“Frugal as usual, he managed to find an engagement ring that was a fifth of its original price. But she didn’t mind; he always made it a point to find her nice things.”

Based on what’s shown above, what is the best definition of frugal?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Thrifty or careful about the way one spends money
Choice B - Stingy or tight money to the point of being cheap
Choice C - Miserly and seeking to keep all the money for one’s self
Choice D - Adept at searching the internet for rare treasures


Frugal (adjective) – cautious or sparing with money or other resources; or, costing little

Frugality (noun) – the state of being frugal

Frugally (adverb) – done with care to spend little money or resources

GRE pro tips:

On the GRE, you may find several words that relate to being “tight” with money; however, these words differ significantly in meaning or connotation (or, how positive or negative they are). In the case of frugal, the connotation is usually neutral, if not somewhat positive, as it means to be careful and sparing with money but not in a bad or greedy way. (Frugal comes from the Latin root frux meaning “fruit” or “value,” and it describes people who like to be careful with the fruits of their labor and smart with their spending.) Near synonymous words that may appear include thrifty, economical, or sparing. GRE words that mean “tight with money” but have more negative connotations — associated with greed and a lack of generosity — include miserly, stingy, and parsimonious.

Example sentences:

“In business, he was frugal, but at home he enjoyed spending money on his kids.”

“Frugality is especially wise when you’re living on student loans.”

“Always tight with money, he only treated his dates to very frugal meals.”