Someone who is economical avoids wasting things, like money or food. So if someone sees you wrapping up a bite of food that could be part of tomorrow's lunch, don't let him call you "cheap." Tell him you are economical.
The adjective economical often describes someone who is frugal with money, but the word can apply to those who avoid wasting resources of any kind. An economical speaker, for example, avoids wasting words and doesn’t talk any more than is absolutely necessary. Someone who is economical with his time gets things done efficiently, just as an economical dishwasher uses the precise amount of water and electricity.