15 Unethical Ways People Save Money That Will Make You Cringe

By Krystal Brown

It’s important to keep a close eye on our spending habits. However, it’s disconcerting to discover that some individuals resort to profoundly questionable methods to achieve this goal, as we’ll explore here. In this eye-opening article, we’ll delve into the unsettling world of 15 unconventional and unethical money-saving tactics that will make you reevaluate your approach to frugality.


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Some people cut out any sort of thrifting and go straight to shoplifting in a bid to save money. Whether they are desperate for diapers for their baby or have not eaten a good meal in days, some people have no other option than to steal.

Missing Payments

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When there is just not enough money in the bank or you need to pay for something other than your regular bills you may miss payments to get by. While there may be no other choice to skip a monthly payment it is not great for your credit history nor for the people who are waiting for your money.

Abusing Returns

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Companies generally have generous return policies in which customers have a few weeks to return an item. This can lead to people abusing the system by using a product and then returning it. Of course, this would not work for a lot of items but customers may wear a fancy dress to a big event (label included) and return it when they have finished with it. It is not uncommon for people to use kitchen utensils for a month and then pretend that it is broken or even deliberately break them to get a refund.


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One of the truly unethical things that people do to get what they want for free is to scam companies out of products. People will order a product and then replace it with an older one or a broken one then send it back to get a refund. Thus they are left with a new product that they didn’t pay for. Others will pay for events or meals with their credit card then dispute the bill with their credit card company and get a full refund.

Misleading Applications

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From lying about how much money they earn to get a higher credit limit on a new card application to misleading the government about their family circumstances to get welfare, people falsify applications for financial gain. This practice is unethical and while it may lead to short-term gain people will lose out in the long run, especially if they lie about medical insurance that will not pay out when they come to need it.

Exploiting Others

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Exploiting others to make money is the lowest of the low but some people still feel the need to go there. Some people will ask people to come to do their make-up and once they have used all of the make-up artist’s products they say they don’t like it and do not pay or they may attend a concert and then complain to the ticket company that they were fake to get their money back. Others will pretend that they are short on cash to get free food and drinks when they have more than enough money in their bank. Making money out of other people’s will is the absolute worst way to make money.

Taking Advantage of Loopholes

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When people are desperate to make money they will read the terms and conditions to try and take advantage of the loopholes in the system. For example, if a company is giving out free products for signing up to their mailing service or sending food parcels out for completing a survey people will expect it by signing up with different email addresses. This can happen on streaming services too when people will use a free trial code with one address and then sign up with another address to get another free trial.

Taking Advantage of Discounts

Greedy woman
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Stores will often have discount codes for new sign-ups as a welcome gift or for set groups of people such as seniors or veterans. While it is great to use these deals if you are eligible it is not ethical to exploit them. However, some people will use their friend’s student ID to get discounts or sign up for newsletters with different email addresses to repeatedly get the first time deals.

Cheating the System

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Some people are just very brazen when trying to save money so they simply cheat the system without a care in the world. This could mean parking in a disabled spot to avoid parking fees, using your friend’s annual theme park pass, or piggybacking your sister’s Prime account. When businesses and organizations are making so much money it can be difficult to feel guilty about small cheats but in the end cheating the system leads to the small people losing out when prices rise.

Stealing From the Office

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Out-and-out stealing from stores is classed as the most unethical but stealing from the workplace is just as bad. Some people do not equate taking things back from the office is not as bad as shoplifting but it is still taking things that are not yours.

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