(To) nickel and dime Cut a check Break even Pay the piper

150+ Idioms about Money and Finance

(To) nickel and dime Cut a check Break even Pay the piper

Idioms about Money and Finance - wordscoach.com
Cut your losses
Idioms about Money and Finance - wordscoach.com

Idioms about Money and Finance

Idioms about Money and Finance! The following article provides a useful list of idioms relating to Money and Finance in English with their meaning and examples.

List of 150+ Useful Money and Finance Idioms and Phrases in English

Take a beating

Meaning: suffer damage or hurt.
Example: A principle as old as ancient tribes and almost as remotely understood, diplomatic immunity is taking a beating this week.

Hit the jackpot

Meaning: to win a lot of money or have a big success
Example: The National Theatre hit the jackpot with its first musical, “Guys and Dolls”.

Put Your money where your mouth is

Meaning: take action to support one’s statements or opinions.
Example: You say you’re on the side of the workers; why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and support the strike?

Get a run for your money

Meaning: to give someone a run for their money
Example: He’ll give those professional players a run for their money.

On the money

Meaning: accurate; correct.
Example: The dollar has steadied after early losses on the money markets.

Bottom dollar

Meaning: last dollar
Example: He talks about it a lot, but I would bet my bottom dollar that he has never actually been there.

In the hole

Meaning: in debt.
Example: I was something like $16,000 in the hole already.

Beyond your means

Meaning: they are spending more money than they can afford.
Example: My family always lived beyond our means so my financial habits are not very good

Balance the books

Meaning: to make certain that the amount of money spent is not more than the amount of money received
Example: We had to take money from the savings account in order to balance the books.

Cost an arm and a leg

Meaning: be extremely expensive.
Example: I’d love to buy a Porsche, but they cost an arm and a leg.

Smart money

Meaning: money bet or invested by people with expert knowledge.
Example: The smart money is coming back into mortgages as the best investment now.

Make a killing

Meaning: to make a large profit quickly
Example: Investors are set to make a killing from the sell-off.

Ante up

Meaning: increase what is at stake or under discussion, especially in a conflict or dispute.
Example: Small firms that want to expand must ante up large legal fees.

Earn a living

Meaning: to earn the money needed for food, clothing, etc.
Example: The idea that one can earn a living away from the smoke, perhaps by tele-commuting, are popularised by journalists.

In kind

Meaning: in the same way; with something similar.
Example: After recent bombings, counter-terrorist forces could retaliate in kind.

Gravy train

Meaning: used to refer to a situation in which someone can make a lot of money for very little effort.
Example: Their gravy train ended when the government stopped funding the research project.

Shake them down

Meaning: use threats or search you physically in order to obtain something from you.
Example: People get pissed off when you shake them down.

Money is no object

Meaning: someone is not concerned about the price of things.
Example: Real Programmers never program COBOL, money is no object.

Hard up

Meaning: short of money.
Example: They’re not really as hard up as they say they are.

A light purse is a heavy curse

Meaning: Life is difficult when you don’t have much money.
Example: A light purse is a heavy curse.

Paycheck to paycheck

Meaning: all your money comes in and goes right back out again by the end of the month
Example: We are living paycheck to paycheck and have no money left over for savings.

Cash in your chips

Meaning: to sell something such as your investments, in order to raise money.
Example: Because his argument wasn’t convincing the committee, Tony decided to cash in his chips and go home.


Meaning: an idle, feckless, or disreputable person.
Example: The new law is aimed at deadbeat landlords who owe $22 million.

Soft money

Meaning: contributions made outside the limits and prohibitions of federal law.
Example: Restrictions on soft money have been endorsed by Sen.


Meaning: a store where businesses and other customers can pay cash for goods at low prices and take them away instead of having them delivered.
Example: Linked often enough, their various connections evoked images in the media of a conspiracy involving cash-and-carry favors.

Keep the wolf from the door

Meaning: have enough money to avert hunger or starvation (used hyperbolically).
Example: Their wages are barely enough to keep the wolf from the door.

Mint condition

Meaning: a state of being like new.
Example: Goods up for grabs include mint condition used kids clothes, books, toys and games, along with maternity clothes.

Cash cow

Meaning: a business, investment, or product that provides a steady income or profit.
Example: But the biggest cash cow is lower – undergraduate education.

Tidy sum of money

Meaning: a large number or amount or extent.
Example: My new house cost me a tidy sum of money.

Grease their palm

Meaning: bribe (someone).
Example: I greased the hostess’ palm to get a table without reservation.

Break the bank

Meaning: (in gambling) win more money than is held by the bank.
Example: Come on! One evening at the theatre won’t break the bank.

Pennies from heaven

Meaning: unexpected benefits, especially financial ones.
Example: You need more money but you can’t rely on pennies from heaven. You’ll just have to work harder.

Golden handshake

Meaning: a large sum of money given to an employee when they leave their job or given to persuade them to leave their job
Example: The directors will each get a large golden handshake and a pension.

Don’t take any wooden nickels

Meaning: Do not permit yourself to be cheated or duped; do not be naive.
Example: Pick up some flour and coffee while you’re in town and don’t take any wooden nickels.

Struggle to make ends meet

Meaning: to pay for the things that you need to live when you have little money.
Example: We had a hard time making ends meet.

Stinking rich

Meaning: extremely rich
Example: He’s stinking rich, and with no more talent than he ever had before.

Almighty dollar

Meaning: often used to satirize obsession with material wealth, or with capitalism in general.
Example: It wants to slowly dethrone the almighty dollar as the currency of choice in most global trade deals.

Not made of money

Meaning: someone does not have large amounts of money
Example: No you can’t have another bike – I’m not made of money!

Pony up

Meaning: to pay (a particular amount of money) for something
Example: All investors had to pony up a minimum of $5000.

A day late and a dollar short

Meaning: Too late and too feeble to achieve the desired effect
Example: As my mother used to say, Dash was a day late and a dollar short: Starr hadn’t cared about the lawfulness of his behavior for a long time.

In the red

Meaning: spending more money than you earn
Example: The temperature gauge on the Studebaker was back in the red, almost to 220 again.

Throw good money after bad

Meaning: To waste money in a fruitless attempt to recoup losses previously incurred
Example: That’s where you throw good money after bad, or as the government calls it, a stimulus package.

Have sticky fingers

Meaning: to be likely to steal
Example: The last person we hired in the shop turned out to have sticky fingers.

For peanuts

Meaning: a very small amount of money
Example: His discoveries included 300 uses for peanuts and 200 uses for sweet potatoes.

Buy someone off

Meaning: to give someone money so that person will help you or let you do something that is not legal
Example: They tried to buy the guard at the bank off but he told the police and the gang was arrested.

Heavy money

Meaning: A lot of money.
Example: Further down, he found a heavy money belt.

Caught short

Meaning: not having enough of something
Example: Mrs Hobbs was caught short when the newspaper boy came for his money a day early.

Live beyond your means

Meaning: to spend more money than you receive as income
Example: If that’s her only income, she appears to be living beyond her means.

Money talks

Meaning: wealth gives power and influence to those who possess it.
Example: Money talks, and poor working people are ignored.

A penny saved is a penny earned

Meaning: it is wise to save money
Example: A penny saved is a penny earned(or gained).

Blank check

Meaning: a signed cheque with the amount left for the payee to fill in
Example: The President was given a blank check by Congress to continue the war.

Get along on a shoestring

Meaning: you do it with a very small amount of money
Example: I wish I could go to your bachelorette party but I’m on a shoestring.

(To) nickel and dime

Meaning: greedily or unfairly charge (someone) many small amounts for minor services.
Example: The banks nickle and dime you to death with all the little fees they charge you.

Cut a check

Meaning: to write a check and give it to someone.
Example: When the damage assessor called, he cut a check for $139.

Break even

Meaning: reach a point in a business venture when the profits are equal to the costs.
Example: We’re hoping that we’ll at least break even, and perhaps make a small profit.

Pay the piper

Meaning: To pay a monetary or other debt or experience unfavorable consequences, especially when the payment or consequences are inevitable or a result of something one has enjoyed.
Example: At the end of the day, those who pay the piper must call the tune.

Have money to burn/burning a hole in your pocket

Meaning: you are very eager to spend it
Example: The day I got my allowance, I hurried down to the sporting goods store, the money burning a hole in my pocket.

Mad money

Meaning: A sum of money, often relatively small in amount, kept in reserve to use for impulsive, frivolous purposes
Example: Many speculator mad money during the decline of the stock market by fishing in troubled waters.

Keep our heads above water

Meaning: to just be able to manage, especially when you have financial difficulties
Example: I’m not sure how much longer we’ll be able to keep our heads above water.

Tighten your belt

Meaning: cut one’s expenditure; live more frugally.
Example: Clearly, if you are spending more than your income, you’ll need to tighten your belt.

Cook the books

Meaning: alter facts or figures dishonestly or illegally.
Example: Fudge the figures; cook the books; falsify the data.

Live from hand to mouth

Meaning: to have just enough money to live on and nothing extra
Example: These people live from hand to mouth on berries and roots.

Fork out/fork over

Meaning: to pay. to hand over or use up in payment
Example: I had to fork out for a cab home.

Shell out

Meaning: pay a specified amount of money, especially an amount that is resented as being excessive.
Example: If play improvements are only incremental, why shell out the cash to buy a 32-bit rig or an N64?

Chip in

Meaning: join or interrupt a conversation by making a remark.
Example: His grandfather would always chip in while we were talking.

Two sides of the same coin

Meaning: Two aspects of the same thing
Example: Snapshots and consumer imagery were fast becoming two sides of the same coin.

Penny pincher

Meaning: One who spends little money; one who is very frugal or cautious with money
Example: Tom is such penny pincher, and none likes to be with him.

Money grubber

Meaning: a person who cares too much about getting money
Example: They thought that doctors were lazy money-grubbers with time on their hands.

Rain check

Meaning: a ticket given for later use when a sporting fixture or other outdoor event is interrupted or postponed by rain.
Example: Mind if I take a rain check on that drink? I have to work late tonight.

Quick buck

Meaning: easily and quickly earned money
Example: The rule of the quick buck often clashes with the law of human dignity.

Fast buck

Meaning: easily and quickly earned money.
Example: I think people go out to make a fast buck without worrying about the consequences.

Spent a fortune

Meaning: an extremely large amount of money
Example: The estate already has spent a fortune litigating the matter.

Red cent

Meaning: the smallest amount of money.
Example: I wouldn’t give him one red cent for that car.

Dirt cheap

Meaning: extremely cheap.
Example: Such cheap goods obviously rely on dirt cheap labor.

Penny-wise and pound foolish

Meaning: Prudent and thrifty with small amounts of money, but wasteful with large amounts.
Example: If patient from examines blindly from the medicine, will often be penny-wise and pound foolish, will create inevitably “troublesome”.

Fool’s gold

Meaning: A mineral or other substance often mistaken for gold; mainly iron pyrite
Example: That investment seemed to be a good one, but I found out that it was fool’s gold when it crashed and burned.

Bet on the wrong horse

Meaning: Guess wrongly or misjudge a future outcome
Example: we obviously backed the wrong horse, or Counting on the price of IBM to rise sharply was betting on the wrong horse.

Worth its weight in gold

Meaning: emphasizing that they are so useful, helpful, or valuable that you feel you could not manage without them
Example: Your grandmother’s stories are worth their weight in gold

By check

Meaning: examine (something) in order to determine its accuracy, quality, or condition, or to detect the presence of something.
Example: Payment must be by check or money order.

Color of their money

Meaning: you are not prepared to sell them something or do something for them until they have proved that they have the money to pay for it.
Example: He never entered into conversation with a customer until he’d seen the colour of his money.

Float a loan

Meaning: to allow someone to borrow money from you
Example: I had to float a loan to pay for the medical expenses.


Meaning: a person who earns money to support their family, typically the sole one.
Example: There’s another kind of breadwinner – women on their own with no regrets.

As poor as a church mouse

Meaning: Very poor, to the point of starving or begging; utterly destitute.
Example: Paul: I wish I had more money. I’m as poor as a church mouse.

Have the penny drop

Meaning: used to indicate that someone has finally realized something
Example: I was about to ask Jack who it was, when the penny suddenly dropped.

Pretty penny

Meaning: A considerable amount of money; a high price or a high income.
Example: Renovating that house will cost you a pretty penny.

From rags to riches

Meaning: used to describe a person’s rise from a state of extreme poverty to one of great wealth.
Example: These he is at pains to hide in order to promote the fiction of his rise from rags to riches.

Live within your means

Meaning: you have enough money to cover all expenses.
Example: Live within your means and save for a rainy day.

Dime a dozen

Meaning: very common and of no particular value
Example: Novels like this one are a dime a dozen: write something original!


Meaning: to spend money
Example: Mr. Lee, a close-fisted man, never wants to donate anything for charity.

Chicken feed

Meaning: a ridiculously small sum of money.
Example: The sum was chicken feed, and the more governmental corruption that went on there, the better.

A fool and his money are soon parted

Meaning: a foolish person spends money carelessly and will soon be penniless.
Example: Mike likes living in style – but then a fool and his money are easily parted.

Feel the pinch

Meaning: experience hardship, especially financial.
Example: Local stores and businesses are beginning to feel the pinch from the economic crisis.

Monopoly money

Meaning: money regarded as having no real existence or value.
Example: In the romantically primed group, the men went wild with the Monopoly money.

I don’t have two nickels/pennies to rub together

Meaning: to have very little money.
Example: During college, when I didn’t have two pennies to rub together, I survived off of ramen noodles for months at a time.

Back on your feet

Meaning: to be healthy again after a period of illness
Example: I had a hard time getting back on my feet after I slipped on the ice.

Two cents

Meaning: an unsolicited opinion
Example: On the foreign exchanges the pound rose two cents against the dollar to $1.52.

Bang for your buck

Meaning: value for money.
Example: That restaurant is great, and the prices are very reasonable—you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Make a buck

Meaning: trying to earn some money
Example: The owners don’t want to overlook any opportunity to make a buck.

Get off scot-free

Meaning: to not get the punishment that is deserved
Example: When the offenders of the law get off scot-free and the undeserved get rewards, it goes without saying that the state is heading toward destruction.

He who pays the piper calls the tune

Meaning: the person who provides the money for something has the right to determine how it’s spent.
Example: At the end of the day, though, their company is paying for the study, and he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Lose money hand over fist

Meaning: you make or lose a lot of money very quickly
Example: Companies around the world are losing money hand over fist as oil prices continue to plummet.

Front money

Meaning: money that is paid in advance for a promised service or product.
Example: I put up a lot of front money and have nothing to show for it.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

Meaning: that something that one person considers to be of no value or useless may be valuable or useful to someone else.
Example: A: “I really don’t understand the appeal of Jackson Pollock paintings—they just look like splatters of paint to me!” B: “Eh, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Take the money and run

Meaning: To accept or be satisfied with what one has earned, achieved, or accumulated in some activity, endeavor, or arrangement and refrain from trying to improve the terms.
Example: I knew it wasn’t the best contract I could possibly get, but it would be easy enough to do, so I decided to take the money and run.

Give someone a run for their money

Meaning: To challenge one’s ability, fortitude, or patience.
Example: Don’t underestimate our opponents today – I think they’ll give us a run for our money.

Squirrel away

Meaning: To hide, reserve, or hoard something for future use. A noun or pronoun can be used between “squirrel” and “away.”
Example: The mortgage traders offset the losses with profits they had squirreled away for a rainy day.

Easy money

Meaning: money obtained by dubious means or for little work
Example: Making easy money has always been an attractive proposition.

Pour money down the drain

Meaning: spoiled or wasted
Example: I don’t know why you pour money down the drain on such useless things.

Free and clear

Meaning: without owing any money
Example: After paying on it for five years, I finally own my car free and clear!

Take It to the bank

Meaning: Something or an event will most definitely, securely, without a doubt, guaranteed will happen.
Example: I heard from a very reliable source that this company is about to close – you can take it to the bank.

Pass the hat

Meaning: collect contributions of money from a number of people for a specific purpose.
Example: We’re going to pass the hat round later, buy some beer and go back to their place.


Meaning: (of a person) without money, a job, or a place to live; destitute.
Example: A down-and-out writer sells his soul to the devil in exchange for fame and fortune.

Foot the bill

Meaning: pay the bill for something, typically when the amount is considered large or unreasonable.
Example: The program asks businesses to foot the bill for daily newspapers in the classroom.

Dime a dozen

Meaning: very common and of no particular value
Example: Metaphors of Britain’s decline have been a dime a dozen in the post-war years.

In for a penny, in for a pound

Meaning: used to say that a person should finish what he or she has started to do even though it may be difficult or expensive.
Example: We can’t turn in a half-finished report, so we need to stay up all night and get it done. In for a penny, as they say.


Meaning: a sudden forceful recoil.
Example: Most focus on illegal kickbacks on public works contracts.

Dollar for dollar

Meaning: Considering the amount of money something costs and its value.
Example: The state promised to match the counties dollar for dollar to pay for services including medication, psychotherapy and residential care.

Put in your 2 cents

Meaning: to offer one’s opinion or suggestion on a particular matter, usually in a casual or informal setting
Example: If I may put my two cents in, that hat doesn’t do you any favors

Throw money around

Meaning: to spend money in a foolish or careless way.
Example: He lost his job, but still seems to have plenty of money to throw around.

Other side of the coin

Meaning: a different way of considering a situation, making it seem either better or worse than it did originally
Example: I’d love to go out with you tonight, but, on the other side of the coin, I could use some extra sleep too.

Pinch pennies

Meaning: be careful about how much one spends.
Example: We decided not to pinch pennies with our upcoming party.

Head over heels in debt

Meaning: Having amassed a large amount of debt.
Example: After I graduated from law school, I found myself head over heels in debt.

Going rate

Meaning: The current standard or usual price, rate, or salary for something
Example: The going rate for freelance work is 5 an hour.

Stone broke

Meaning: entirely without money.
Example: The stone broke the surface of the water.

Nickel and dime

Meaning: greedily or unfairly charge (someone) many small amounts for minor services.
Example: The banks nickle and dime you to death with all the little fees they charge you.

Cash in

Meaning: take advantage of or exploit a situation.
Example: Investors were storing up a lot of cash in anticipation of disaster.

Turn up like a bad penny

Meaning: to appear again in a place where you are not welcome or wanted.
Example: I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of your conniving cousin – he always manages to turn up like a bad penny.

Flat broke

Meaning: not having any money at all
Example: Mary recalls how they were flat broke and almost living hand to mouth.

At the drop of a dime

Meaning: they will do it instantly, without hesitation.
Example: You speak as if you have such talented people at the drop of a dime.

Control the purse strings

Meaning: to make the decisions about how money is spent.
Example: Women control the purse strings of most families.

Go broke/go bust

Meaning: to spend or lose all of one’s money
Example: The company’s about to go broke, or The producer of that movie went bust.

Worth your salt

Meaning: good or competent at the job or profession specified.
Example: Any coach worth his salt would do exactly as I did.

To take at face value

Meaning: to accept something as it appears to be rather than studying it more closely
Example: I took the offer at face value.

Not for love nor money

Meaning: it is impossible to get it or to persuade them to do it
Example: You can’t get hold of those tickets for love nor money these days.

Pass the buck

Meaning: shift the responsibility for something to someone else
Example: I don’t think I can trust Fred with demanding tasks. He’s always trying to pass the buck.

Clean up

Meaning: make someone or something clean or neat.
Example: We’ll go out as soon as I’ve cleaned up the kitchen.

At a premium

Meaning: above the usual or nominal price.
Example: Good student accommodation is at a premium.

Go dutch

Meaning: share the cost of something, especially a meal, equally.
Example: She always insists on going Dutch when they go out together.

Daylight robbery

Meaning: blatant and unfair overcharging.
Example: Three pounds for two sandwiches? It’s daylight robbery!

Pick up the tab/check

Meaning: to pay a bill (such as for a meal or drinks at a bar)
Example: The company picked up the entire tab for my trip.

As sound as a dollar

Meaning: Very secure and dependable
Example: They’re trying to convince me that this investment is as sound as a dollar, but I have my doubts.

You Can Take It to the Bank

Meaning: Something or an event will most definitely, securely, without a doubt, guaranteed will happen.
Example: I heard from a very reliable source that this company is about to close – you can take it to the bank.


Meaning: a person who is unwilling to spend money
Example: Don’t be such a cheapskate – it’s your turn to buy lunch.

Crunch the Numbers

Meaning: to process numbers
Example: Professors Wilkinson and Pickett crunch the numbers and show that the same relationship holds true for a range of social problems.

Big bucks

Meaning: large amounts of money.
Example: Sports stars earn big bucks for pushing everything from shoes to soft drinks.

Cash in on

Meaning: take advantage of or exploit a situation.
Example: The record company was trying to cash in on her fame by releasing early teenage recordings.

Jack up the price

Meaning: To raise, increase, or accelerate; often said of prices, fees, or rates.
Example: Companies bid low to get the first contract, assuming they can jack up the price later.

Square accounts

Meaning: to make certain that you have paid and received all the money that you owed or that others owed you
Example: I should manage to square accounts with bank before the end of this month.

Heads or tales

Meaning: this side or that side. often used in plural in tossing a coin to decide a choice, question, or stake
Example: Heads or tails refers to the two sides of a coin

Bread and butter

Meaning: a person’s livelihood or main source of income.
Example: The mobile phone business was actually his bread and butter.

Strike gold

Meaning: discover gold during the course of drilling or mining.
Example: She is the favourite to strike gold in the 400 metres hurdles.

Pay top dollar

Meaning: to pay a lot of money for something
Example: People will always pay top dollar for something exclusive.

Pay your own way

Meaning: to pay for yourself rather than allowing someone else to pay. Paying money
Example: I appreciate the offer to help with my tuition, but I can pay my own way!

Cut off

Meaning: remove something using a sharp implement.
Example: There is always something to be cut off young trees if they are to grow well.

Strike it rich

Meaning: acquire a great deal of money, typically in a sudden or unexpected way.
Example: Small companies strike it rich by going public on the stock exchange.

Get Your money’s worth

Meaning: to receive good value for something you have paid for
Example: We certainly didn’t get our money’s worth out of that toy – it broke in a day!

Take them to the cleaners

Meaning: take all someone’s money or possessions in a dishonest or unfair way.
Example: The con man made a living taking people to the cleaners with his scams.

Pay a king’s ransom/pay an arm and a leg

Meaning: a lot of money
Example: These shoes cost me an arm and a leg.

Ill-gotten gains

Meaning: things that someone has obtained in a dishonest or illegal way.
Example: Her husband’s in the mob, so I bet her jewelry’s all ill-gotten gains.

Pay through the nose

Meaning: pay much more than a fair price.
Example: You can get pretty good meals on airplanes these days, but you’re going to pay through the nose.

As phony as a $3 bill

Meaning: Extremely phony; fake; dishonest; completely bogus.
Example: The course claims to teach you how to get rich in a hurry, but I can tell it’s as phony as a three-dollar bill.

Rake in the money

Meaning: to earn or get a large amount of money
Example: And don’t they rake in the money too?

Sock away

Meaning: to put away (money) as savings or investment.
Example: Don’t just sock away this money under your mattress; put it in a high-interest online savings account, a certificate of deposit or a money market account.

Take up a collection

Meaning: To request and receive money or goods of value from members of a group, especially for a charitable purpose.
Example: Freeman wants the churches, temples and mosques in the county to take up a collection Sunday for the bank.

Money is the root of all evil

Meaning: avarice gives rise to selfish or wicked actions.
Example: The promise of wealth is what eventually led him to murder his own brother.

In the black

Meaning: it contains some money
Example: The man in the black overcoat shot a penetrating look at the other man.

Out-of-pocket expenses

Meaning: having lost money in a transaction.
Example: when operating a vehicle, gasoline, parking fees and tolls are considered out-of-pocket expenses for a trip.

Burn a hole in your pocket

Meaning: (of money) tempt someone to spend it quickly and extravagantly.
Example: The day I got my allowance, I hurried down to the sporting goods store, the money burning a hole in my pocket.

Strapped for cash

Meaning: not having enough money
Example: Corporate owners often find themselves strapped for cash to pay taxes.

Throw money at

Meaning: try to solve (a problem) by recklessly spending money on it, without due consideration of what is required.
Example: The Australian government’s answer to the problem has been to throw money at it.

Cut your losses

Meaning: abandon an enterprise or course of action that is clearly going to be unprofitable or unsuccessful before one suffers more loss or harm.
Example: Usually the wisest thing to do is to cut your losses early on.

Nest egg

Meaning: a sum of money saved for the future.
Example: They have a little nest egg tucked away somewhere for a rainy day.

Make ends meet

Meaning: earn just enough money to live on.
Example: I find it impossible to make ends meet on my small salary.

All that glitters is not gold

Meaning: the attractive external appearance of something is not a reliable indication of its true nature.
Example: I don’t know if that necklace from the flea market will have the resale value you’re anticipating. All that glitters is not gold, you know.

Spend a penny

Meaning: used euphemistically to refer to a need to urinate.
Example: My father said not to spend a penny more than I need.

Below par

Meaning: worse than is usual or expected.
Example: Teaching in some subjects has been well below par.

Cold hard cash

Meaning: Money, regarded as an incentive that can override any doubts or ethical concerns.
Example: An increasing number of brides and grooms want cold hard cash as presents, wedding – industry insiders say.

Hush money

Meaning: money paid to someone to prevent them from disclosing embarrassing or discreditable information.
Example: The crooks paid Fred hush money to keep their whereabouts secret.


Meaning: offering goods at reduced prices.
Example: The bulk of its revenues comes from selling cut-rate subscriptions to first-time subscribers.

Up the ante

Meaning: increase what is at stake or under discussion, especially in a conflict or dispute.
Example: The owners are constantly carping about runaway salaries, then fall over themselves to jump the gun and up the ante.

Cost a pretty penny

Meaning: to be very expensive
Example: That house must have cost a pretty penny.

Rolling in money

Meaning: be very rich.
Example: He’s rolling in money! Well, he’s got a lot more than me, anyway.

Money doesn’t grow on trees

Meaning: saying. said to warn someone to be careful how much money they spend, because there is only a limited amount
Example: I can’t believe you would spend your entire allowance on a silly video game. Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know!

Dollars for doughnuts

Meaning: something is very likely or almost certain to happen. It implies that one would be willing to bet real money (dollars) on something that seems very probable or predictable, even if the potential payout is small (doughnuts).
Example: Dollars to donuts it rains tomorrow!

On the house

Meaning: (of a drink or meal in a bar or restaurant) at the management’s expense; free.
Example: I’m so sorry that you have had such an unenjoyable evening. Please accept this bottle of wine on the house as an apology.

Feel like a million dollars/bucks

Meaning: to look or feel extremely good, often because you are wearing something that costs a lot of money
Example: You look like a million dollars in that dress, honey!

Time is money

Meaning: time is a valuable resource, therefore it’s better to do things as quickly as possible.
Example: It is often said that time is money, but it is seen as cost and not value.

Sitting on a goldmine

Meaning: to own something very valuable, especially without realizing it
Example: With this new invention, we’re sitting on a goldmine.

It’s a steal

Meaning: it’s a bargain – so cheap that it’s almost as if you haven’t paid anything for it.
Example: This designer dress was a steal—you wouldn’t believe how little I paid for it.

Banner Year

Meaning: An especially good year; a year of exceptional production.
Example: Realtors are pinning their hopes for another banner year on low mortgage rates.

Have the midas touch

Meaning: financially successful in everything they do
Example: Many people think it would be nice to have the Midas touch.

Nest Egg

Meaning: a sum of money saved for the future.
Example: They have a little nest egg tucked away somewhere for a rainy day.

Pay up

Meaning: pay a debt in full.
Example: They are willing to pay up to $500 more for cars that get better mileage.

Cash in the barrelhead

Meaning: Money in the form of paper currency or coins, paid immediately at the time and place of a transaction
Example: I’ll give you $50 for that bike, cash on the barrelhead.

Bring home the bacon

Meaning: supply material support.
Example: Earn a living, provide the necessities of life, as in Now that she had a job, Patricia could bring home the bacon.


Meaning: weighted or biased towards a particular outcome.
Example: The poor woman was loaded down with family responsibilities.

Play the market

Meaning: to actively buy and sell stocks in the hope of making a profit
Example: Investors are currently reluctant to play the market.

Make an honest buck

Meaning: someone who makes money in an honest, legal way
Example: After 10 years working for the mob, Jeremy was ready to finally start making an honest buck.

At all costs

Meaning: regardless of the price to be paid or the effort needed.
Example: Please, save my husband at all costs—I can’t live without him!

Penny for your thoughts

Meaning: used to ask someone what they are thinking about.
Example: You’ve been awfully quiet tonight, honey – a penny for your thoughts?

Bet your bottom dollar

Meaning: To be absolutely sure of something; to be certain enough of something to wager everything.
Example: I lost my umbrella, so you can bet your bottom dollar on it raining tomorrow!

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