04 Feb

Written by Kathryn Vercillo on February 4, 2010

We all know more or less what frugal means. It basically means living a life which involves spending less money than before. Of course, a frugal life involves so much more than that. That’s because there are so many different frugal philosophies that people live by. Frugal means different things to different people. Some of the words that people use interchangeably with being frugal are negative words that mean something a little bit different, usually referring to a level of frugal that has been taken to the extreme. Other words serve to better define the positive aspects of frugality. For that reason it’s important that we learn other words by which to describe our frugal choices. Knowing the right language can help us choose the terms that best fit our money-saving ways.

Here are 40 synonyms for frugality that might be more accurate to use next time you’re defining your lifestyle and choices:

  1. Money-Saving. This is the most descriptive way of phrasing the basic goal of being frugal.
  2. Thrifty. This hints at the creativity that is required to be frugal without sacrificing too much.
  3. Cheap. This word used to have negative connotations but these days we think of it as a positive thing.
  4. Not costly. Something doesn’t have to be totally cheap to be not costly. Both are frugal.
  5. Inexpensive. This is a term that people frequently use to explain a frugal purchase.
  6. Conservative. People who are conservative with their money tend to buy only the necessities.
  7. Economical. If you avoid wasting your money then you are being economical.
  8. Practicing economy. Usually economy isn’t used to describe a way of life but if you say that you’re practicing economy then you are saying that you’re being economical or frugal.
  9. Practicing restraint. Choosing to restrain yourself from purchasing unnecessary items is being frugal.
  10. Spartan. Someone who chooses to live in a rigidly simple way.
  11. Austere. This word is often used interchangeably with Spartan.
  12. Scotch. This is a rarely-used offensive term for frugal people used by those who look down on frugality for one reason or another.
  13. Abstemious. This refers to abstaining from all but the necessities in life; this tends to be an extreme form of frugality.
  14. Sparing. Someone who chooses to live with less is often described as sparing.
  15. Discreet. This refers to being judicious which means making careful choices about spending money.
  16. Meticulous. This word is used in the same way that discreet is used when referring to money. Every penny is watched.
  17. Temperate. A temperate person makes moderate choices and therefore lives frugally rather than wastefully.
  18. Forehandedness. This term isn’t used very often but it’s a nice colorful description of frugality.
  19. Non-indulgent. Someone who chooses to be non-indulgent is generally going to be frugal.
  20. Meager. This tends to mean lacking and is therefore a negative version of frugality.
  21. Stingy. This is an extreme and negative form of not spending/giving money. When frugality is taken to the negative extreme it can lead to this.
  22. Mingy. Another word for stingy.
  23. Niggardly. Another word for stingy or mingy.
  24. Parsimonious. This tends to also be negative although is not as extreme as being stingy or niggardly. People who are very frugal may be parsimonious without the negative connotations.
  25. Cheeseparing. An interesting little synonym that basically means that you’re super cautious about giving or spending your money. It may be negative now but wouldn’t this be a fun one to take back and make a positive word?!
  26. Penny-wise. This term refers to someone who is very good at getting a great deal on things.
  27. Penny-pinching. This is the negative term for someone who is excessively cheap.
  28. Closefisted. This one is interchangeable with being penny-pinching.
  29. Preserving. People who are preserving tend to be careful about not wasting their resources.
  30. Provident. People who are provident are planning for the future. They treat their finances accordingly.
  31. Unwasteful. This is the core of what being frugal is all about.
  32. Living without waste. This might be a better way of saying the same thing as unwasteful.
  33. Saving. Sometimes saving is all that someone is trying to do when being frugal.
  34. Scrimp. An extreme form of saving, making do with as little as possible
  35. Stretch out. To make money go further, a means of being frugal.
  36. Cost-effective. If something is cost-effective then it may not be the cheapest option but the one that you get the most for your money with. Frugal people care about this.
  37. Efficient. This is similar to being cost-effective.
  38. Watchful of funds. This descriptive phrase is sometimes used to describe frugality.
  39. Simplicity. Simple living and frugal living are often one and the same.
  40. Practical. Many people say that living frugally is just being practical.
Which word most accurately describes how you see being frugal? Is frugal the best word after all?

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One Comment

  1. 1

    Shelby Nadine
    March 15th, 2012

    The key of economic is usually to know something that who else knows.
    Simply because something doesn’t do everything you planned it to accomplish does not imply it’s useless.

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