Jenny: You know, since my brother started working at the bank, he’s become a real scrooge.
Tim: What do you mean? What’s a scrooge?
Jenny: It’s someone who hates spending money.
Tim: Oh! I think I’m a bit like that!
Jenny: I don’t think so! You’ve just spent eighty dollars on these two cups of coffee. My brother wouldn’t pay for anything that’s more than twenty dollars. Knowing him, he’d look at the prices and walk out of the cafe even if he’s dying of thirst.
Tim: That’s really mean. I’m sure you are exaggerating.
Jenny: Not at all. Leo has really changed after he started working at the bank.
Tim: Perhaps he’s just learned to appreciate the value of money and is being careful with his spending.
Jenny: It’s more than that. He’s always been frugal, unlike me. If I see something I want and I can afford it, I will buy it. Leo’s been good at watching the pennies and saving up since we were kids.
Tim: So why are you suddenly saying he’s a scrooge?
Jenny: It’s because shortly after he started working, he told us buying gifts was a waste of money and that no one would be getting a present from him from now on.
Tim: Perhaps he’s right on that one.
Jenny: He’s also stopped eating at restaurants. These days, he simply buys pre-packed food from convenience stores and sticks it in the microwave.
Tim: I’d never do that. I need a good dinner after a long day at work.
Jenny: He’s stopped eating lunch with his colleagues too, and no longer goes to his favourite sandwich shop. Just the other day, I saw him making a sandwich for his lunchbox. He even put in slices of leftover watermelon from dinner the night before.
Tim: That does sound a bit much. I can’t imagine not having my bento box for lunch every day.
Jenny: He also goes to the cheapest shops in town for clothes, and to that awful old place near the bus station to watch films because the tickets are much cheaper.
Tim: I remember that run-down cinema. It’s a dreadful place.
Jenny: Exactly! I wouldn’t go there even if the tickets were free.
Tim: What do you think happened to Leo? Is he saving up for something?
Jenny: Well … he wants to travel around America.
Tim: Oh wow! That won’t be cheap. Will he be on a working holiday?
Jenny: No. He just wants to visit all the 50 states.
Tim: Well, there’s your answer. He’s just being careful with his money now so he can save enough for his trip, and the only way to do so is to watch his spending. Don’t call him a scrooge!