If you are reading this blog it’s probably because you are looking for ways to save money or improve your financial life. Just like you, I like to save money on as many everyday things as possible so I can re-direct those funds to help me reach my financial goals (like getting out of debt, for instance). But even though I like to save money, I never want approach the line between ethical and unethical when it comes to my fugal ways. Here are a few ways that you should not try to save money if you want to remain on the right side of the ethical boundary.
Taking Tons of Free Samples
When I was a kid one of my favorite things about going to the grocery store with my mom was the free samples they sometimes gave out around the store. Sometimes after sampling 3-4 different freebies, I almost didn’t need supper. Of course, my mom always told me that I could only take one of each sample. Even when they tasted so good and I wanted another one I refrained.
Now that I’m an adult, it seems that these free samples have gone by the way-side in many grocery stores. I have to wonder if they stopped giving them out because they got tired of people taking advantage of these free food samples. That may not be the whole reason behind it, but it could be part of it.
The reason I bring this up is to tell you that while those samples may be “free” to you, they are not free for the retailer or the manufacturer. Somewhere behind the scenes, someone has to pay for these promotional sample products that you are enjoying. There really is no free lunch, even at the grocery store.You should keep that in mind next time you are offered a free sample of any kind.
Abusing Company Policies
Another blog I read suggested in a post a few months ago that signing up for new credit cards or bank accounts to get new customer bonus offers isn’t all that ethical of a practice. Again, the money may be “free” to you, but the company is losing money when you take advantage of these offers and then don’t remain a long-term customer. I know people on both sides of this one, as people who like to take advantage of sign-up bonuses for bank accounts and credit cards often point out that if these companies had a problem with people doing this they would quit offering these type of bonus programs.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure where I fall on this one myself. I can definitely see both sides of this argument. Sure, companies are roping you in by offering you the free goods; but, they lose money if you refuse to become a long-term customer. So is it ethical? I guess I’m kind of on the fence.
These are just two examples of frugal practices that may or may not cross the boundary from ethical to unethical. As I said before, we all like to save money so we can use it for things we’d rather spend it on, like getting out of debt or even planning a vacation. But, at who’s expense will you save your next dollar?