The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Freebies and Incentives

As a consumer, I’m more likely to make a purchase or give feedback when the retailer sweetens the deal by throwing in a freebie or other incentive. For example, I fill out surveys at the mall for free coupons or promotional pens, I test drive cars for free t-shirts or restaurant gift certificates, and I always look out for buy-one-get-one free type deals.

I’ve gotten a lot of cool gifts this way, which I can then keep for myself, pass on to friends and family, or even put up on eBay. Not bad for a few extra minutes of my time!

Financing Purchases

Although I buy a lot of things, I always try to live within my means. I pay cash for purchases whenever possible and only finance big-ticket items when I’m offered a great deal, such as low interest rates for a year or whatever. If I can’t make my purchase within those guidelines, then I force myself to wait until I can save enough money to get it done.

I know a lot of people who go into debt to buy nice things, and then end up having to take out a cash advance or other loan in order to keep a roof over their heads. Don’t be like that!

Fantasy Football Enhancements

Most major sports websites, such as ESPN.com, SportingNews.com, Yahoo.com, Sportsline.com, and others offer free fantasy football leagues to anyone who wants to join. Usually the free versions come with just the basic functions and don’t provide live scoring updates, which means you have to wait until Tuesday morning to see if you won your matchup or not.

I’ve been playing fantasy football for four years, so I can tell you that waiting that long is not fun at all. That’s why I usually pay the extra $10 or so to enhance my account with the live scoring feature.

First of all, yes, I know I can simply get a pen and paper and add up the scores myself. I did that all through my first season of play and have nothing against people who want to keep score that way. But this method doesn’t make it very easy to check out other matchups in the league, which is important if you’re near the top and are angling for a playoff spot.

Second, I think that having live scoring updates saves a lot of time in the end. When I was manually keeping score, I would check box scores constantly, and then add — and re-add — my totals to make sure I was 100% correct. With live scoring, I just hit refresh on the league page and I have up-to-the-minute totals for each and every matchup in the league. Very easy.

So if you’ve got an extra 10 bucks to spare, I say go for the live scoring option. The price averages out to less than $1 per week, which is not bad at all!