1no object To save money by making numerous small financial cuts or adjustments; to economize rigorously; to be mean, sparing, or parsimonious.
2with object To reduce any excess in (a salary, budget, etc.) by making numerous small financial cuts or adjustments, or by being mean or parsimonious.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine. From cheese + pare, after cheeseparing, cheeseparing.