How Honesty Pays You Back

The truth may indeed set you free, but it can help improve you bottom line, too, in very real ways. From honesty with others to ‘fessing up and coming clean with yourself, here are just a few of the specific ways that owning up to the truth will not only leave your conscience clean but help you financially as well.

If things are tight and you can’t pay a bill, don’t hesitate to tell the truth. While creditors are admittedly not interested in your sob story, they are interested in customers who have integrity and are responsible, and that means being honest. Rather than trying to juggle your finances and risk falling farther and farther behind, call them up and explain the situation. Have you or your spouse recently lost your job? Have medical expenses practically buried you alive? Are rising expenses elsewhere eating up your budget? Practice what you’ll say in advance, take a deep breath and give them a call. You don’t have to give them your story in the form of a novel, but do be honest and humble. Many creditors, especially in this economic climate, are willing to extend terms or even set up budget payment plans that are sensitive to your current income and financial situation. But you certainly won’t know if such options are available unless you’re willing to be honest about your situation first.


Ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” and “Will I really use this?” Consider just how much money stopping to ask yourself these two little questions—and heeding the honest answer—could have saved you in the past. We’ve all done it—purchased items on impulse or with the good intentions to put something to use but having the item do nothing more than gather dust. Before you allow something to take up valuable real estate in your home, consider these two questions first. Never mind if you deserve it, can afford it or really just yearn for it. Consider if in a week, a month or even a year, you’d rather have the money instead. Answer yourself honestly. Chances are pretty good that if you do, you’ll be walking away from potential purchases a lot more often and stashing cash more easily, too.

If you don’t like something, speak up—politely, of course! It’s important to be polite, but lying isn’t polite, honesty is. If something is subpar, not up to your standards or in some way misses the mark, don’t be shy about speaking up about it. Most products in the grocery store come with money back guarantees. If you’re not happy with your purchase, return it for you money back or call the manufacturer directly. (Some products even boast double your money back if you’re unsatisfied!) If a meal at a restaurant isn’t everything you’d hoped it would be, don’t choke it down only to choke later on the bill. Talk to your wait person or ask to speak to a manager. They’ll likely appreciate the honest feedback, and volunteer to remedy the situation. At a movie and you can tell it’s not your thing within the first 15 minutes? Don’t force yourself to sit through it. Get out, find the manager and turn your ticket stub in for a refund. Most theaters will honor this request if it’s within the first 20 minutes or so of a film. Then, go and spend the money on a film you can (honestly) enjoy!

Photo credit: vip223

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

2 Responses to “How Honesty Pays You Back”

  1. Harold - CA@SPWCA |  Apr 25, 2012 at 7:31 am

    This is a great tip. It really helps to have other people hold you accountable. It also prepare your friends for other things, such as getting less expensive presents from you, or going to elss expensive restaurants with you when you go out.

  2. Marissa @ Braun & Gresham |  May 13, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I agree. Honesty is still the best policy. If you are not really financially capable anymore, then say so. You also owe it to the people or companies you owe from. They will admire you for your honesty and maybe become even lenient with you in regards to payment.