea, and you just use the built-in handle to crank it up or down.

But I’m not gonna lie: I almost exclusively use it as a sitting desk!

The problem with moving it up and down is that if you have cords down the back (like for a monitor or keyboard), they get messed up when you change the height from sitting to standing.

messy office

Keepin’ it real with the office situation. It’s not always tidy!

I think the sit/stand combo would be better if you had a more minimalist desk setup, like with just a laptop. But I have a bunch of stuff on my desk!

So…I don’t know if I’d buy this style again, but it does work just fine as a simple sitting desk. 😉

Hi, can you share the Aussie chicken recipe? I’m sure it’s been on before, but I don’t remember.


Sure thing! I meant to link that in the most recent menu post and somehow it slipped my mind. Here’s the Aussie Chicken recipe, which I think is an at-home version of a dish that Outback Steakhouse used to serve.

aussie chicken 

I don’t think it’s faintly authentic as Australian food goes, but it is tasty. 😉

Kristen, after years of reading your blog I’m just noticing you never include snacks in your what we ate posts. Is that for the sake of ease, or are you guys not big snack eaters?


Oh, no, no, we do eat snacks sometimes!

pretzel bag.

And we also eat breakfast and lunch. 😉 But my WIS, WWA posts generally just cover dinner meals.

If you’d like a peek at some of my breakfast and lunch meals, though, here’s a run-though with pictures of each meal.

I would say that these days, my snacks aren’t usually made of snack foods per se…if I am hungry between meals, I might grab something like:

  • some cheese and fruit
  • a piece of toast spread with peanut butter
  • a bowl of cottage cheese
  • a banana with peanut butter

But I do also eat some things like wheat thins and cheese. Or the pretzels pictured above.

Curious: When you pick up freebies, do you routinely purchase anything else (when the deal isn’t contingent on your buying something, such as a free cookie if you buy a dinner)? I never take advantage of stuff like this, maybe because I always feel like I need to BUY something to justify the goody they’re giving me. Wondering if anyone else feels like that? I would feel super weird walking in and just getting a free whatever and then walking out (and hey, absolutely no judgment for those who do this—the business finds the transaction worthwhile in some way, otherwise they wouldn’t do it). Just wondering how others navigate this.

-Oregon Guest

Nope! If it’s a flat-out freebie, I just pick that up and go.

sugar cookie.

I am guessing that the majority of people do buy something with their freebie offer, and that’s why a lot of companies send out birthday offers. It’s kind of like Panera’s Unlimited Sip club; they probably lose money on the club, but it gets people into the cafe and once people are there, they’re likely to buy other things.

As another example, I’m a member of CVS’s ExtraCare Plus program; I pay $4/month and then I get a $10 credit to spend at CVS, plus some other discounts.

CVS 30% mail coupon

That’s like getting $6 free every month, but it probably works out for CVS because most people will spend more overall at CVS because the ExtraCare Plus program gets them in the door.

I also look at it like the loss leaders at grocery stores.

Warehouse clubs usually price their rotisserie chickens so low that they are losing money on them, but it works out because when people stop in to buy a rotisserie chicken, they pick up other things too.

rotisserie chicken

But if you stop in and only buy the rotisserie chicken, I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong!

Of course, it’s fine to only do what you feel comfortable with. But I’m just sayin’ that I don’t personally have a problem taking the freebie and running. 😉

Kristen with a starbucks cup.

This year’s birthday coffee

(Uhhh, just so you know, I don’t literally run. I walk out of the shop like a NORMAL HUMAN BEING. 😉 )

What’s your take on this freebie question? Do you feel obligated to make a purchase?

And if you’ve got good frugal snack ideas, or a sit/stand desk recommendation, share that too!

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Thursday 9th of May 2024

I have a sit/stand up desk and it is not Ikea. I use the zipper sleeve management for the cords. Boy do I have a lot of cords. I work in a law office. So two monitors, office phone, plug for my phone, plug for the desk so it moves, plug for my laptop and my laptop's second monitor, plus a desktop computer but it is tiny. I zipped everything up whole while it was in the standing position and when I lower the desk to sit, the cords just pool inside the cord management sleeves.

I cycle through the day between sitting, standing, sitting on a yoga ball, and kneeling on the kneeler desk chair. I have psoriatic arthritis and ankylosis spondylitis, and this method allows me to work long days.


Thursday 9th of May 2024

Thanks for the follow-up on this and all the good comments!


Wednesday 8th of May 2024

I feel very awkward so don't get a freebie without buying anything else, except for at Starbucks. I have occassionally picked up the free birthday item without buying anything else when they used to have protein boxes. Since they no longer carry those, I don't get a birthday freebie at all as nothing there appeals to me. I think the only reason that I didn't feel awkward about getting just the free birthday item from Starbucks is because they are so ridiculously over-priced to begin with.

Because of this, I rarely partake in birthday freebies as there ususally isn't anything else that I want. I sometimes receive an offer of free socks from Eddie Bauer but I've never redeemed those, either.

I love McDonald's coffee and when they have the free small coffee promo I always order a larger size and pay the difference. I cannot imagine going through the drive through and only getting the free coffee.

Oh, I just remembered that last year, for the first time, I had the birthday freebie at Denny's without ordering anything else. I tipped really well though and didn't feel awkward about it at all.

I wish we had a Panera here as that drink club sound great.


Wednesday 8th of May 2024

I love free stuff, but in this day of high-priced gasoline, I'm careful about when and where. I am probably not going to drive 8 miles to Panera just to get a free cookie, but if I'm in the neighborhood . . . We only have one CVS in our town, and it's a bit out-of-the-way, so I don't participate in their savings programs. However, Aldi has just opened a store on my side of town, so ALDI, HERE I COME!!! (They've sent out $10 off $50 coupons!)


Wednesday 8th of May 2024

Marketing people get paid the big bucks (as do the CEO et al). THEY have that 4/4+ year degree so who am I to turn down a true freebie? Then again, BB&Y made the tactical mistake of too many x% off coupons. Kohl's isn't far behind them I suspect. Red Lobster has (or will) will file for bankruptcy after losing like $11M - mostly due to all you can eat shrimp. None of us have held a gun to any company's head. If you want to buy something on principle due to your freebie, so be it. But you are under no obligation to do so.

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