Frugal, cheap, tightwad, miser, tightfisted, penny pincher. . .
We tend to use all of these words interchangeably to refer to people who are tight with their money, but there is a distinct difference.
The Definition of Cheap
Cheap has a negative connotation, as does tightwad, miser, and tightfisted, perhaps with good reason. If you look up the meaning of cheap, you’ll see it says, “giving or sharing as little as possible” (Merriam-Webster).
Scrooge in A Christmas Carol is the perfect example of someone who is cheap.
He does whatever he can to hoard as much money as possible and does not want to share with others. We’ve even coined a term for people who don’t want to share or aren’t charitable–scrooges–after the character in A Christmas Carol.
I had a friend in graduate school who, if he took a girl out to a dance club, would only take her when it was ladies’ night and the woman got in free. Then he expected his date to split his cost to get in! When he took a date out to eat, he only went during happy hour and would only order off the appetizer menu so he could get the food half price.