First Person: Facebook Is Costing (and Making) Me Money

Yahoo Contributor Network

When signing into Facebook you will see a message that says: "It's free and always will be." Once you are inside Facebook, there are a lot of games that claim to be free to play, but are these things really free? The simple answer is "yes," you can use these services for free; however, if you aren't careful you can lose money while doing so. After taking a look at my Facebook usage, I found that Facebook and the games on Facebook were far from free for me.

These are some of the ways I've found that my time on Facebook has impacted my finances.

Wasted time

While Facebook doesn't make me waste time on the site, it does happen. I use Facebook to keep in touch with my family and friends, and to promote my work as a freelance writer. I also use it to get help from other writers. I would say on average I spend six hours a day networking on Facebook, and during that time I am easily distracted from work. I can't be sure how much money I lose each month while messing around on Facebook, but I can safely say it's at least $50.

Games

There are a number of games on Facebook that I've played at least once, and several that I play daily. These games boast that they are free to play, but they aren't always completely free. Many of them offer virtual currency in exchange for real money. Players can use this virtual currency to speed up a goal or quest, or to purchase exclusive items. When I started playing these games I promised myself I wouldn't spend money on them, but I got sucked in. Until two months ago I spent around $30 a month on one of these games.

Facebook isn't all bad

Despite missing out on potential earnings and wasting money on game items I can't even hold, Facebook does have some benefits. I've gained readership for my freelance work through the site, which has been profitable. My husband and I have also managed to make around $100 selling unwanted items in Facebook yard sale groups.

After looking at all the numbers, I know now that controlling how I use Facebook will not only free up time, but it will also save and/or make me money. I've vowed to quit buying virtual goods for Facebook games, and I am working to reduce my wasted time so I can focus on work. I will also spend more time focusing on building my readership on Facebook, which will improve my profits.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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