I spotted apparent confusion over these two words twice in one day while editing through my queue of projects. Since the economy isn’t ideal and wallets are emptying quicker these days, it seems important to get these words right and to understand the subtle differences between skimp and scrimp.


Let’s first look at scrimp. This word has the idea of saving and being thrifty. You scrimp (get by on little) to save as much as you can to afford a goal down the road, perhaps a new car. This example is apropos to my life, as I recently scrimped and saved to buy a hybrid outright—lucky for me, I found one I liked right before gas prices soared.


And now let’s tackle skimp. Skimp is about spending less or using less, maybe even short-changing someone or giving the bare minimum in return for a service. Sometimes we even short-change ourselves and skimp on prioritizing time for rest and relaxation. this word generally has a more negative or foolish feeling to it, whereas scrimp tends to feel honorable and something to cheer on.

Here are some example sentences:

I scrimped and saved every penny I earned to be able to afford a tropical vacation. Kauai, here I come! You can sometimes skimp on ingredients, but when baking brownies, my advice is to use the best dark chocolate chips money can buy.