shopping basketJulien Behal/PA Wire/Press Association Images

We're all having to pull the stops out to make ends meet at the moment, but a new survey has revealed that 53% of Brits have gone far further than you might ever have imagined - breaking the law in order to save a few quid.

And what is their illegal activity?

Lawbreakers

A survey by discount voucher website myvouchercodes.co.uk asked people in what ways they had unethically saved money in the past, if any. By far the most popular answer, given by an astonishing 53% of people, was swapping labels over in a shop in order to pay less for an item.

The rest of the list was made up by parking illegally, which 41% of people admitted to, pretending to have no money when out socially (32%), tricking self-service machines (29%) and stealing (8%).


When asked if, regardless of the fact they had ever taken to unethical methods of saving money, they would in the future; 47% of the total respondents said 'yes'.

The risks

This is astonishing. While it may be understandable that people adopt shades of grey - such as pretending not to have any cash on them when they are out with friends - the other four top answers are all illegal. Swapping labels is technically fraud, and the shops have the right to prosecute. Likewise tricking a self-service machine is theft, and stealing is clearly morally repugnant.

Parking illegally is unlikely to leave you with a criminal record, but may well land you with a hefty fine.

The survey also revealed the price you could pay for this reckless approach. When people were asked if they had been caught in their efforts to save money unethically, two fifths, 39%, said 'yes – on more than one occasion'.

Mark Pearson, chairman of MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, commented: "Many of these methods of saving money, unethically, are in fact illegal. You can't just go about stealing and tricking self service machines, which is in essence stealing, just to cut back a bit. As far label swapping in shops and tricking assistants into selling items to you for less, that's very sneaky indeed!"

"The best thing to do if you need to save money is start living more within your means. Change brands of items you buy to save a few quid. Whatever you do, don't resort to breaking the law."

But what do you think, is it ever forgivable to break the law in order to save cash? Let us know in the comments.

More stories