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To spend as little money as possible; to be especially frugal, especially with the aim of saving up for something bigger. Ever since we had our second child, we've had to pinch pennies to make sure they both get what they want for Christmas.
Be thrifty or miserly, as in There's no need to pinch pennies now that you're working full-time. This term was first recorded in 1942.
If someone pinches pennies, they try to spend as little money as possible. States and the federal government are pinching pennies everywhere they can and often cutting arts programs first. Markets are shrinking and customers are pinching pennies. Note: The verb penny pinch has a similar meaning but is more disapproving. Good, lasting floors are an essential in any house, so it does not pay to try and penny pinch. Note: Pennypinching is used as a noun and an adjective, and people who do this are called penny pinchers. He ordered a huge meal. This wasn't a moment for pennypinching. For penny pinchers, a nearby restaurant offers a version of the dish for $10.
pinch ˈpennies(informal) try to spend as little money as possible: We’ve been pinching pennies all year so that we can visit my relatives in Australia in December. ▶ ˈpenny-pinching adj.: penny-pinching governments ˈpenny-pinching noun ˈpenny-pincher noun
To be thrifty or miserly.
pinch pennies, to
To be miserly. To be a pinchpenny has meant to be a miser since about 1412, the word thus being almost as old as the modern English language. The verb form in the cliché is considerably newer but remains current. Elliott Paul used it in his Narrow Street (1942): “Monsieur Saul . . . complaining and pinching pennies as he made his purchases.”
See also: pinch