It’s all in the name, when it comes to describing a person who is careful with his or her money.
There are many ways to characterize such a person, and it can be interesting how there are different words that are essentially synonyms involving the same concept. Sometimes these words are used interchangeably, and many of us might think of different things when hearing each of these different words.
Just as a starting point, let’s begin with one word which often has a negative connotation: cheap. Again, in the context of describing others, is calling someone “cheap” considered a compliment?
- “My husband is so cheap, he only wants to eat dinner at places where he can use a coupon”
- “She’s so cheap, she sometimes regifts on birthdays”
- “My friend is so cheap, he always finds a way to get game tickets for half the price”
Maybe it’s a compliment, maybe it’s not. Depends on the context. But if we just say that someone is cheap without any detail or reasoning, what comes to mind?
Here is another word that serves as a synonym for cheap.
- “She’s so stingy she won’t buy a new phone right when her plan ends; she’ll keep using her phone for another 6 months without upgrading just to avoid spending money!”
Now, the word miser just makes a person sound like a crackpot.
- “He’s such a miser, that he keeps $200,000 in savings while he drives a 12-year old car that’s so outdated. He can’t even splurge for something he’ll use every day!”
This makes the person simply appear to be myopic, and focused on the small things and not the bigger picture.
- “She’s a total penny pincher; did you know that she’ll buy a no-name coffee brand instead of one the well-known ones, just to save 15 cents every day on her daily cup in the morning”
I don’t think one sounds as bad, perhaps making the person seem to be very mindful of spending less money and seeking value instead. Perhaps it makes the individual sound a bit boring?
- “He’s a really frugal guy. Instead of booking a room at a nice hotel for his vacation, he’ll wait to find a deal and then reserve a room in a more modest one. Doesn’t he see that we always get what we pay for?”
Okay, now that is not a word that will be commonly seen as a synonym for any of the aforementioned words. However, I think it’s the best way to characterize a person who is careful with money!
Don’t get sidetracked by any adjectives that can be used to describe you if you want to be mindful of how you spend your hard-earned money. When the other words come to mind, just remember that you’re being smart!
My Questions for You
What do you think about these words used to describe someone who’s careful with how he or she spends money?
Do you use them differently based on the circumstance, or interchangeably?
When it comes to your own money-saving habits, are you on board with proudly thinking “Smart” instead of the connotations with some of these other adjectives?