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Ten idioms about money that will enrich your spoken language.

Updated on March 3, 2016
Yanglish profile image

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Money and idioms

But first, let's learn/repeat what is an idiom?

Idiom: a group of words that means something different than the individual words it contains.

Pay attention to examples in order to understand the meaning of idioms.


What does it mean?
To bring money into the household to support a family.

Examples of usage
1. It’s romantic to marry someone you love, but when you set up your household, you’re going to have bills to pay. You should think about marrying someone who will help bring home the bacon.
2. George became ill and couldn’t work anymore, so his wife went back to work. Now she’s the one who brings home the bacon.

To buy something very cheaply. The expression suggests that one can buy something by just singing a song.

1. The man was desperate to get rid of his car, so I was able to buy it for a song.
2. Edward and Sandra found an antique painting in that shop, but the salesman didn’t know its true value. It must be worth a small fortune, and they bought it for a song.

An extremely small amount compared to the whole, usually much less than what is needed or wanted
1. One hundred and twenty dollars we have already collected is just a drop in the bucket.
2. What he paid me is only a drop in the bucket compared to what he owes me.

To have less money than one used to have, and less than one feels is necessary.

1. The government raised taxes so much that even the rich began to feel the pinch.
2. When we had to pay for the university education of all three of our children at the same time, we really felt the pinch.

Have absolutely no money.

1. I’d gladly loan you the money, but I can’t because I’m flat broke.
2. They lost all their money in the stock market crash, and now they’re flat broke.

To pay a great amount; to pay too much.

1. Jennifer wanted tickets to the concert so badly that she was willing to pay double for them. She paid through the nose, but she made it to the concert.
2. Peter‘s parents said he couldn’t go out until he finished his chores, so Peter promised to do his sister’s chores for a whole week if she would do his for a day. He had to pay through the nose, but it was worth it to him.

To find something of great value.

1. Robert went off to Alaska looking to hit pay dirt, but I don’t think he’s going to find what he wants. Everything worth finding has already been claimed.
2. The senator’s enemies started to investigate his past in the hopes of finding something scandalous. They hit pay dirt when they uncovered his driving record and found that he had been arrested for drunk driving.

To manage financially; to have enough money for one’s basic needs.

1. We can hardly pay the rent, buy enough food, and keep the children in clothing. We’re barely making ends meet.
2. William was unable to support his family on his teacher’s salary. He made ends meet by taking a second job.

Extra money; money to spend however one likes. The expression suggests that one has so much extra money that one can afford to burn it.

1. The company managers are taking us all out to an expensive restaurant for lunch. They must have money to burn!
2. I have to be careful how I spend my money. I don’t have money to burn.

To cost a great deal of money. The expression suggests that something costs all the money stored in a mint—a place where money is coined—or that something costs the same value as someone’s arm and leg.

1. I really wanted that painting, but it cost a mint, so I decided not to buy it.
2. Sending my son to that college will cost me an arm and a leg, but it will be worth it.

Use these idioms. Improve your English speaking skills.


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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      23 months ago from The Caribbean

      Two of these idioms are completely new to me. Thanks for introducing "buy for a song" and "hit pay dirt."

    • Yanglish profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago

      ValKaras - Thanks for nice words.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 

      2 years ago from Canada

      Yanglish - Since English is my second language, these idioms are certainly enriching my vocabulary. Let me tell you a funny story about my beginning life in Canada. Once I called a company from the public telephone about a job ad, and the person at the other end said :"Hang on, please". As I was not familiar with that compound expression, I HUNG UP, feeling like an idiot. To make it even worse, I redialed, in disbelief about the situation, and the same thing happened again. - I hope I gave you a little to laugh about, but at the time it was not funny at all.


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