13 Common Idioms about Money and Finance

1. A penny saved is a penny earned
  • Advice saying that it’s good to save money. When money is saved, it is as good as money that is earned.

She runs her own business and does all the work herself because she believes that a penny saved is a penny earned.

When I travel, I prefer to stay at a hostel instead of an expensive hotel because I think that a penny saved is a penny earned.

John doesn’t make a lot of money, so he’s very cautious in using his money. He supposes that a penny saved is a penny earned.

2. Beyond one's means
  • To spend more money than you can afford.

The trip was just beyond our means.

The living expenses in big cities are beyond my means, so I’d rather live in the suburbs.

Can I see a cheaper one, please? This expensive fridge is just beyond my means.

3. Someone's bread and butter
  • Someone’s basic income, someone’s livelihood, a job or activity that helps you earn money for your living

His family’s bread and butter comes from his small business.

Tutoring is her bread and butter right now.

I am financially dependent on my parents but I am going to earn my bread and butter after I graduate.

4. Cut one's losses
  • To stop doing an activity that causes losses or damage, to withdraw from a bad situation before it gets worse.

They decided to stop the unprofitable project to cut their losses.

To cut our losses, we must be cautious in dealing with this financial issue.

A real finance manager must know how to cut our losses in case our business doesn’t work out.

5. Down-and-out
  • (adj) having no money, no job and no home
    (n) a person who has no money, no job and no home

She left him when he was down-and-out.

That old man is a down-and-out, coming over twice a week to take the leftover food.

After the bankruptcy, he became a down-and-out.

6. Dutch treat
Go Dutch
  • Dutch treat: a situation or a meal in which each person pays for himself or herself
    Go Dutch: to pay one’s own share instead of for the whole meal

It was our first date and we had a Dutch treat dinner together.

Why don’t we go Dutch? Sharing is always good.

Let’s go Dutch today. I’ll pay for my order.

7. Money talks.
  • Money is so powerful, it can get things done or help a person get his or her own way.

That she won the beauty pageant is understandable. Money talks.

Who doesn’t think that he will be promoted? His dad is a millionaire and money talks.

Don’t worry. I can handle this scandal. I’ll see Mr. George, the chief editor of the newspaper, as money talks.

8. Bring home the bacon
  • To go out to work and earn money for the family, to succeed and achieve what you want.

In my family, my dad is the one who brings home the bacon while my mom stays at home and takes care of us.

Finally, I got a job after two years of unemployment. I can bring home the bacon now.

We work so hard on this YouTube series because we hope that it will bring home the bacon.

9. At all costs
  • You use this to say that you’re determined to achieve what you want, no matter how hard or dangerous it is. Nothing or no one can prevent you from achieving your goal.

I’ll be the winner at all costs.

The director asked the finance staff to prevent the losses at all costs.

I’ll win her heart at all costs.

10. Earn a living
  • To earn money to pay for food, housing, clothing, etc.

She’s financially independent. She can earn her own living.

I have to work very hard to earn my living.

Earning a living seems hard for single moms.

11. Money doesn't grow on trees.
  • Be careful about spending money because it’s very hard to earn.

I wanted to have a new car but then I changed my mind because my old car was still in good condition. My mom always reminds me that money doesn’t grow on trees.

I can’t believe that you would spend your full salary on this silly tour. Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know!

Parents must teach their kids that money doesn’t grow on trees.

12. Pour money down the drain
  • To waste money, to spend money incautiously.

This second-hand fridge isn’t working well. Buying it is just pouring money down the drain.

You’re pouring money down the drain. What a waste! We never use cookers in our home. We never cook.

Don’t pour money down the drain by buying that low-quality computer. It’s going to break soon.

13. Born with a silver spoon in your mouth
  • Be born into a very rich family, be rich from birth.

He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, so he has never known what hard work is.

Those who were born with a silver spoon in their mouth need to learn how to use money economically.

Although she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she lives a very modest life.

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