English Idioms: Money
When I was young, I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.
- Oscar Wilde
While probably not the most important thing in life, money does, in fact, play an important role in the lives of each and every one of us. It has the power to make or break individuals, families, friendships, companies, communities and even countries. It can be earned or lost, saved or spent, taken or given. It is part of our lives and, as such, part of our vocabulary. Here are 16 English idioms that all have to do with the subject of money:
1. A fool and his money are soon parted.
This English proverb means that people who are foolish or sill with their money will lose it soon.
Example: When Albert told his aunt about his new investment, her only comment was ❝A fool and his money are soon parted.❞
2. A penny saved is a penny earned.
This English saying is one that means it is clever to save money.
Example: My Grandmother always told me that a penny saved is a penny earned.
3. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
This English proverb means that the person who pays for something has the power to make decisions about it.
Example: I didn’t like the fact that Anton made all of the decisions; but what could I do? He who pays the piper calls the tune.
4. to be a license to print money
When a business activity or business provides you with an opportunity to make a lot of money with little or no effort, you can refer to it as being a license to print money.
Example: Selling ice cream across from a school is a license to print money.
5. to be penny-wise and pound-foolish
If you are penny-wise and pound-foolish, you are very careful with small amounts of money but not careful enough with larger amounts of money.
Example: Mike booked his trip around the world last week, but is still thinking about whether to buy himself a much-needed pair of shoes. He’s penny-wise and pound-foolish.
6. to be rolling in money
If you are rolling in money, you are extremely wealthy. You have much more money than you can spend.
Example: Since Mr. Pennypincher married his third wife, he has been rolling in money.
7. to be in the hole
When someone is in the hole, he is in debt. In other words, he owes other people money.
Example: After Frank repaid the $10.00 he owed his mother, he was no longer in the hole.
8. to be in the money
This one belongs to the more positive idioms on this list. If you are in the money, you suddenly and, perhaps even unexpectedly, have a lot of money.
Example: If I win this Saturday’s lottery, I’ll be in the money.
9. to bet the farm
If you bet the farm, you spend all or nearly all of your money on something that you feel with bring you success.
Example: Mario bet the farm when he invested in his latest project.
10. to come into money
When someone comes into money, he has unexpectedly received some money, e.g. an inheritance.
Example: After old Mrs. Moneybags passed away, the local animal shelter came into a lot of money.
11. to have money to burn
If someone has money to burn, he has a lot of money and spends it carelessly on unnecessary things.
Example: Last week, Alex bought himself three new mobile phones, a laptop and a tablet. It was as if he had money to burn.
12. to pay through the nose
No one wants to pay through the nose. In other words, no one likes to pay a very high price (= too much) for something.
Example: I paid through the nose for a 1962 Spiderman magazine.
13. to pay your own way
When you pay your own way, you pay for everything that you have or use.
Example: No one gave me any financial assistance. I paid my own way.
14. to spend money like it’s going our of style
People who spend money like it’s going out of style are spending great sums of money without any worries or cares.
Example: I saw Mr. Moneybags going in and out of shops on Rodeo Drive. He was spending money like it’s going out of style.
15. to spend money like water
A person who spends money like water, spends a lot of it.
Example: During his vacation to Las Vegas, Monty and his friends spent money like water. They came home only with the shirts on their backs.
16. to throw good money after bad
If you throw good money after bad, you are spending money on something that has either failed or is doomed to fail.
Example: Some people said that Maria was throwing good money after bad when, despite six horrible months of sales, she continued to invest in advertising for her homemade mobile phone cases.
17. to throw (your) money around
When you throw your money around, you spend your money often and, when you do, it’s on things that aren’t particularly necessary.
Example: You’ve bought new mobile phones, a new laptop and a new tablet? You’ve got money to throw around, haven’t you, Alex?