WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2014
producing or resulting in profit or savings: an economical meal.
economical, thrifty, frugal imply careful and efficient use of money, supplies, or resources. economical implies careful and wise planning in the use of resources so as to avoid unnecessary waste or expense: It is economical to buy in large quantities. thrifty adds the idea of working hard to save and of managing successfully: She is a thrifty shopper and always looks for bargains. frugal suggests saving by denying oneself luxuries: He is so frugal that he never takes taxis but walks instead.