It was the moment I had dreaded all evening. It had been a debauched evening in Islington. Lebanese food washed down with flagons of ale were the celebratory medium of choice as we bade farewell to a London friend. I could see ‘him’ getting his pennies out in anticipation just after the group alpha male had made the universal signal that it was bill time by writing his signature in thin air as the waiter glanced over. Between 10 of us the bill came to £286. Nine of us unanimously agreed to place £30 in the silver tray which had, a few seconds previously, been laden with Bendicks finest mint chocolates. Jamie, however, had other ideas. He had worked out that his ‘share’ of the bill came to £27.99. He proceeded, as if by magic, to empty his left pocket as the exact amount of change was placed on the tray. No one said anything but we all thought as one. I glanced at Jamie and there was not a flicker of emotion or sign of guilt at having penny pinched his way to put a small slant on the evening's outcome.

I defriended him shortly after. He was renowned for coming to the pub and not buying a round. His technique was to out silence everyone when the question arose as to whose round it was. If there were three of us, we would drink two pints and then, regular as clockwork, Jamie would state he had had enough and slope off. He would even do this in the college bar when it was £1-a-pint night. Despite this, he was charming and extremely popular for the first few weeks that someone new knew him. After that, the penny dropped, as was he.

What killed our relationship was the prolonged tightness, which I could let pass, coupled with what he did next. I asked him if he had any plans for the summer. Expecting him to backpack hobo style across the south coast, stopping at Lidl’s and Poundland should he require nourishment, his answer appalled me: "I’ve been saving up and I’m off to China for a month". I let this sink in for a few minutes. "You're off where? Did you say China, or Chinatown?" He proceeded to take me through his itinerary of five-star hotels and transfers, including walking the Great Wall. "But…you're always skint?" I protested. "No, I am just careful."

Frugality, carefulness and suchlike are all well and good if you are genuinely less than gilded financially. Jamie, and many others like him, continue through life with this appalling attitude to the cause. I had a colleague a while ago who, despite being single for years, had met a lovely girl in Birmingham. He was extremely fond of her and the feeling was mutual. Right at the peak of their lovefest he threw me by telling me he was "going to call it a day". He went on: "She lives in Birmingham and I’m not going to do £20 on petrol each time I go up to see her. I’m not made of money." Despite his protestations he was. He owned a few properties, had a good job and had received a vast inheritance. Like notorious slum landlord Nicholas van Hoogstraten who, despite being worth £500 million, used to hang used tea bags out to dry so he could reuse them, this penny pinching behaviour is reprehensible and leaves me feeling fury as I look at Chinese holiday snaps on social media.

I choose to remain skint but respected. It is a matter of honour to pay your way in company and when surrounded by penny pinchers I tend to mimic their behaviour, which is alien and unenjoyable. I’m not too sure what happened to Jamie. The last I heard he fell out of a hotel room window in Beijing after chasing a moth around which refused to get back in his wallet.