What do you call a person who spends extremely little money, and is careful in spending each and every dollar? Note, I'm not saying he has little money. He spends very, very little money, but he has lots more money than he spends. For example, he can easily afford to have a $25 dinner, but he never spends more than $8 for dinner. He can afford to buy a shirt for $30, but he has never bought a shirt for more than $10. What do you call this person? What are all the different words available? I'm looking for a word that's kind of insulting also. The word should also insult the person's behavior.

  • 3
    The first few words come to mind: frugal, thrifty, and perhaps economical. Mar 1, 2014 at 0:23
  • 2
    @DamkerngT. - Your suggestions were excellent, pre-edit. (Another great example of why it is so important to provide ample context and example usages in questions.)
    – J.R.
    Mar 1, 2014 at 11:23

3 Answers 3


There are quite a few words that can be insulting about someone who doesn't like to spend money.

A miser is

a mean grasping person; especially : one who is extremely stingy with money

"stingy" is also kind of insulting, as it describes someone who is "not generous",

not liking or wanting to give or spend money

A scrooge is someone who is a miser and stingy:

her father is a real scrooge and refuses to pay her way through college, even though he can easily afford it

This word comes from the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol - Ebenezer Scrooge is a rich but very mean man who makes his employees work long hours for little pay.

Here's a picture of someone in the role of Mr Scrooge:


A "tightwad" and a "cheapskate" are also people who don't like to spend money. These words are a bit less negative, though: the person may not like to share or help others, but they are not as mean as a miser or a scrooge.

"cheap" is another good word. It is also used for things of poor quality, so it suggests a person of low morals or class who is also stingy.

  • 2
    People can be stingy with things other than money. Affection, compliments, food, etc. I think stingy has a connotation of withholding something that's not difficult for you to give and is the opposite of generous. I think someone could be cheapskate, and not be stingy. Likewise, someone could be a spendthrift and still be stingy.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 5, 2015 at 19:56
  • Scrooge also has connotations related to Christmas itself (based on the Dickens character's attitudes towards the holiday). In some contexts, scrooge can mean humbug, or someone who lacks holiday cheer.
    – Era
    Apr 21, 2016 at 20:42
  • Exactly! That's what the OP was looking for.
    – Gurpreet
    Apr 22, 2016 at 7:43

If you mean this in a positive way, use Damkerng T's words: frugal, thrifty, economical.

If you mean it in a negative way, use nxx's words: miserly, cheap, cheapskate, tightwad.

There's also "niggardly", but this seems to be falling out of use due to its unfortunate coincidental resemblance to a well-known racial slur.

  • Yeah... that last one really isn't worth mentioning for exactly the reason you mention.
    – Catija
    Apr 21, 2016 at 20:51
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    @Catija It's a fine word to use as long as its used around at least moderately educated or well read people, though. It has absolutely nothing to do with the slur besides sharing a similar beginning phoneme in many dialects. You can read more about the issues with using it among the less educated at Wikipedia. May 30, 2017 at 6:12

A Skinflint or a penny-pincher would do.

  • I have never heard ''skinflint'' in my life. Sep 11, 2023 at 8:20

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