Idioms about Money

Idioms about Money

In the previous week, students went over financial goals and how to be a smart consumer. They reviewed different strategies to budget their income and spending. Students also went over new vocabulary words and phrases to describe a person’s spending habits. Here are 10 common phrases to use regarding money and spending habits. 

1.      cost an arm and a leg: This idiom means that the thing that you would like to purchase is ridiculously expensive. It does not literally cost an arm and a leg, but it may be rather close. You can use this phrase when you or someone you know wants to buy something that is way over their usual budget. 

2.      tighten your belt: To tighten your belt is the opposite of a person who likes to spend money excessively. This phrase means that you need to lower your spending and stick to your budget. 

3.      save for a rainy day: This means saving money for yourself in the case of an emergency in the future. You never know what may happen, so it is a good idea to save some money just in case something unexpected happens. 

4.      make ends meet: Typically, you use this phrase if you are living paycheck to paycheck (all the money you make from your job is spent on utilities with nothing much left over). To make ends meet means you are earning enough to manage your basic living expenses, but you do not have money to spend carelessly on things you do not need. 

5.      rolling in money: While some people may love the idea of literally rolling in money, this phrase is used to say someone is very rich. Some other variations are rolling in dough or rolling in cash. 

6.      dirt cheap: If you are not rolling in money, you may need to buy things that are dirt cheap. This means that something is very cheap or inexpensive. You are comparing the item to being as cheap as dirt. 

7.      dip into your savings: Your savings is money that you put aside for something. Each person saves up money for a different reason. Some people save up in case of an emergency, some save for traveling, and some save up for college; people can have savings for any reason! 

8.      from rags to riches: This phrase means that a person grew up in poverty but is now rolling in money. This phrase can be used to describe someone who is self-made (having become wealthy by one’s own efforts) rather than growing up in a wealthy family. 

9.      burn a hole in one's pocket: You can use this phrase to mean that someone is eager to spend money. Typically, it is used when spending money on things people want rather than necessarily need. 

10.   to bring home the bacon: To bring home the bacon means to earn money to live, especially if you are the main support financially for your family. This phrase is typically used for the head of the household. 

If you are interested in learning more idioms and phrases, our ESL program focuses on a new topic each week. And with our smaller class sizes, students will be able to practice their speaking constantly. This will allow students to feel comfortable communicating in English in order to work, live, or study in an English-speaking environment. For more information, email

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Published on May 11, 2022

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