15 May 2017

A dilemma of ethics

When is it wrong to live the Cheapskates way?

Obviously breaking the law and engaging in illegal practices is wrong and unethical. But what about bending the law a little? If you were to just walk in to a coffee shop and take three packets of sugar then that would be considered stealing. But what about when you buy a coffee and take an extra packet to keep in your bag or add to the picnic stash? Or when you buy a coffee and take the sugar even though you don't have sugar in your coffee? Is that stealing? Is that unethical?

What would you do if you were given too much change at the checkout and realised it as soon as it was given to you? Would you just put it in your purse and say nothing? Or would you point out the mistake and hand it back? After all, the checkout operator made the mistake, not you. They should have been paying more attention to what they were doing, shouldn't they?

How about when you are shopping for prices. Is it ethical to go from store to store, asking prices and playing each store off against the other to get that rock bottom price?

It is a dilemma isn't it?

To me living the Cheapskates way comes with responsibility. The responsibility to do my very best to live within our means, to be generous with our excess, to be able to maintain our lifestyle ethically and to be a good role model to my children in all things, including living honestly, morally and ethically.

At the end of the day we have to account for the choices and decisions we make, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem.


  1. For me the main ethical dilemma is trying to buy ethical and made in Australia brands in food, clothing and toiletries on a budget, also trying to give a little to charities while trying to reduce debt.

  2. Dear Cath
    Thank you for your post today, I loved it.
    Friday whilst shopping the shop assistant went to give me back $55 when I had handed her $50.20, an extra $20 note, she was appreciative when I reminded her that my change was $35 exactly. This is a country haberdashery store that sometimes has items that I can't find in the big two stores, the service is fantastic and the staff very friendly, why would I steal from them.
    On the other hand my favourite game is going to the supermarket with a $10 cash back, buying from a list the specials if I'm lucky being there when the meat is put on fifty percent off and coming through the check out handing over $20 in cash and taking home $70 worth of goods, I have just played a perfectly legal game.
    Now I have been accused by some of needing to get a life, but I hurt no one knowingly and if it enables husband and I to enjoy a holiday or trip away occasionally by as husband says stretching a dollar until it screams then that is what is done to achieve it. There is a definite satisfaction in being mortgage and debt free, but we don't go without anything we really need and our wants are doable and affordable.
    I read this blog and I see someone living as well as possible by managing, conserving and using all their resources ethically, legally and to the best of their abilities. It is a skill and there is always more to be learnt, which is why I love your blog.
    However I will comment that these days companies do not often treat loyal customers well, my daughter rang her energy provider to see if could get a better deal after sixteen years with them, no way so after four hours of research which as she said was incredibly confusing she has saved about $400 a year by switching. So I'm going to say I think some people do confuse loyalty and honesty and think it's ok to put one over, which of course is wrong.
    Anyway enough of my rambling. Thank you Cath


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