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20 Useful Money Idioms with Meaning and Examples

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Money idioms are an essential part of the English language. They are commonly used in daily conversations and can be found in literature, movies, and music. As an English learner, it is crucial to understand the meaning and usage of these idioms to communicate effectively. In this article, we will explore some of the most common money idioms and their meanings.

Common Money Idioms

In this section, we will cover some of the most common money idioms that you might come across in English conversations. These idioms are used to express various financial situations and can help you sound more like a native speaker.

All that glitters is not gold

  • Meaning: This phrase means that appearances can be misleading and that everything that looks priceless doesn’t have to be.
  • Example: I bought the expensive looking watch but it stopped working after a week. I realized that all that glitters is not gold.

Blank cheque

  • Meaning: To leave a cheque blank is to allocate unlimited funds to a project or a person.
  • Example: I was told that the project had to be successful and I would be given a blank cheque for the same.

Dime a dozen

  • Meaning: This phrase is used to refer to something that is very easy to procure and thus is of little value.
  • Example: Don’t bother with these, they’re available dime a dozen.

Idioms Related to Money

money idioms

Easy money

  • Meaning: The phrase is used to refer to money that can be earned without much effort.
  • Example: The task was simple and got him easy money.

Feel like a million bucks

  • Meaning: The phrase is used to refer to a feeling of immense happiness.
  • Example: Now that I’m married, I feel like a million bucks.

Give somebody a run for their money

  • Meaning: This phrase is used for someone who is better than a professional in a particular sphere.
  • Example: Tom may not be well known but he can give most professional singers a run for their money.

Go broke

  • Meaning: This phrase is used to refer to a condition where someone loses all their money.
  • Example: John spent all the money last night and now he’s broke.

Make ends meet

  • Meaning: This phrase is used to refer to a situation where there is not enough or just enough money for daily expenses and needs.
  • Example: I was unable to make ends meet with my meager income.

Not worth a cent

  • Meaning: This phrase is used to refer to an object that is worth nothing, not even a cent which is an exceedingly small amount of money.
  • Example: Don’t buy this house, it isn’t worth a cent.

Worth your salt

  • Meaning: This phrase is used when something is worth the amount it costs.
  • Example: Buy this car; it’s worth your salt.

Cost an arm and a leg

  • Meaning: This idiom is used to describe something that is very expensive. It means that the cost of something is so high that it feels like it is taking away a part of your body.
  • For example: “The new car I bought cost me an arm and a leg.”

Break the bank

  • Meaning: This idiom is used to describe spending a lot of money, especially more than you can afford. It means that you have spent so much money that you have “broken the bank.”
  • For example: “I can’t go on vacation this year because buying a new car really broke the bank.”

Penny-pinching

  • Meaning: This idiom is used to describe someone who is very careful with their money and doesn’t like to spend it unnecessarily. It means that someone is trying to save every penny they can.
  • For example: “My grandfather is always penny-pinching. He never spends money on anything he doesn’t need.”

Cash cow

  • Meaning: This idiom is used to describe something that generates a lot of money or income. It means that something is a reliable source of money.
  • For example: “The new product we launched has become a cash cow for the company.”
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In the red

  • Meaning: This idiom is used to describe a financial situation where someone or something owes more money than they have. It means that someone is in debt or has negative balance.
  • For example: “I can’t afford to go on vacation this year because I’m in the red.”

Money Idioms in Everyday Conversation

Money idioms are an essential part of everyday conversation in English. They allow us to express ourselves in a more interesting and colorful way, making our conversations more engaging and memorable. In this section, we will explore some of the most common money idioms used in everyday conversations.

Idioms in Business Conversations

In business conversations, money idioms are often used to discuss financial matters such as investments, profits, and losses. Here are some examples of money idioms used in business conversations:

  • Cutting corners: To save money by doing something in a cheaper or less effective way.
  • In the black: To be profitable or have a positive cash flow.
  • In the red: To be unprofitable or have a negative cash flow.
  • Cash cow: A product or service that generates a lot of revenue and profits.
  • Golden handshake: A large sum of money given to an employee as a severance package.

Idioms in Casual Conversations

In casual conversations, money idioms are often used to talk about personal finances, expenses, and budgeting. Here are some examples of money idioms used in casual conversations:

  • Break the bank: To spend more money than one can afford.
  • Living paycheck to paycheck: To have just enough money to cover one’s expenses until the next paycheck.
  • Penny pincher: Someone who is very frugal and tries to save money in every possible way.
  • Money talks: The power of money to influence people and decisions.
  • Put your money where your mouth is: To back up one’s words with action by investing money in something.
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In conclusion, money idioms are an integral part of everyday conversation in English. By using them, we can make our conversations more engaging and memorable. Whether in business or casual conversations, money idioms can help us express ourselves in a more interesting and colorful way.

Cultural Differences in Money Idioms

When it comes to money idioms, different cultures have their own unique expressions. In this section, we will explore some of the most popular money idioms used in American, British, and Australian English.

American Money Idioms

In American English, there are many idioms related to money that are commonly used. Here are a few examples:

  • Break the bank: to spend all of one’s money
  • Cash cow: a source of steady income
  • Get a bang for your buck: to get good value for your money
  • Money talks: money can influence people’s decisions
  • Put your money where your mouth is: to back up your words with action

British Money Idioms

British English also has its own set of money idioms. Here are some examples:

  • Cost an arm and a leg: to be very expensive
  • Penny pincher: someone who is very frugal
  • Rolling in it: to have a lot of money
  • Splash out: to spend a lot of money on something
  • Tighten your belt: to save money

Australian Money Idioms

Australian English has some unique money idioms as well. Here are a few examples:

  • Chook raffle: a fundraising event where a chicken is the prize
  • Moolah: another word for money
  • Smashed avocado: a reference to the high cost of avocado toast, often used to criticize millennials‘ spending habits
  • Spending like a drunken sailor: to spend money recklessly
  • Two bob: a slang term for a small amount of money
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Learning these idioms can help you better understand and communicate with native speakers in each culture. Plus, they can add some fun and flair to your English conversations about money.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the idiom ‘put your money where your mouth is’ mean?

This idiom means that if you say you are going to do something, you should back up your words with action and invest your own money to show that you are serious.

What is the meaning of the idiom ‘money talks’?

This idiom means that money has power and influence, and can often be the deciding factor in a situation.

What are some common investment idioms?

  • “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” – meaning don’t invest all your money in one place
  • “Buy low, sell high” – meaning to buy an investment when it is cheap and sell it when it is expensive
  • “A penny saved is a penny earned” – meaning that saving money is just as important as earning money

What is the idiom for someone who spends money recklessly?

The idiom for someone who spends money recklessly is “a spendthrift”.

What is the meaning of the idiom ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’?

This idiom means that money is not easy to come by and should be spent wisely.

What are some funny money idioms?

  • “Money talks, but all mine ever says is ‘goodbye'”
  • “I’m so poor, I can’t even afford to pay attention”
  • “I’m not rich, I’m just financially challenged”
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Pip

Sunday 13th of December 2020

This is fantastic! Thank you