18 Sep

Written by Kathryn Vercillo on September 18, 2008

space small

You already know all of the things that you are supposed to be doing in order to save money. You combine all of your errands in to one trip to reduce the money that you spend on gas. You clip coupons and buy things that you use a lot in bulk. But you’re still not saving as much money as you need to be saving to get by in today’s economy. Perhaps you should stop doing only those things that you are supposed to do and start doing things that you are not supposed to be doing!

Stealing is a good example of something that you really aren’t “supposed to” do but which you can sometimes do without serious legal or social sanctions and which can end up saving you a lot of money if you do it on a regular basis. You certainly don’t want to go to jail for theft (although you’d save some money on housing and meals if you did!) but there are things that you can legally steal without taking that risk of imprisonment.

Here’s a look at twenty examples of things that you can start stealing now to save a few pennies here and there:

  1. Condiments from restaurants. You probably shouldn’t be eating out at restaurants if you really want to save money but if you happen to be there then you might as well get your money’s worth by taking as many things off of the table as you can. Plenty of people have great collections of ketchup packets, chili sauces and even half-full salt-and-pepper shakers that were slipped into a shopping bag or purse while dining.
  1. Flowers from cemeteries. Be forewarned that doing this completely lacks class and is generally considered a socially unacceptable behavior. That said, you can save a fortune on cut flowers for your own home, a hot date or even the grave that you yourself are visiting by taking the ones that were left by someone else at a headstone.
  1. Food from trash cans. Dumpster diving is the ultimate money-saving method of avoiding the high cost of the food that you need to survive. The best place to look is behind restaurants at the end of the work day when you can likely get your hands on some good fresh food that no one is going to be eating anyway.
  1. Parking spots. The majority of people who put their dimes and quarters into parking meters on the street don’t actually take all of the time that they buy. When you’re parking, keep an eye out for meters that still have time on them and go ahead and slide your own car into this space. Of course, you don’t want to drive around wasting gas to steal a spot but looking for those ones with the meters running is a good penny-saving habit to get into.
  1. Aluminum cans from local recycling containers. There are some old women around the world that have this money-making scheme down to an art. You walk around to trash cans and recycling bins and find all of the recyclables that can actually be sold for a profit. All that you spend is your time and you can get a decent side income from doing this if you’re committed to it.
  1. Books from libraries. This is one that you can’t do long-term or often but you can do it now and then if you’re so inclined without really risking getting in to much legal trouble. When a book goes missing from a library, you usually have a long period of time before you’re actually asked to pay it back. First of all, you can renew it for several months. Then you can say that it was returned after all and ask for a claim check which buys you a few more months. In that time, you can either return the book or sell the book for a profit. Just don’t plan on being able to borrow books from that library for too long.
  1. Wine and snacks at art gallery openings. Technically this isn’t even stealing because this stuff is there for the taking. Some people consider it tacky to go to art openings just for the free wine. And some do consider it stealing because the wine is really supposed to be there for those people who actually go to network and enjoy the art. But these are all pesky details that you’re probably not going to worry about if you’re trying to save money on your alcoholic beverages.
  1. Movies at theatres. There is a multitude of ways to get into movies at movie theatres for no charge. You can buy one ticket for a group and then have the ticket-holder go open a side door to let everyone else in the group in. You can buy a ticket for one movie and then theatre-hop all day for a full day’s worth of entertainment. You can make friends with someone at the ticket counter who will look the other way when you come in. You run the risk of getting into some trouble if you get caught but the risk is minimal and the punishment usually amounts to a slap on the wrist.
  1. Movies, music, games and software from online filesharing sites. Piracy is a great way to steal the entertainment and productivity tools that you want online. It’s illegal to varying degrees in different parts of the world and in some areas it does come with some pretty hefty fines. But if you’re willing to take that risk, you can get a lot of cool stuff to keep you active on your computer for weeks and months on end. And there are some places where downloads are questionably legal. There’s also the option of burning discs from the people that you know which is considerably less risky in terms of legal ramifications.
  1. Wi-Fi from coffee shops. If you don’t want to pay for your own Internet connection then you should try to make sure that you live close to a place where you can access it for free. In most cases, this theft of the Internet is legal although there are different rules for different areas depending on the type of theft that is going on. For the most part, if you steal the connection from a place that’s offering it anyway, you’re not going to get into any trouble even if you’re doing the stealing from your own nearby apartment.
  1. Drinks at the bar. This one requires that you get to know the bartender because you’ll need his or her help to get the drinks. By making friends that tend bar, you can steal the alcohol from them in the form of drinks that they don’t charge you for. You should probably still tip big if you want to continue getting this perk of your friendship.
  1. Soda or iced tea from self-serve spots. There are many restaurants and fast food places that allow you to get free refills on drinks and they let you get those refills yourself. This means that a stealthy person can sneak into a place like this, fill up a water bottle or thermos with a drink and then book it out of there. Doing this is easiest in food courts and busy fast food restaurants.
  1. Supplies from the office. The place that you work has a ton of things that you might want to use in your own home and that you just need to get up the bravery to take home with you one day. While it’s technically illegal to take things from the office, most places aren’t going to actually care (or prosecute) if what you’re taking is stuff like paper and post-its.
  1. Food from potlucks and BBQs. The trick here is to get invited to big events where everyone is going to be bringing something with them. You bring something really cheap so that it looks like you contributed. After people have begun eating, excuse yourself back to where the food is being served. Peel off the pieces of tape that bear someone else’s name on the dishes that you like the most. Then pack those up and stick them in your car. You get Tupperware and a meal for free. Do this one only infrequently, though, because people will eventually figure it out and you’ll stop getting that invite.
  1. Toilet paper from public restrooms. Almost every college student has done this at one time or another and there’s nothing that says that you can’t keep doing it even after you have left the college environment. Everyone needs toilet paper and every public stall has it right there for the taking.
  1. Goodies from hotels. It used to be that you could take the towels with you when you left a hotel. That’s not the case anymore since you can often find yourself getting charged when big items go missing. But the little stuff that’s “complimentary” is still there for the taking. The coffee, the lotions, the soaps, the shower caps … all of these are there for you whenever you stay at a hotel. To really benefit, you should always ask housekeeping for extras of these things; they rarely fail to give you more and more and more.
  1. Gas from your neighbors’ cars. If you don’t have a problem with the taste of gas then you can probably siphon some from the neighbors. It’s theft so it’s illegal but you’re probably not going to get caught and even if you do, it’s unlikely that your neighbors are going to do anything to you. With gas prices what they are, it’s a risk you may want to take.
  1. Stuff from the lost and found department of stores. You can go to the lost and found department of major stores and say that you have lost such-and-such. Pick a commonly lost item like keys. Often, the cashier will just show you what’s in the lost and found box so that you can see if your keys are in there. Take note of what’s in there and see if there’s something you want (say an iPod). If so, return later in the day or week when that particular cashier is gone and say that you lost that item (the iPod). It’s now yours.
  1. Coupon codes from the Internet. There are some coupon codes that are only supposed to be used by certain groups of people (members of different clubs, for example) but which users are freely publishing all across the Internet. Steal these coupon codes to save money on everything from photo printing to groceries.
  1. Basic stuff from your roommates and friends. This one isn’t recommended because you have to remember that you have to live with these people. But it’s basically legal if what you’re stealing is small (toothpaste, for example) and it can be a great way to save money on things that you just don’t want to buy for yourself.


  1. 38

    stupider after reading this
    May 8th, 2013

    Wow hardly any of that was actually legal as described. If you are willing to do some of this shit, why would you not do something you could actually gain something worth your while?

  2. 37

    February 23rd, 2012

    I’ve done half these things,the flower thing though your better off pulling them from someones yard!

  3. 36

    September 2nd, 2011

    I stopped reading the replies halfway through. But to everyone who stopped at some number that was not the last one, I remind you of when your teachers told you to read over all the instructions first, then begin, and of course the thing where at the end of the instructions you find out you fail if you answer any. Of course in this case your moral indignation would be sustained to the very end. My point is that in principle, by (proudly no less) declaring you did not finish reading, you broadcast an aura of poor judgement and demonstrate a lack of reading and thinking skills.

    For my part, I would much prefer a world of petty criminals who have comprehension skills (and use them) to the Utopia of Idiocy you imply is your desire.

  4. 35

    May 6th, 2011

    lol at all the mad folk.

  5. 34

    Name is required
    April 23rd, 2011

    Most of the comments here have been too sweeping – theft in itself isn’t right or wrong, it more depends on who you’re stealing from and what kind of position you’re in. There was a story a few years ago about a homeless man starving to death in the car park of a Tesco. I think everyone (including the people working in that Tesco, and hopefully the owners too) would rather the homeless guy had broken in and eaten something. I would actually say that anyone who tried to claim that that would have been wrong is a much more despicable kind of guy than a lot thieves. But then the kind of person who breaks into an old woman’s house and steals her stuff because he’s looking for an adrenaline kick is also a pretty terrible person. There’s a definite balance, but all in all I think that most people should be able to steal from a large chain without feeling any guilt – stealing from a corner shop or other small business that’s struggling to survive isn’t really something that should be done casually, but I really wouldn’t look down on someone for borrowing a coffee shop’s wifi. To get self-righteous about that is quite petty. At the same time, if someone steals anything from any major chain I really can’t see any real victim to their crime – when you condemn someone for taking a bottle of wine from Tesco (or Wal-Mart if you’re American) do you really find yourself sympathising with the mega-giant in question? Is that really on the same level as stealing a bottle of wine from an old lady? It clearly isn’t – companies like Tesco and Walmart have more wealth than you can imagine, and it comes from having their employees work for very little pay. While the head honchos have the most enjoyable and most rewarding jobs, it’s the guys stocking shelves that company really can’t do without – but it’s those guys that are paid the legal minimum, or close to it. And those guys find themselves in a position where they have to forfeit the majority of their waking lives to this faceless mega-company for very little reward in order to eat and pay rent. So if you want a DVD player, and think you can get away with it, just take it from Tesco. You’re not hurting anyone, and those arseholes have taken a lot from the community without giving much back.

  6. 33

    February 28th, 2011

    One of the biggest crocks of shit I’ve ever rear on the internet, stealing from peoples graves??? You’re sick.

  7. 32

    January 26th, 2011

    This was a terrible article. It has nothing to do with legally saving money. The title is deliberately misleading and the advice in the article is despicable.

    Normally when I find myself on a site I haven’t read before (such as this one), I’ll browse through a few other articles and keep coming back if I like them, but this article has turned me off so much that I have no intention of ever reading anything else on your site.

  8. 31

    only person thats comment matters
    January 16th, 2011

    awesome! also stealing your grandparents or parents or anyones prescription of opiate or benzo related drugs and selling them to your junkie friends is a good one. just make sure that you leave one behind so that way whoever you ripped off has one last one before they have to get a refill. old people are stupid and they forget shit all the time anyway so its not really stealing as long as they get their refill without paying.

  9. 30

    September 17th, 2010

    stealing anything is dirty..DIRTY you hear me!

  10. 29

    August 26th, 2010

    Just plan your life as a deadbeat tenant. Most landlords will wait three or four months before commencing eviction proceedings, and by the time the eviction happens all you’ve spent is your 1 month deposit and have lived off the lam for 6 months! Now that’s stealing the legal way because the tenant – landlord laws are on the tenants side!

  11. 28

    enver ismail
    August 11th, 2010

    now this is kaaaaaaaaaaaaak funny was lmao. esp for stealing nieghbours recycling and the lost and found lol

  12. 27

    May 2nd, 2010

    Whoever wrote this article really needs to re-evaluate their morals. When you take something that is not yours, it effects someone else negatively. It doesn’t matter if you get caught- YOUR HURTING SOMEONE ELSE AND THAT IS NOT OKAY.
    Joe- You have issues. I own my own company and have a few employees. I make a great product that people love and I sell it. How is that being a con-artist? That’s so ignorant of you to say. I became successfull by working hard. I’m very good to my employees and if I caught any of them stealing I would fire them. All of those little things add up to a lot of money lost over the years. And it’s called being SELFISH. Selfish people suck!

  13. 26

    February 14th, 2010

    Can i just say to the Joe person up above that his “business owners are basically con-artists” theory is a load of crap? my 76 year old grandfather owns (and has done for 30 years) an art and toy shop business that the entire family works in, and he certainly has never conned anyone out of any money. if anything, he’s conned himself, as he is forever giving things away for free or giving discounts(sometimes much more than is good for the business). but this reminded me of a way to save money. i’ve been working in the family business for 3 years, and i’m not even 18 yet. however, i am always being rewarded by customers who are grateful of my helpfulness and just general niceness. every month, a woman comes in and she always gives me a £5 money off voucher for Ruby and Millie make up, just because i’m a lovely and friendly young girl, and it’s quite hard to find this nowerdays (her words). so maybe this Joe person should take a leaf out of my family’s book and be nice to people. you’ll get rewarded and not look like an ass.

  14. 25

    Jack Frost
    January 15th, 2010

    I think Kathryn and Captain Frugal has found a way to wind you all up.

    I say, “Stop Wastin Your Time Reading This Crap”, life is too short, Mate.

  15. 24

    Secret Mane
    December 6th, 2009

    Ok atms are good to steal, also electronics and jewerly.

  16. 23

    December 2nd, 2009

    The “title” of this article is an oxymoron, and therefore the rest of the article contradicts itself. The moral of this article is that it has none.

  17. 22

    September 28th, 2009

    The title, “Legally Steal” is totally off here. Many of these “ideas” are in fact ILLEGAL and represent THEFT, as in “go to jail.” Floral arrangements are personal property by the way, and that would be theft also. You don’t have to be standing next to your property to own it. Otherwise, what’s to prevent someone from coming into your yard and taking your landscaping if you aren’t there? If I saw someone stealing flowers, I’d be on the phone with the cops in a second.

    It’s a little disconcerting that a commenter or two thinks this stuff is o.k. It shows how far we as a society have sunk when “what’s o.k.” is tied to “when nobody’s looking” or “whenever you can get away with something.” There is really no excuse for this line of thinking.

  18. 21

    Bob WIllichet
    June 8th, 2009

    If you steal flowers from someones elses grave you’re going to hell. Thats such a dirtbag move

  19. 20

    Sneaky mo fo
    June 7th, 2009


  20. 19

    April 14th, 2009

    I don’t see why you would bother writing a ‘joke’ post which really couldn’t elicit a laugh in Ebeneezer Scrooge himself. Frugal people have worked hard lately to shake off the image that saving money makes you a miser and general dullard with no soul, but this article with it’s ‘joke’ advice should be taken down for runing this site’s and the author’s reputations. However, reading through the comments makes me feel glad that people don’t take this sort of thing seriously and that people do have integrity even when it is so often undermined.
    Oh, and yes, I am new, and No, I don’t want to subscribe to your feed.

  21. 18

    March 2nd, 2009

    everyone who gave this article a bad response needs to chill out and not take it so literally. It says ‘joke’ at the top so don’t take it so seriously. nice post

  22. 17

    February 17th, 2009

    What goes around, comes around. Try and justify it all you want, but it’s theft. What about your karma? And some of these things are pretty messed up. Stealing from your neighbor? That’s trashy and pathetic.

    This discusting behavior only contributes to the deterioration of our society.

    I use to steal and sell things from retail stores when I was a teenager. Thank God I went to juvi for 6 months. I apologize to you all for having been so scummy.

    Please take the higher road, and give instead of taking.

  23. 16

    February 11th, 2009

    If I brought flowers to a gravesite and they stayed there for at least 24 hours, a lil less in winter- I would not be upset is someone took them. They would only die anyway. I think the dead person I brought them to already got the idea. If they went on to another use- a gift or to make a table look pretty- I wouldn’t mind. Better than brown, dying flowers on a grave.

  24. 15

    February 10th, 2009

    No way should you steal flowers from a graveyard that’s just sick!As for fat cats and rich folk who didnt get there by hard work but by stealing off decent honest working people well we should take back what is ours

  25. 14

    February 5th, 2009

    Excellent article…i would not steal the flowers from a cemetary, but i would not hesitate to steal anything from a company…here’s how i justify it:

    The answer is simple…anyone who owns a buisness is a con-artist….
    Show mw a buisness owner and i will show you a con-artist who is exploiting people, bending rules, cheating on taxes etc….
    A person, who is rich didn’t get there by working hard and following rules…they got there by bending and breaking the law, exploiting other people and lying..in this society you have to be a crook to be succesfull….
    Actualy i would go as far as suggesting,that if you are honest,you are a naive loser and a sucker….
    I take great pride in stealing from these guys and i think i’m much smarter than losers, who are honest and follow rules.

    And before you judge me know this: I would NEVER steal from friends and family…but “stealing” from the company or the government is basically taking back what is rightfully mine….
    Rules are made by the rich company owners,con-artists and governments, so they make sure that you don’t get any ideas and do it like THEY DID…by lying cheating and stealing….

    No…they want you to stay poor like a good little sucker.
    These people absolutelly hate so called “organized criminals”…because these guys actually have the balls to stand-up and take back what is theirs and then some….
    The ruling classes throughout history have used religion to make sure, that people don’t rebel and take back what is theirs….

  26. 13

    January 18th, 2009

    I am appalled that ANYone would even suggest to steal flowers from a gravesite! How heartless. Flowers and other items have been stolen from my daughters grave and it is so heartbreaking that people do this… joke or no joke ITS NOT FUNNY

  27. 12

    January 16th, 2009

    This list(which I quit reading after the first 6 or 7) makes me ashamed to call myself frugal.

  28. 11

    November 28th, 2008

    It is legal to download music and movies via p2p services. The illegal part comes in when you begin sharing these things, via upload, after you get them.
    A lot of smaller p2p sites consider not sharing ‘bad ettiquette’ and may block you from downloading if you don’t share. Download utorrent and search sites for files like thepiratebay.org Set your utorrent program to never upload or ‘seed’ files.

  29. 10

    October 15th, 2008

    I have done 15 from the above list, and those people who are complaining have done at least 1 or 2 of them, (yes you have) but wont admit to it!
    Why stop at the flowers tho? take the vase and pick out the lead letters from the headstone, why don’t you?

  30. 9

    October 14th, 2008

    Worst article ever.
    How is that “20 Things You Can Legally Steal To Save Money”? Most of those things are illegal and you’ve included flowers from cemeteries which is pathetic. I fail to see how that article will be of any use to anyone who genuinely wants to save a bit of money

  31. 8

    October 9th, 2008

    there are lots of way you can save money, on the news recently I saw a couple had collected lots of recycling material which they took to their local supermarket and in return they got points for them which they used to buy their honeymoon, and flew business class, now although they didn’t make money they did save themselves loads of money.

  32. 7

    September 29th, 2008

    I like how their bios say that they worked hard for what they have and are “frugal”. But instead of trying to give advice on working for what you have and cutting back on unnecessary spending, they advice their readers to live off others. What’s your next topic, the joys of hypocracy?

  33. 6

    September 29th, 2008

    Well, I don’t have time to address the entire list (although I suspect my comments are going to become quite lengthy), but let’s hit a few. Condiments: if you are in a financial position where you feel the need to steal ketchup, perhaps it would be a better idea to get over your petty “needs” and eat your burger without ketchup for a while. Library books: I can’t speak for every library in the world, but mine doesn’t charge to check out a book, so all I would really be doing is denying another person from reading that book (how about you donate the books you already own instead). WiFi: again, if you’re in a situation where you can’t afford some conveniences (and WiFi is about as far from a life necessity as you can get), maybe you should just go without for a while; plus, many public libraries offer Internet connections for free (maybe while you’re stealing books you can also check your email). Lost and Found: how many times can I point out that you’re talking about things that you don’t really need, not to mention the fact that someone might be 5 minutes behind you and looking for an item that is legitimately their’s because they were responsible enough to purchase it.

    I’ll stop there because many of the others are simply cruel or underhanded or actually blatantly illegal. I’m not sure if this post is supposed to be a joke. I hope so. I also hope that we can come to a time when people stop whining about not having things they don’t need (seriously, an iPod from a Lost and Found? If your situation is that dire, and you had your priorities were straight, you’d concentrate on paying bills instead of finding ways to still download new music over your stolen WiFi connection). It’s the “give me everything I want and give it to me now and I won’t take responsibility for actually having the funds available at this time” attitude that has created a society that now can’t afford itself.

    Stop complaining about what you don’t have (regardless of whether or not you need it) and what you can’t get for free, and start looking for ways to cut back. If you have a computer for posting (and, most likely a legal connection), then I’m guessing you have more than what you need to survive. So, instead of wandering down to your local theater to break in and waste 2 hours, take that time to go through your possesions and donate what you no longer use to people who actually need it. I’m sure someone out there would be happy to stay warm this winter in your old Banana Republic sweatshirts.

  34. 5

    September 19th, 2008

    You left out #21.

    Walk into a bank with an AK47 and kill everyone but the manager. After you force him at gunpoint to open the vault. Then proceed to take the money, rape him, then kill him. Illegal? Sure… but you COULD get away with it, meaning it can qualify for this list; and with gas prices today, who can afford NOT to rob a bank?

  35. 4

    September 19th, 2008

    I guess it’s a joke.Not funny.I really don’t like this article.

  36. 3

    September 19th, 2008

    No one in the UK should ever have to buy a pen. Bookmakers lose millions of their little pens everyday and never blink about it.

  37. 2

    September 19th, 2008

    I stopped reading at number two, for the very simple reason that stealing flowers from a cemetery is despicable. You may not hurt the dead, but you’re hurting the mourners immensely.
    You may consider the list a joke – I can’t tell – but people actually do it. Flowers have been stolen from my father’s grave a few times, and every time is horrible.
    I don’t think it’s funny, as it’s not a victimless crime, as some may think. It hurts people who are already hurting.

  38. 1

    September 19th, 2008

    I thought the point of the article was to list things that are legal? Why include the illegal stuff.

    Holding a door at the theater? Stealing library books? Siphoning neighbor’s gas? Stealing other people’s recycling? These will definitely get you arrested in my town.

    Downloading movies via P2P sites can get you arrested or sued. It’s happened to people I personally know.

Leave a Response