Is there a word (or words) for a person who uses all resources to the maximum; for example, a person who keeps on using pencils even if they are very small?

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    perhaps "efficient". Be sure to PLUS and TICK useful answers, new user.
    – Fattie
    Aug 10, 2015 at 12:33
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    possible duplicate of Finding a better way to say "put to good use" Aug 10, 2015 at 15:10
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    Unwasteful comes to mind for the pencil example.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Aug 10, 2015 at 16:56
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    In my corner of the universe, we call that a "project manager."
    – cobaltduck
    Aug 10, 2015 at 17:51
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    I've no idea why, but seeing only the title of this question in the sidebar, the impression I got was a 'tragedy of the commons' situation, that it definitely concerned someone using others' resources to the maximum. Boy, was I surprised. Aug 12, 2015 at 3:44

16 Answers 16



characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources ~ Dictionary.com

By being frugal, he's able to make his box of pencils last a very long time.


avoiding waste or extravagance; thrifty: ~ Dictionary.com

He is economical by nature. He can make a box of pencils last a year.

  • 3
    I think Frugal tends to mean someone who doesn't use the resource in order to make it last longer - usually to save money. Thrifty is a better word for using the resource to best advantage, but there's not that much between them TBH.
    – gbjbaanb
    Aug 10, 2015 at 15:27
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    @gbjbaanb, Well, we don't know from the question why the person is motivated to maximize use of resources. Like you pointed out, if he's trying to save money by making the resource last longer, he's frugal. If he just doesn't want to be wasteful, maybe he's efficient. Or maybe he has a psychological disorder. We just don't know. But "frugal" seems to fit the question well IMHO. Aug 10, 2015 at 17:04
  • is there any differnce in the two words you propose?
    – Ooker
    Aug 11, 2015 at 6:38
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    @Ooker I think frugal has a more intense connotation, which can be either positive or negative depending on whether you view it as a desirable trait or as "too much". Aug 12, 2015 at 20:28


1. using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully.
he had been brought up to be thrifty and careful




I have one friend who's incredibly efficient. He extracts full value from everything; nothing goes to waste in his life. He won't even trash a pencil until it's too small to hold.

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    I'm not sure this totally fits. I would describe using a bare nub of a pencil over grabbing another more usable one to be inefficient. You'd have to qualify it further such as being efficient with respect to expenditure or consumption. Aug 12, 2015 at 20:30
  • @MatthewRead, he would be extracting full value from the pencil and not let any of it go to waste. Unless that costs him time or energy that he would otherwise save by grabbing another more usable pencil (which would have to be a pretty extreme scenario), I would say he's being efficient. Aug 12, 2015 at 20:40

I proffer, sparing:

  1. avoiding waste (vocab.com)
  2. not using or giving a lot of something (MW)

    • “a sparing father and a spending son”
    • “sparing in their use of pencils”

"Thrify", "frugal", and even "economical", while good answers to this question, unfortunately have come to carry negative connotations, in that they're often seen as euphemisms for "cheap", "stingy", or "miserly".

"Provident" is another antonym of "wasteful". It is defined by Merriam-Webster as "making provision for the future : prudent" and as "frugal, saving". It is not as commonly used as most of its synonyms, and perhaps for that very reason, does not bear the same negative connotations.

(Unless, of course, the questioner actually wants negative connotations, in which case I'd recommend "miserly".)

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    Joined this community just to upvote this answer. After reading the question, I really looked forward to an answer with positive connotation. "Provident" is the most fitting positive word, IMO.
    – kdbanman
    Aug 12, 2015 at 20:50
  • The question places no importance on "negativity" or the lack of it, so I see no benefit to making such a big deal out of it. Nevermind that I completely disagree and commonly see all of these supposedly negatively connoted words in neutral and positive contexts as well. This answer would do better to simply offer provident as an obscure option and leave it at that.
    – talrnu
    Aug 13, 2015 at 16:56

How about resourceful? As in "mark usually has all things electronic, he's quite resourceful that way."

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    A resourceful person finds solutions, they do not use resources to the full as required by the question.
    – Chenmunka
    Aug 10, 2015 at 17:49
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    @Chenmunka To put it another way, resourceful people identify resources in their environment that others might not recognize as resources at all. They then use those resources to find a solution to the problem at hand, where others would fail. But yes, it's not a good fit for the question. Aug 10, 2015 at 17:52
  • in los santos, a resourceful person is the one who steals cars.
    – Ejaz
    Aug 12, 2015 at 4:13

In the case of pencils, the is a device called a "miser" that allows one to use a pencil even when it is very small

  • "Miser" has too negative a connotation. I've seen students use the pencil right to the end, and some who comment when they observe me tossing one too soon just because the eraser is worn down. They think me wasteful. Aug 10, 2015 at 18:20
  • I just looked these up on America's favorite ecommerce site, where they're also called "pencil extenders" or "pencil lengtheners". Aug 10, 2015 at 19:51
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    this is not an answer to the question
    – amphibient
    Aug 11, 2015 at 18:49
  • @amphibient I presume the implication was that "miser" describes the person too. Aug 11, 2015 at 22:57

I would call that person an optimizer.

  • I like it, it ispirwd me to think of optimitron
    – jimjim
    Aug 13, 2015 at 0:30

Industrious indicates someone maximizes use of available resources. Thrifty indicates minimizes use of resources.

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    Google defines thrifty as: (of a person or their behavior) using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully. So not a minimization of resources but just not wasteful.
    – Mdev
    Aug 10, 2015 at 19:10
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    I consider industrious to mean more like productive than resource maximizing. Maximizing resources seems like it would would be a good achieve industriousness though.
    – Dan
    Aug 10, 2015 at 20:50

Have you considered the word "exploiter" as a synonym for a person who uses resources to the maximum? Exploiter does have a negative connotation, certainly. See the verb-form definitions here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exploiter. Also, the word "uses" is open to various interpretations. "Uses" can mean "consumes" or "exploits", perhaps, or am I far from the intended meaning of the question?

  • For what little it's worth, I'm with you! Although the pencil example might lead to some of the other answers given so far (but then again, imagine what such a person would expect from their graphite mines and miners), all other aspects of the question, including the question itself as stated in the question header, led me immediately to your good answer.
    – Papa Poule
    Aug 13, 2015 at 16:06

Also Economizer

Definition: a frugal person who limits spending and avoids waste, a person who reduces expenditure.



Tending to use or drain (exhaust) all resources.


If you are looking for a word with a negative connotation to describe this person you can try stingy or penurious, but obviously these are most often associated with being tight with funds.

Might still work though if you're describing this person's resourcefulness in a negative way.


Stubgrinder is an apropos eponym in this particular case.


Most terms I know for this refer to the economic/monetary context of the behavior, essentially equating it with "not spending": frugal, economical, thrifty, penny-pinching/er, tightwad, skinflint, cheapskate, pinchfist, cheese-paring/er1. I suppose that there may people who maximize their resource utilization for reasons other than to save money. Some possible such reasons, all unconcerned with saving money: 1. concern over depletion of the world's natural resources (ecology-minded/aware, resource-preserving); 2. a personal ethical stance towards consumption ("I shall drain the cup to the dregs"); 3. a form of obsessiveness (retentive); 4. a primary repugnance (or phobia) towards waste (waste-averse/phobic).

1 All the italicized terms in this list are generally considered both colloquial and derogatory.


the ultimate should be the utilizer or utilizitron.

e.g.: He is a utilizator, he utilizes the pen to its last drop.

  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post.
    – Dog Lover
    Aug 13, 2015 at 1:35
  • @DogLover : Why is this not an answer to the question? Since somebody is utilizing the hell out of things then "the utilizer" or "utilizator" should be acceptable.
    – jimjim
    Aug 13, 2015 at 8:31
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    Utilize means simply to use effectively, it doesn't imply the degree of utilization. The fact that your example must mention "to its last drop" to specify the degree of utilization is clear evidence of this. As for utilizitron... I do believe you made that word up. But it'd be a cool name for a robot.
    – talrnu
    Aug 13, 2015 at 17:01

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