A Congratulations & A Question

I'm a Frugal Living Member

Congratualtions to fab FruGAL Sara!

She won the Frugal Fashion Week Photo Contest.

Sara won the grand prize! $300 shopping spree on ebates!


Sara rarely if ever buys her clothing at full price. This is a brand new Ann Taylor dress she scored on eBay a few weeks ago. Regular price $149, Sara paid only $37.30!!!

Not on BlogFrog yet? It is quick and easy! Follow my 1 minute video tutorial for signing up for BlogFrog.

Now I have a question for you…..

My question is….. Is appropriate to save money by accepting free services from someone who earns a living this way? What are appropriate boundaries for getting “hooked up” by your friends?

For example:

  • Your computer savvy friend that wiped out your virus for you
  • Your electrician friend that installed a new ceiling fan
  • Your mechanic friend that put in a new alternator
  • Your hair dresser friend that cut your kids hair

Many people are giving and do not mind sharing their talents to help someone out, but when it takes time away from their family time or time that could have been spent earning, is it okay?

Are you being offensive if you try to pay someone that truly wants to do you a favor?

Have you ever had an experience like this? What do you think?

Come join in the discussion at BlogFrog!


  • RM

    This is a hard question for me. I own a cleaning service and have a family of my own and aging parents that I have to care for . Let’s face it I am busy like everyone. Well I have been cleaning a home for years every other week for nothing .The woman is disabled and the husband works and it is all he can do to care for her and the home. I know in my heart I am doing the right thing and they are very grateful;. But there are so many times that I am taking away from caring for my family and my own parents I feel guilty because I am not doing for my own family .
    I don’t know if this is the kind of answer you were looking for but this is my experience and I feel guilty even complaining about the circumstance because I know that perhaps one day I will need help and I would hope that someone would be willing to do it. So did I answer your question I don’t think so. I just thimk that when you see a real need and your able to share your talent whatever it is you should do it.

  • lora

    I’ve never met anyone who was offended by receiving money.
    Give the money and let them decide what they want to do with it.
    If they don’t want to profit from the service, they can donate it, give it back, etc. but I think you pay and let them decide. I’ve never once heard of a strained or broken relationship where someone said “I can’t forgive her because she pays me when I cut her hair!” But I’ve seen plenty of strained relationships where people feel that they are being “used” or taken advantage of. I’d rather err on the safe side.

  • DeAnn

    I am a Certified Massage Therapist at a local day spa. As a independent contractor I can set my hours for the days I am contracted to work & do trades with the people who I want to do trades with or do freebies. I have had friends that have fallon down on hard times & the stress of every day to day life gets to them. I know how relaxing a massage can be during these time. So I alway tell my friends/family to come see me when they need to & we can work something out. Sometimes its free & i do it just because or they will bring me a soda for the day, or fresh veggies from their gardens. But I always figure Karma will come back to me if I do a act of kindness for others. I’ve never felt like I’ve been taken for granted in the past 6+ years I’ve been doing massage in the area.

  • Amber

    About 6 months ago I was driving down the freeway in a used car I had purchased not to long before. The car started to shake and the power was failing in the car ( as I was going 65 mph). I got off the freeway and took the car immediately to a local repair shop to have it tested. It turns out it only needed a tune up (which had not been done in the cars entire 13 year life span). The estimate I recieved was for nearly $500. There was no way for me to afford this and we only had the one car to carry the kids around. My husband called one of his friends who is a mechanic and sort of jack of all trades. We asked him how much he would charge hourly to work on our car. He said we just pay for parts, and he would charge $50/hr. This is actually a very reasonable offer. He came to our house with his equipment, went to store with my husband to buy parts, and fixed our car within an hour. The total cost was less than $100 including parts. We were so happy for his help that my husband gave him an extra $50. This friend was low on available work at the time so we wanted to make it worth it for him to come and help us.The arrangement was benificial to both of us. Now my husband does some work for his brother (and of course he gives him a deal). I think the trick is to not use for friends services just for the sake of being cheap. Respect the fact that almost everyone has a family to support and when you have a chance to give back make sure your ready and willing to return the favor. Also when we are in need of a service, I think if I have any capable friends. Not because I’m looking for a discount, but because I’d rather pay a friend I trust not to take advantage of me.

  • Netti

    I am a hairstylist and this question is tough!!!! I do hair as a hobby for me… time to hang out with adults and give my hubby bonding time with our toddler, but I have many family members that feel that they owe me nothing and want me to make special trips into the salon to do their hair, and then they tell their friends that I do their hair for free or for a couple bucks and the friends feel that they deserve the same treatment, or are mad when I charge them more. For me when I feel taken advantage of my hobby is no longer fun!!! Plus if I am doing others hair I dont think that it should cost me any money, they should cover all my overhead. So I guess my answer to this question is I agree with paying someone and letting them not take the money if they choose or doing something for them as a thank you… maybe cook them dinner for their family ( cause we all know how cheap we can get food so it would cost us next to nothing but our time, which is the same thing they gave us) or watching their kids or something that does not cost much but, would make the person who served you feel that you are grateful!!!! I know that when I know someone appriciates me I am alot more likely to do something for them again! That is one thing I make sure I do is trade whenever possible. But make sure that if they are doing something for you for free you pay them for materials it may cost them.

  • Alexis

    This is definitely a tough question! I think it depends on your attitude, like many have mentioned. If you are taking advantage of a situation, it’s never a good thing. I just don’t think there’s any simple answer, because all of us will at times be in a situation where we can’t give as much, and times where we can be the ones to give. Even with babysitting, it can be a tough call. We have traded with friends to babysit, and we have babysat for friends who have never babysat for us, and we happily did it because we loved their kids (and didn’t have any of our own at the time), and now we’re in school with 2 kids and couldn’t pay a babysitter if we wanted to, so friends have babysat for us and never asked for the return favor, but we’ll invite them over for dinner or something.
    My husband’s sister cuts our hair for free occasionally, and we’ve tried to pay her, but she won’t let us. We would be willing to help her out in any way she needed, but she’s never asked, so in a way I suppose we are in her debt, but we would definitely help her if she asked and I think that’s the key. Also I think it would certainly be wrong of us to tell other people that she cuts our hair for free and send them to her. We realize she’s super busy and needs to make a living. We are very grateful.
    My husband has helped people fix things in their homes for free, I have babysat for a girl while she went to school for free, I think we just offer what we feel comfortable with and don’t expect specific things from others.
    Also, when it comes to using family time, I think it’s really important to discuss these things with your spouse and make sure you both agree that it’s okay. If you both feel comfortable with using the time and talents to give to another, without expecting anything in return, then go for it! You will always be blessed, but the most important thing is the marriage relationship and your own family, so if they are being truly hurt by the service, it may be time to step back. That’s my two cents!

  • Krystal

    I like to trade goods-services with friends we help eachother that way it is mutually beneficial.

  • Lindsay

    I love to trade, I am a photographer I usually dont approach people to trade services with me but if a friend wants pictures for their family than I ask if they would like to trade a service they have rather than paying sometimes paying is just easier than taking time away, but I love trading my talent for someone else’s.
    Food stuff is a good idea, I have neighbors that give me their papers and I randomly give them food, it is funny because they dont coupon so last the last time I went over to get doublers from an old man neighbor I gave him like 6 dressings, I said thanks to him as I left but he laughed and said I think you got the short end of the stick, little does he know theose were free.
    A lot of times people give things and dont expect something in return and weren’t really out for giving it to you but it is always nice to think of something to trade. My neighbor friend offered my friend and I corn to pick, we got to get enough to freeze enough for the whole year, so we made her family dinner which I think like someone mentioned is a good trade because who doesn’t want a break from cooking and we get food cheap so for most of us even if we dont have an excess of money or even time we can still let someone know we appreciate their giving to us.
    Family is always a hard situation especially when times are hard, you cant always analyze too close trying to make sure you got as much as you gave just realize you are helping someone, and I guess just make sure you let them know you appreciate it, my brother’s never thank me for family pictures so sometimes I feel grumbly about taking them because they dont seem to appreciate it but brothers are like that sometimes. Anyway good question.

  • Charlie Plewinski

    Useful information and Wonderful style you got on your blog! I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time in to the stuff you publish! Thumbs up

Leave a Reply

Want to see your picture by your comment? Get your custom avatar by registering for free at Gravatar.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *