Finances & Money

When free stuff is a bit too much

A week ago, I responded to a Freecycle ad that was giving away a 37″ Sony Trinitron XBR TV. It needed a new circuit board, which should only cost a couple hundred dollars to replace. Since I’m constantly wanting a bigger TV, I saw this as a good opportunity to save money by spending a little.

We went to the giver’s house to check out the TV. It was huge. I can carry our 27″ Panasonic just fine, but this 37″ Sony had to weigh close to 300lbs, and the husband couldn’t help as he recently injured himself. We couldn’t carry it out that day, but promised to come back with help the next day.

Well, thinking about it overnight, Stacie thought that it was just too big to move around in our house, and when we upgrade our TV, we’ll get a nice light flat screen that we don’t have to fix first. I grudgingly agreed and replied back to the giver that we’ll have to pass this time.

Sigh, I coulda had picture-in-picture and HD. Oh well, sometime when we don’t have debt I guess…

And you can never “save money” when you’re spending it. The two concepts are incompatible.

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Clever Dude


  • Interesting point you make in the post… guess the tv wasn’t technically “free”… which ended up being the real problem for you! I’ve been doing some thinking about “free” deals recently, especially those online, and would be interested to hear your thoughts (and anyone else’s) on it.

  • (i feel that i am going to get striked by lightning)…

    we were looking at those vizio’s last nite that walmart has…i have read some reviews where they get pretty good non-hd picture, not as good as the panasonics get, but still pretty good.

  • We have that TV (or one very similar). It’s a pain in the ass. I have no idea how we’ll get it out of the bonus room and down the stairs when it comes time to remove/replace it. Maybe we’ll just move. 🙂

  • I have a 36′ Sony Triniton that is about 12 years old now as our only TV. I even carried that thing to a from college for 4 years and it does weigh probably 200-250lbs(front heavy).

    It has been an awesome TV, way out dated now though. We have been putting away $50 a month for about a year now so that when we move we can get a nice flat screen.

    The TV has only needed on repair to the tuner card($200) about 6 years ago.

  • I got a boxer(the dog) from a person off freecycle a year or so ago. That was the worst free gift ever. She was 8-10 months old and still a puppy in every way. The thing is she was super destructive. She loved to jump on you, one time I was bending down to give her water and she jumped at my face and one of her nails went in my eye. The last straw was when she tore our cable and phone lines out of the box on the side of our house. Just because its free doesn’t mean its a good deal. I learned the hard way.

  • I bought my last TV 5 years ago from best buy as an open item. I had to carry the 32 inch sucker by myself to my 2nd floor apt. It was one of the worst days of my life. My next TV will by light and skinny. I don’t care about HD, just the small size of LCDs matter.

  • We have followed freecycle for a while in our yahoo group but finally started to opt out of the notifications. We live in a “smaller” community and I was shocked by how much stuff was being listed. The unfortunate part is that most of the stuff probably needed to be trashed anyway.The one listing that will always stick out to me is someone’s extremely used tires up for grabs…

  • I think you were lucky that your wife was clear minded, because I think you underestimated the repair cost of the other tv. Besides, you can buy a 37″ flat panel for very cheap these days anyways. spare parts for tv’s cost much more than the tv, because repair shops don’t have the luxury of quantity purchase especially for main parts.

  • Chris,

    We purchased the Vizio 42″ 1080P 120hz for Christmas. Absolutely love it! Can’t speak to non-hd, as I haven’t watched it. Once you go HD there’s no going back.

    Consumer Reports rates Vizio highly.

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