Definition: not generous; sparing or scant in using, giving, or spending
Causes: a frugal upbringing, lacking the basic necessities growing up, paranoia, distrust of others and their motives, a sense of entitlement, a lack of confidence in future events (the fear that some day, one will need every last penny), caring more for oneself than for anyone else, a desire to be financially responsible, a heart that is two sizes too small
Characters in Literature and Culture: Ebenezer Scrooge, the Grinch, Mr. Burns (the Simpsons)
Positives: Typically, Stingies have money. They may not give it to others, but they tend to not waste it on frugal spending, either. They are disciplined in the use of their money and determined to reach their budgetary goals.
Negatives: Stingies are, well, stingy. They don't give to charitable causes, to those less fortunate than them, or even to friends and loved ones who might really need a break. They can be smug and self-righteous, looking down on those in financial difficulties, assuming that their misfortune is their own fault. They lack compassion and empathy. Stingies may have trouble truly connecting with others due to the deep-seated reasons behind their tightfistedness. Their selfishness tends to make them unlikable, and they often end up alone.
Common Portrayals: business owners, factory foremen, the elderly, bankers, feudal landowners, eccentrics
Cliches to Avoid: the crackpot miser with money stuffed in his mattress and buried in the backyard, the skinflint boss who fleeces his employees, the gajillionaire who lives in squalor because he won't spend even a nickel on basic necessities
Twists on the Traditional Stingy:
- People are usually stingy due to basic greed. Instead, give your Stingy an empathetic reason to be the way he is.
- Stinginess is a negative, no doubt about it. What circumstances could you create in your world that would make stinginess a positive trait?
- Because it's such a bad trait, a stingy hero will usually be cured of it by the end of a novel. But what if being stingy is necessary to achieving the hero's goal? What if he has to hold onto it in order to succeed, or better yet, to save others?
Conflicting Characteristics to make your Stingy unique or more interesting: compassionate, kind, wasteful (in other areas), popular, friendly, helpful