My brother is such a _____________ – he got a night in a 4-star hotel in Paris for $112. He once got a cruise for half-price, with pudding cup lids.


5 Answers 5


The term that comes to mind is

penny pincher n. [One who is] extremely frugal in giving or spending money.

(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. S.v. "penny pincher." Retrieved April 9 2016 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/penny+pincher )

Your request for a "positive" word came after I'd made the 'penny pincher' answer, but doesn't invalidate it: 'penny pincher' is often used with a very positive sense, especially by people proudly describing themselves as such. Any word, of course, may be used with negative or pejorative force; words used negatively have negative connotations in a negative context of use.

I did overlook that you asked for a single word. 'Penny pincher' is often used in the closed (pennypincher) and hypenated (penny-pincher) forms: enter image description here

Most common of late, in the Google Books corpora, is the hyphenated form.

However, 'penny-pincher' aside, 'thrifty' and 'economical' suggest themselves:

thrifty, adj.
1. Practicing or marked by the practice of thrift; wisely economical.

(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. S.v. "thrifty." Retrieved April 9 2016 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/thrifty )

economical adj.
3. a. Characterized by or tending to economy in the use of resources; not wasteful, sparing; (of a person) saving, thrifty.

["economical, adj.". OED Online. March 2016. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/59385 (accessed April 09, 2016).]

While both 'thrifty' and 'economical' are adjectives, they work in your example sentence with a slight alteration:

My brother is so thrifty he got ....

The same alteration of your example sentence works for 'economical'. I favor 'thrifty' over 'economical' because 'thrifty' is a more thrifty word, and maybe because it rhymes with 'nifty'...maybe not.

However, neither 'thrifty' nor 'economical', nor other suggestions such as 'frugal' or 'sparing', carry the denotative force of 'extremely frugal, thrifty, economical' that is part of the definition of 'penny-pincher'. It is precisely that sense of extremity, perhaps, that leads some, particularly British ('penny-pincher' is a US colloquialism), speakers to feel that the word is only used pejoratively.

  • 2
    This has a pejorative connotation / denotation. Apr 9, 2016 at 15:25
  • @EdwinAshworth, "positive" was edited into the title after I made my answer....
    – JEL
    Apr 9, 2016 at 18:37
  • @EdwinAshworth, ...as you could see when you made your edits 7 minutes later. And it isn't always used negatively, as the variance between "extremely frugal" (Am. Her.) and "stingy" (Random House), as well as "niggardly" and "parsimonious" (OED Online: "A niggardly or parsimonious person") suggests. Nonetheless, if "positive" had been in the title when I made the answer, I might have qualified the answer with "often used in a negative sense".
    – JEL
    Apr 9, 2016 at 18:47
  • Even if that is so (and I don't remember it being), the original didn't ask for a word with a negative connotation, which 'penny pincher' has. Apr 9, 2016 at 18:49
  • 1
    Wow--you guys are way over my head, and amazing. Thanks for the suggestions, canny is good but thrifty is probably the word that works best for my brothers birthday card! My first time in this site has been very entertaining!
    – Mary K
    Apr 10, 2016 at 16:30

Consider bargain hunter.

She likes to hunt for bargains when she shops. - MW (From: Examples of BARGAIN in a sentence)

See also the show Bargain Hunters.


bargain-hound or frugal shopper.


Does it have to be a noun? If an adjective will do, canny or savvy

canny, defined by The Free Dictionary

Careful and shrewd, especially where one's own interests are concerned.

Cautious in spending money; frugal

canny from The Online Etymology Dictionary

1630s, Scottish and northern English formation from can in its sense of "know how to," + -y . "Knowing," hence, "careful."

"My brother is so canny -- he got a night in a 4-star hotel in Paris for $112...."


"My brother is so savvy -– he got a night in a 4-star hotel in Paris for $112..."

I've written the OP's sentence with a single word in the blank, but it would be more natural to say: "My brother is such a canny shopper...." or "My brother is so savvy about prices...."

Definition of savvy from The Free Dictionary

  1. Well informed and perceptive; shrewd: savvy Washington insiders.

  2. Knowledgeable or proficient. Often used in combination: tech-savvy; media-savvy.

The signature of a canny or savvy shopper (as opposed to, say, a cheapskate) is that they look not only at price, but at value, including the value of their own time. For example, the OP's brother might have rejected several hotels that were even less expensive because they were not within walking distance of the major sites and would have meant a lot of time spent in taxis or on Metro.

  • Canny as in We Canny Afford That.
    – Autistic
    Apr 10, 2016 at 0:24

Try comparison-shopper


: to shop for bargains by comparing the prices of competing brands or stores.


: to compare items while shopping in order to see which one is the best or has the lowest price.


Jo is a great comparison shopper and got the best price directly from the company.


My brother is such a [great] comparison-shopper– he got a night in a 4-star hotel in Paris for $112. He once got a cruise for half-price, with pudding cup lids.

Also, consider steal-seeker

From the small child passed out in a shopping cart to the uniform-clad spectators on a snack break, Mashable’s 12 Black Friday Hall-of-Famers will make you laugh out loud – and hopefully encourage you to stay inside where it’s warm and free of aggressive steal-seekers.

Rue Now


Slang A bargain.


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