Let’s Talk Morality – How Far Would You Go to Pay Off Your Debt?

how far would you go to save money?

When I was on my Spending Fast® and Spending Diet I wanted nothing more than to pay off my debt, and I wanted it done quickly! I had opportunities where I could’ve taken advantage of the situation and put my dishonestly accrued “savings” into paying off the debt. Desperate times, call for desperate measures, right? And when you are very serious about saving money, living frugally and/or paying off debt – you may find yourself tempted to steal or do other bad acts in an effort to reach your financial goals. I’m curious would you steal? Would you not tell the cashier if he accidentally forgot to ring up something? How far would you go to save money and get that debt paid off?

How Far Would You Go to Pay Off Your Debt? Would You Steal, Be Dishonest, or Do Other Bad Acts? 

Taking Things from Work

Most people would say they would never steal for any reason, including to save money – but have you ever taken a stapler or pens home from work?  You would probably never grab money out of the petty cash drawer, but a large percentage of people wouldn’t think twice about bringing home a package of pens from the office supply cabinet.  It seems psychologically, the further we are from actual money, the easier it is to steal (and the less we get from an actual human, the easier it is too).  Pens cost the company money to buy, but they’re just pens – and if you bring a few home that’s less you have to buy.  In our minds, bringing pens home is not the same as stealing the equivalent in cash.

Not Paying for What We Should Be Paying For

Walking out of the store and knowing that the cashier has not charged you for everything is easy to let go and think is no big deal though it’s one of those things that will eat away at you and crunch away your soul if it doesn’t get reconciled.

Eating Food That’s Not Ours Out of the Fridge at Work

Those leftovers sure look better than that peanut butter and jelly sandwich that you’ve got waiting for you (I’ve been there). Resist the urge to eat someone else’s food  from the communal work refrigerator. It might save you money when you decide to ditch your pb ‘n’ j but the bad karma just isn’t worth it.

The Downward Spiral 

The trouble with small acts of dishonesty is that they often lead to larger ones. Small dishonesties may not seem like a big deal, but they tend to lead to bigger ones, and at some point – you start losing your sense of what is honest or not and begin to justify your behaviors.

Once you step over the line and make a bad decision, you may start subconsciously thinking you’re not all that good of a person and think, “Oh well – may as well take that, too!” It’s just like dieting!  If you cheat on your diet once, it becomes even easier the next time you want a cookie.

 How far would you go to save money and pay off your debt? Have you ever done something in an effort to pay off your debt or save money? How far is too far? 
18 comments

in Paying Off Debt

18 Comments

  1. The Norwegian Girl // March 4, 2013

    The most far I would go must be… If I`m buying a lot of groceries, and the cashier forgets to check one thing, but I don`t see it until I get home and look at the receipt, and realizes that I didn`t pay for that one litle cheap item, I would not go back to the store. If that`s being dishonest I don`t know, but if someone makes a little mistake, I won`t spend 2 hours for me to pay that extra $2.

    • Rae @ Motherhood Han // March 4, 2013

      I agree with that- but I have brought the same item to the register on my next trip and said “I got one of these on my last trip, and when I got home, I didn’t see it on the receipt. I’d like to pay for it now, and then have you put this back,” The cashier thanked me for my honesty, but said they wouldn’t charge me for it. My conscience was clear.

      • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

        That’s a good way to do it. Yep, you did your part to make it right so that’s all you can really do!

  2. Money Beagle // March 4, 2013

    I agree about the grocery store and not making them aware of a small mistake. We often find mistakes that had we not found them would have cost us money, and I’m guessing that we don’t catch every mistake, so my guess would be that this tends to normally work out the store’s advantage in the long run.

    If it was a big item I would go back and let them know.

  3. Holly@ClubThrifty // March 4, 2013

    I will admit that I have done some crazy things to save money and to get ahead. But I haven’t done anything that I truly regretted. It’s all paid off!!!!

  4. Megan Belcher // March 4, 2013

    I always drive my husband crazy with my honesty. We’ve left stores more times than I can count and the moment I notice we weren’t charged for something, even if we are home, I drive back the store to make sure it gets reconciled. He always quotes one time when I was particularly irritated and he insisted we just go home. I believe I said, “I am not going to hell over a Chicken Sandwich!”

  5. Kevin Watts // March 4, 2013

    There is a never a reason to steal money. If I was ever tempted and was short on cash I always that I can ask my parents for money, even though I never have. I think you are right about how a small act of theft can lead to bigger one and make you lose your sense of what’s right and wrong. Always keep your integrity at every cost and you will never have to worry about your reputation.

  6. Ellie // March 5, 2013

    1. I wouldn’t be bothered by taking some pens from work. Not a stapler though. I work for a fancy corporation who certainly isn’t hurting for money. Is it bad that I wouldn’t take the stapler because I think it would be easier for my boss to find out? LOL
    2. I don’t even pay attention when they ring up my groceries, but I probably wouldn’t say anything.
    3. I would definitely not eat someone else’s lunch. That is just mean!

  7. carrie on // March 5, 2013

    I’ve gone back days later to pay for something that didn’t ring up and I didn’t catch it til I got home. Feels good!

  8. carrie on // March 5, 2013

    I’ve gone back days later to pay for something that didn’t ring up and I didn’t catch it til I got home. Feels good!

  9. Kym // March 5, 2013

    Once I saw that a grocery store had left a sign 5 for $5 on a display of 24 packs of sodas. I loaded 5 boxes in my cart and pointed to the sign when at the register and the guy gave me them for $5! I was 20 at the time and felt zero guilt. I can’t believe I did that now looking back!

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      Whoo! That’s a heck of a deal!;) I don’t think you should feel that bad! I mean, the clerk did sell them to you… ?

  10. Bri // March 7, 2013

    People steal lunches at my job all the time & I can’t tell you how much rage that produces. I’ve never had food stolen but I’ve had drinks stolen multiple times. At my work, people eat out daily because at least then you are guaranteed to not get your food stolen. It makes it hard to save $$.

  11. Roxana // April 11, 2013

    I’ve returned my mothers gifts. I’ve sold all my jewelry for a fraction of their cost-to buy an iPad. -notgood.
    I’ve sold everything I bought from eBay. -$800 worth. And went to my debt.
    And just recently I’ve started couponing-maybe a year. I save about $19 easily at fresh and easy with their customer and made for me coupons. It’s amazing to walkout with $70 of groceries for $50.

    It’s amazing seeing how reselling your stuff-and using that money to pay off the debt- actually boosts your credit score.

    I’m currently at 670.

    And I paid off $1100 of debt this month!

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  • Anna

    Hi, I'm Anna! I paid off close to 24k in debt in only 15 months & it completely changed my life! I want you to have a debt-free life too so here you'll be able to read all about: How to do a Spending Fast®, saving & making more money, DIY's, & a lot about living awesomely with less. Let's do this!

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