Causes: having economical or penny-pinching parents, growing up in an environment of need, having a desire for efficiency, a fear of going without, a fear of what the future may hold
Characters in Literature: Marilla Cuthbert (Anne of Green Gables), Dicey Tillerman (Homecoming), Mrs. Weasley
Positives: Thrifties are not wasteful. They make the most of what they have. Their thriftiness in the area of money may cause them to be economical in other areas, too--with their time and materials, for example. When others are in need because they haven’t been careful with their resources, Thrifties usually don’t have to go without, and they may be in a position to help others or further themselves. Their penchant for saving rather than spending makes it easier to buckle down during difficult times.
Negatives: Because Thrifties are so used to saving, they often have trouble spending. Their compulsion save can turn them miserly or stingy. Other people may view Thrifties as tightfisted because of their self-discipline. On the other hand, Thrifties may look down on others as being wasteful or extravagant. They may view money, resources, or results as being more important than people, which could make it difficult for them to relate to others.
Common Portrayals: the elderly, accountants, bankers, single parents
Clichés to Avoid: the elderly woman with no bank account but thousands of dollars stuffed in mattresses and cookie jars around her house; the crotchety gajillionnaire who has scads of money but no joy and no one to share life with; the single mom that counts every penny and goes without so her children can have what they want (while this is a real and admirable character in the real world, it's has been done a lot in fiction; utilize with care)
Twists on the Traditional Thrifty:
- Thriftiness is a usually a characteristic that goes back to a person’s childhood or a specific event/time period. What about a wasteful person who must become thrifty in order to accomplish a certain goal?
- Thrifties are so often portrayed as stingy. Twist the cliché by making your Thrifty generous and unselfish.
- Make things difficult for your Thrifty by surrounding him with extravagant characters.
- Make thriftiness a negative trait in society--something your Thrifty has to overcome, rather than something to strive for.