Does "Free" Make Us More Wasteful?

Today is day two of being outnumbered by the number of people I have to take care of. Things are going OK but moms of more than one will probably agree with me that the secret lies in prioritizing.

This morning I told my husband that I am keeping washing dishes by hand to the bare minimum. I don’t care if that means running the dishwasher once a day instead of the twice or thrice a week as we have been doing. After all, we are not hurting for dish washing detergent with all the free or almost free I have acquired since the beginning of the year. After he left for his job, I got to thinking: Would I have had this same attitude a year ago when I paid full price for dish washing detergent? Am I more liberal in our usage since I didn’t pay very much for the soap?

A couple of weeks ago I reached into my make up bag only to find that the tip of one of my new lipsticks had been broken by my three year old. In other times I would have been really mad but because I got this lipstick for free after coupon I just threw it in the garbage. No need to get mad at the three year old since it was my fault I left the make up bag near his reach. In this case are items that I have acquired for free less valuable to me? Does this make me think that they are easily replaceable?

Since I have always equated frugality to reducing waste and maximizing the use of what we have, does this new attitude mean that I am becoming less frugal?. I guess this has made me realize that because I obtain things for free or very cheap and I have stockpile doesn’t mean that I should waste these resources mindlessly. Just because it is free doesn’t mean it is worthless and easily disposable. I need to become a better steward of what we possess.

Have you found yourself in situations like these? Maybe you consume more or easily discard items that you have acquired for free because you think it didn’t cost you anything to get them?