Would you break the law to make extra cash?

2 June 2014

With around a quarter of Brits worrying about not having enough money on a daily or weekly basis, one in 10 say they would be prepared to break the law to get by.

Some 46% of people say they are under financial strain and 26% cannot afford a holiday.

Some of the illegal ways people said they may turn to in order to make extra cash were shoplifting, claiming something was lost in the post to get money back, fiddling work expenses and take goods left outside charity shops.

Others included driving without a current MOT, cheating on tax returns, stealing copper and selling it on, sneak through train barriers right behind someone else and taking toilet rolls home from work.

Men were twice as likely to break the law as women to get their hands on some extra cash (15% compared to 7%).

More legitimate ways Brits said they were saving money included filling out online surveys for money, using cashback sites when shopping online and renting out their car parking space or spare room.

Some no less legitimate but more unhygienic included washing and flushing the toilet less.

When asked what they would do if they were handed £10 in cash, 32% of Brits said they would invest it, while almost the same amount of people (31%) said they would spend it on their partner, children or family rather than treat themselves (25%).

Extreme measures

Tim Furdui, at PowerofOpinions.co.uk - which led the study - said: "This is a particularly tough time of year with finances having to be further stretched as the nation attempts to afford some respite with the summer holidays approaching.

"But it seems many are struggling with the basics alone and are resorting to quite extreme measures in order to make financial shortcuts to battle the mid-year money blues – some slowly and surely making small gains by using cashback websites and filling in paid online surveys, others willing to flout the rules and even break the law for larger gains."

The top ways people tried to save money were:

1. Filling out online surveys for money (68%)
2. Turn off lights and heating (47%)
3. Only spend on a discount rather than on full-priced goods (30%)
4. Ignore use-by dates on food (28%)
5. Use cashback sites when shopping online (27%)
6. Not carrying cash so they can't physically spend (21%)
7. Cut their own hair or not bother at all (18%)
8. Flush the toilet less often (15%)
9. Look for dropped cash in the street (15%)
10. Do a 'supermarket sweep' fixed time limit when shopping (10%)
11. Forage for food (6%)
12. Wash less often (5%)
13. Rent out their parking space or a spare room (4%)
14. Phone friends and family and ask them to call back (3%)]
15. Reuse train tickets or buy a child rather than an adult ticket (2%)
16. Go on paid clinical trials or donate sperm, plasma, eggs, hair etc (2%)
17. Sneak through train barriers directly behind someone else (2%)
18. Cheat on self-service supermarket checkout tills (2%)

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