Master Business and Money Idioms: Unlock Over 100 Essential Idioms to Boost Your English Skills

Welcome to “Learn English Idioms: Business and Money Idioms for Students” – an article designed to help you understand and use over 100 idiomatic expressions related to business and money.

Idioms are special phrases in English that have different meanings from the literal words they contain. They are fun and useful in everyday conversations.

In this article, we will focus on idioms that are commonly used when talking about money. Money idioms can help you express ideas about spending, saving, and earning money in a more interesting way.

For example, have you ever heard the phrase “save for a rainy day”? It means to save money for a time when you might need it. Or how about “waste a penny”? It means to spend money carelessly. Understanding these idioms will make your English conversations more natural and colorful.

Throughout this article, we will provide simple and clear examples for each idiom, so you can see how they are used in real situations. We will cover various topics, such as how to spend money wisely, how to save money, and even some idioms related to banking and finance.

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of these idiomatic expressions and be able to use them confidently in your conversations. Whether you are a student or someone who wants to improve your English language skills, this article will help you learn and remember these useful phrases.

Let’s dive into the world of business and money idioms together and have fun while learning!

Common Money Idioms in English

idiom, definition, example sentence

9 to 5 job

  • A regular job that typically follows a fixed schedule from 9 AM to 5 PM.
  • She’s tired of her 9 to 5 job and wants to pursue a career that allows more flexibility.

A bitter pill to swallow

  • Something difficult or unpleasant to accept.
  • Losing the contract was a bitter pill to swallow, but we have to move on and find new opportunities.

A chip on your shoulder

  • Holding a grudge or always reacting in a negative and angry way.
  • He always walks around with a chip on his shoulder, ready to argue with anyone who disagrees with him.

A dead-end job

  • A job with no prospects for career advancement or growth.
  • After working for years in that dead-end job, she decided it was time to pursue her passion.

A dime a dozen

  • Very common and easy to find; not unique or special.
  • The old books are a dime a dozen at the secondhand bookstore.

A fool and his money are soon parted

  • Wasting money foolishly often leads to financial loss.
  • He spent his entire paycheck on unnecessary gadgets; it’s true what they say, a fool and his money are soon parted.

A labor of love

  • Work done out of love and passion rather than for monetary gain.
  • Restoring old cars is a labor of love for him; he spends hours in the garage just because he enjoys it.

A penny saved is a penny earned

  • Saving money is just as important as earning it.
  • She always tries to cut back on expenses because she believes that a penny saved is a penny earned.

A piece of cake

  • Something that is very easy to do.
  • The math test was a piece of cake; I finished it in ten minutes.

All hands on deck

  • Everyone is needed to help or contribute to a particular task or project.
  • We have a big event coming up, so we need all hands on deck to ensure its success.

All in a day’s work

  • Something that is considered routine or expected as part of one’s job.
  • Dealing with difficult customers is all in a day’s work for customer service representatives.

At all costs

  • No matter what; regardless of the expense or effort involved.
  • He was determined to succeed at all costs.

At the end of the day

  • Ultimately; when all is said and done.
  • We can analyze the situation from different angles, but at the end of the day, we need to make a decision.

Back-of-the-envelope calculation

  • A rough, informal calculation made quickly and without detailed analysis.
  • The manager provided a back-of-the-envelope calculation for the project’s budget.

Back to the drawing board

  • To start over, usually because previous attempts have failed.
  • The prototype didn’t work as expected, so we’ll have to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new design.

Balance the books

  • Ensure that a company’s financial records are accurate and in order.
  • The accountant worked late to balance the books before the end of the fiscal year.

Ballpark figure

  • An approximate or rough estimate, not an exact amount.
  • We need to give a ballpark figure for the total cost of the renovations.

Barking up the wrong tree

  • Pursuing a mistaken or misguided course of action or making incorrect assumptions.
  • If you think I can help you with your car troubles, you’re barking up the wrong tree—I know nothing about cars.

Beat the clock

  • To finish something just before a deadline or before time runs out.
  • With only five minutes left, he managed to beat the clock and submit his assignment.

Bet your bottom dollar

  • To be absolutely certain or confident about something.
  • I can bet my bottom dollar that it’s going to rain today.

Between a rock and a hard place

  • Facing a difficult choice where neither option is favorable.
  • She was between a rock and a hard place when deciding whether to accept a job with a long commute or stay unemployed.

Bite off more than you can chew

  • To take on more tasks or responsibilities than one can handle.
  • I thought I could handle the extra workload, but I ended up biting off more than I could chew.

Bleeding edge

  • Refers to technology or innovation that is at the forefront and not yet widely adopted.
  • The company focuses on developing bleeding-edge software that pushes the boundaries of what’s currently possible.

Blow the whistle

  • To expose or report illegal or unethical behavior.
  • The employee decided to blow the whistle on her supervisor’s embezzlement scheme.

Born with a silver spoon in your mouth

  • Born into a wealthy family.
  • Growing up, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, never having to worry about financial struggles.

Bread and butter

  • A person’s main source of income or livelihood, typically a job or occupation.
  • Teaching is her bread and butter; it’s the job that provides the stable income she relies on.

Break new ground

  • To make progress or achieve something innovative or unprecedented.
  • The research team’s findings broke new ground in the field of neuroscience.

Break the bank

  • To spend a large amount of money, often beyond one’s means.
  • I’d love to go on a luxury vacation, but it would break the bank, so I’ll opt for something more affordable.

Bring home the bacon

  • To earn a living; to provide financial support for the household.
  • It’s essential for both partners to work and bring home the bacon in today’s economy.

Burning a hole in your pocket

  • Describing the feeling of eagerly wanting to spend money on something.
  • After receiving his bonus, the money was burning a hole in his pocket, and he went shopping immediately.

Burning the midnight oil

  • To work or study late into the night.
  • He had a big exam the next day, so he stayed up burning the midnight oil to prepare.

Call it a day

  • To decide to stop working for the rest of the day.
  • We’ve made good progress, but let’s call it a day and continue fresh tomorrow morning.

Cash cow

  • A product, service, or investment that consistently generates a significant income or profit.
  • The company’s flagship product has become a cash cow, providing a steady stream of revenue.

Cash in on

  • To profit or benefit from something, often at the expense of others.
  • Some opportunistic businesses try to cash in on people’s fears by selling overpriced disaster supplies.

Cash on the barrel head

  • Requiring immediate payment in full, often in cash.
  • The antique shop insisted on cash on the barrel head for the rare painting, refusing to accept any other form of payment.

Cheap as chips

  • Costing very little money.
  • The show was free, so the night was as cheap as chips.


  • A person who does not spend money even when others have paid.
  • My friend is such a cheapskate; he never wants to contribute to group expenses.

Chicken feed

  • A small amount of money; an insignificant sum.
  • The payment for the task was chicken feed, not worth the effort.

Climbing the corporate ladder

  • Advancing in one’s career by progressively taking on higher positions of authority or responsibility.
  • She’s been working diligently and climbing the corporate ladder, moving from an entry-level position to a managerial role.

Clock in, clock out

  • To record the time of arrival and departure from work.
  • Make sure to clock in and clock out accurately so your hours are properly accounted for.

Close ranks

  • To unite or come together, especially in support of a common cause.
  • When faced with criticism from external sources, the team closed ranks to defend their work.

Cook the books

  • Make financial records or accounts false and wrong, usually to deceive others.
  • The company faced legal trouble when it was discovered that they tried to cook the books to show higher profits.

Cost an arm and a leg

  • To be very expensive.
  • The luxury sports car cost him an arm and a leg, but he considered it worth the price.

Cost the earth

  • To be extremely expensive.
  • Buying a designer handbag can cost the earth.

Counting pennies

  • Being very careful with money, counting every cent.
  • As a student, I’m always counting pennies to make sure I can afford my expenses.

Crunch the numbers

  • To perform calculations or analyze data, often related to finances.
  • The accountant spent hours crunching the numbers to check the report was correct.

Cut corners

  • To take shortcuts or do something with less effort, often sacrificing quality.
  • They decided to cut corners in the manufacturing process to save costs, but the final product suffered as a result.

Cut the mustard

  • To meet expectations or perform satisfactorily.
  • He wasn’t sure if his presentation would cut the mustard, but the audience found it engaging and informative.

Cut to the chase

  • To get to the main point or the most important part of a discussion or situation.
  • We don’t have much time, so let’s cut to the chase and address the key issues.

Cut your losses

  • To stop investing time or money into something that is unlikely to succeed.
  • After the business started failing, they decided to cut their losses and close it down.

back to top

Desk jockey

  • A person who works primarily in an office or administrative role.
  • He used to be a field researcher, but now he’s a desk jockey, handling paperwork and data analysis.

Dirt cheap

  • Extremely inexpensive; very low in cost.
  • I found this shirt at the thrift store, and it was dirt cheap.

Dog-eat-dog world

  • A competitive and ruthless environment where people will do anything to succeed.
  • The business industry can be a dog-eat-dog world, with fierce competition and constant pressure.

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

  • To not harm or act against those who provide you with support or resources.
  • He should show more appreciation for his clients; after all, you shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

  • To not rely or depend solely on one thing, as it can be risky.
  • Diversify your investments so that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Double down

  • To reinforce one’s commitment or efforts, often in the face of adversity or opposition.
  • Despite the setback, the team decided to double down and work even harder to achieve their goals.

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise

  • Going to bed and waking up early contributes to good health, wealth, and wisdom.
  • Following the proverb “early to bed and early to rise,” he found that he was more productive and achieved better health.

Every dog has its day

  • Everyone will have their moment of success or good fortune at some point.
  • It may seem challenging now, but don’t worry, every dog has its day.

Face the music

  • To confront the consequences or unpleasant reality of one’s actions.
  • After being caught cheating, he had to face the music and accept the punishment.

Fish or cut bait

  • To make a decision or take action rather than procrastinating or delaying.
  • We’ve been discussing this project for weeks; it’s time to fish or cut bait and start making progress.

Flat broke

  • Having no money at all; completely out of funds.
  • After paying the bills, I’m flat broke for the rest of the month.

Fly by the seat of your pants

  • To proceed or make decisions based on intuition or improvisation rather than a planned course of action.
  • The team had to fly by the seat of their pants when the project requirements suddenly changed.


  • Describing a person or business that is unreliable, transient, or operates dishonestly.
  • Be cautious when dealing with that fly-by-night contractor; they have a history of unfinished projects.

Foot the bill

  • To pay the entire cost of something.
  • Since it was his idea, he had to foot the bill for the dinner.

Fork out

  • To spend or pay a significant amount of money.
  • I had to fork out a lot of cash to repair my car after the accident.

From rags to riches

  • Refers to a person’s rise from poverty to wealth or success.
  • His incredible journey from rags to riches inspired many.

Get down to brass tacks

  • To focus on the essential or most important aspects.
  • Let’s stop wasting time and get down to brass tacks—what are our key priorities for this project?

Get the ball rolling

  • To start a project or initiate an activity.
  • We need someone to get the ball rolling on this initiative by organizing the initial meeting.

Get your fingers burnt

  • To suffer negative consequences, especially financial losses, from a risky decision.
  • Investing in that risky stock, he got his fingers burnt when its value plummeted.

Get your foot in the door

  • To establish an initial connection or opportunity that can lead to further success or advancement.
  • He took an entry-level position just to get his foot in the door at the company he wanted to work for.

Go Dutch

  • To split the cost of something, especially a meal, equally among all the people involved.
  • When we go out with friends, we usually go Dutch and each pay for our own meals.

Go the extra mile

  • To make additional effort or do more than what is expected.
  • In order to impress her clients, she always goes the extra mile by providing personalized service.

Golden handcuffs

  • Financial incentives or benefits that make it difficult for someone to leave a well-paying job.
  • He feels trapped in his current position due to the golden handcuffs of the high salary and generous benefits.

Golden handshake

  • A generous financial package or incentive offered to an employee upon their retirement or departure from a company.
  • As part of her retirement, the CEO received a golden handshake, including a substantial payout and other perks.

Gravy train

  • A job or situation that provides a good income with little effort.
  • Working in sales during the busy season is a real gravy train; you can earn a lot of commission.

Hand to mouth

  • Living with just enough money to cover basic needs, with little or no money left over.
  • Since losing his job, he’s been living hand to mouth, barely able to afford rent and food.

Hang up your hat

  • To retire or give up a particular job or career.
  • After 40 years of teaching, it’s time for her to hang up her hat and enjoy her retirement.

Have skin in the game

  • To have a personal stake or investment in a particular project or venture.
  • The investors were more confident in his business proposal because he had substantial skin in the game.

Highway robbery

  • Charging a very high and unfair price for something.
  • Paying $20 for a small sandwich at the airport felt like highway robbery.

Hit the ground running

  • To start a new project or job quickly and energetically, without delays.
  • As soon as she joined the company, she hit the ground running, taking charge of multiple projects simultaneously.

Hit the jackpot

  • To achieve great success or win a large amount of money.
  • Starting a successful business felt like hitting the jackpot for her.

Ill-gotten gains

  • Money or wealth obtained through dishonest or unethical means.
  • The authorities seized the ill-gotten gains of the corrupt politician.

In for a penny, In for a pound

  • Once involved in something, it’s better to see it through, regardless of the challenges.
  • He decided to invest in the business, and now that he’s facing difficulties, he thinks, “in for a penny, in for a pound.”

In the black

  • Referring to a situation where a business or individual has a positive cash balance or profit.
  • Thanks to increased sales, the company’s financial statement shows that they are finally in the black.

In the hot seat

  • Being in a position of high responsibility or under intense scrutiny.
  • As the CEO, he is always in the hot seat, having to make difficult decisions and face media attention.

In the loop

  • Being informed or involved in the latest information or developments.
  • The manager keeps her team in the loop by regularly sharing updates and progress reports.

In the money

  • Having made a profit, especially in financial investments.
  • After the successful stock trade, he found himself in the money with a significant profit.

In the pipeline

  • Referring to something that is currently being developed or planned and will be available or implemented in the future.
  • We have several new projects in the pipeline that will be launched next quarter.

In the red

  • Referring to a situation where a business or individual has a negative bank balance or debt.
  • The company is struggling and has been operating in the red for the past two years.

Jump on the bandwagon

  • To join or support a popular trend or movement.
  • Many companies jumped on the bandwagon of sustainability by implementing eco-friendly practices.

Jump ship

  • To leave one’s current job or organization, often to join a competing one.
  • After the merger was announced, some employees decided to jump ship and seek opportunities elsewhere.

Jump through hoops

  • To go through a series of challenging or demanding tasks or requirements.
  • The applicants had to jump through hoops during the interview process, including multiple rounds of assessments.

back to top

Keep a tight grip on your purse strings

  • To be very careful with your money; avoid spending.
  • Since the economic downturn, she learned to keep a tight grip on her purse strings and only spend on necessities.

Keep the wolf from the door

  • To prevent poverty or hunger.
  • Saving money diligently helps to keep the wolf from the door during tough times.

Keep your eye on the ball

  • To stay focused on the main objective or goal.
  • With so many distractions, it’s important to keep your eye on the ball and not lose sight of what really matters.

Keep your nose to the grindstone

  • To work diligently and persistently without distraction or interruption.
  • In order to meet the deadline, she had to keep her nose to the grindstone and work long hours.

Kick the bucket (retirement)*

  • To retire from work or a specific occupation.
  • After 30 years in the construction industry, he’s finally decided to kick the bucket and enjoy his retirement.
  • *to me, kick the bucket means to die, so I would not use it for retirement

Lend a helping hand

  • To offer assistance or support to someone in need.
  • When his colleague was struggling with a project, he was quick to lend a helping hand.

[Living] on a shoestring

  • Managing to live with a very small amount of money.
  • Since losing his job, he’s been living on a shoestring, cutting back on all non-essential expenses

Look like a million dollars

  • To appear very attractive or well-dressed.
  • After getting a makeover, she walked into the party looking like a million dollars.

Look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves

  • Paying attention to small expenses can lead to overall financial benefit.
  • By saving a little money each day on small things like coffee, she found that, over time, by looking after the pennies the pounds looked after themselves.

Low-hanging fruit

  • Referring to the easiest or most readily achievable targets or goals.
  • The sales team focused on the low-hanging fruit first, securing quick wins and immediate results.

Made of money

  • To be very wealthy.
  • Some people think that doctors are made of money, but they have their financial struggles too.

Make ends meet

  • To manage one’s income and expenses in order to cover basic needs.
  • With the rising cost of living, it’s becoming harder for many families to make ends meet.

Mind your P’s and Q’s

  • To be well-behaved, polite, and mindful of one’s actions and language.
  • When attending a formal event, it’s essential to mind your P’s and Q’s and maintain proper etiquette.

Money bags

  • A very wealthy person.
  • At the charity event, the room was filled with money bags, each contributing generously to support the cause.

Money doesn’t grow on trees

  • Used to emphasize that money is not easily obtained and should be spent wisely.
  • You can’t buy everything you want; remember, money doesn’t grow on trees.

Money talks

  • Referring to the influence or power that wealth can have in decision-making or negotiations.
  • In some industries, money talks, and those with deep pockets often have an advantage.

Money to burn

  • Having a lot of money to spend, or spare money, often to waste by over-spending.
  • After winning the lottery, he felt like he had money to burn and started indulging in luxury purchases.

Nail down

  • To finalize or secure something, often after careful consideration or negotiation.
  • We need to nail down the details of the contract before proceeding with the project.

Nest egg

  • Savings set aside for future use or emergencies.
  • It’s essential to have a nest egg for unexpected expenses or for retirement.

Not have two pennies to rub together

  • To be extremely poor or without any money.
  • After losing his job, he did not have two pennies to rub together.

On the back burner

  • To temporarily set aside or delay something, usually a task or project.
  • Due to more urgent priorities, we had to put the new marketing campaign on the back burner for now.

On the ball

  • Being alert, efficient, or competent in handling tasks or situations.
  • The team leader is always on the ball, ensuring that everyone is working productively.

On the breadline

  • Living on or below the poverty line; experiencing financial hardship.
  • After losing his job, he found himself on the breadline, struggling to make ends meet.

On the house

  • Provided for free by a business, often referring to complimentary items or services.
  • As a gesture of goodwill, the first round of drinks was on the house.

On the job

  • Engaged in work or carrying out one’s job responsibilities.
  • He’s always focused and dedicated while on the job, consistently delivering high-quality results.

On the money

  • Accurate or correct, especially regarding a prediction or assessment.
  • Her analysis of the market trends was right on the money; the sales figures aligned perfectly with her projections.

On the same page

  • To have a shared understanding or agreement on a particular matter.
  • It’s important that all team members are on the same page regarding project goals and expectations.

Out of the loop

  • Not being informed or involved in the latest information or developments.
  • Since I took time off, I feel like I’m out of the loop and need to catch up on what’s been happening.

Pass the buck

  • To shift responsibility or blame to someone else.
  • Instead of taking ownership of the mistake, he tried to pass the buck and put the blame on his colleague.

Pay a king’s ransom

  • To pay a very high price or an exorbitant amount of money.
  • He had to pay a king’s ransom to get his car repaired after the accident.

Pay peanuts

  • To be paid a very low wage or salary.
  • Despite working long hours, he felt like he was being paid peanuts for his efforts.

Pay through the nose

  • To pay a very high price or an exorbitant amount for something.
  • She had to pay through the nose for the last-minute flight tickets during the holiday season.

Pay your dues

  • To fulfill one’s obligations or work hard to achieve success, often through a process of gaining experience or proving oneself.
  • Before becoming a successful actor, he paid his dues by taking on minor roles and working in small theaters.

Pencil pusher (pen pusher)

  • A person who performs administrative or bureaucratic tasks, often in an office setting.
  • He’s not involved in any creative work; he’s just a pencil pusher, handling paperwork all day.

Penny pincher

  • A person who is very careful with their money and reluctant to spend it.
  • My grandfather is a penny pincher; he always looks for the best deals and never buys anything unnecessary.

Pick up the tab

  • To pay for a meal or drinks, to take and pay the bill.
  • As a thank-you for helping with the move, he offered to pick up the tab for dinner.

Piece of cake

  • Something that is very easy or requires minimal effort.
  • After studying for weeks, the exam felt like a piece of cake; she finished it in no time.

Pour money down the drain

  • To waste money on something that brings no value or benefit.
  • Buying an expensive but unnecessary gadget is like pouring money down the drain.

Pull strings

  • To use one’s influence or connections to gain an advantage or achieve a desired outcome.
  • With his network of contacts, he was able to pull some strings and secure VIP tickets to the concert.

Put a dent in your wallet

  • To spend a significant amount of your money.
  • Buying a new smartphone put a dent in my wallet, but I needed it for work.

Put all your cards on the table

  • To be open, honest, and transparent about one’s intentions or information.
  • In order to build trust, it’s important to put all your cards on the table and share all relevant details.

Put in your two cents worth

  • To offer one’s opinion or advice, often when it’s not necessarily wanted.
  • Everyone was putting in their two cents worth during the meeting, making it longer than necessary.

Put the cart before the horse

  • To do things in the wrong order or with the wrong priorities.
  • They started marketing the product before it was even developed; they were putting the cart before the horse.

Put your money where your mouth is

  • Take action to support what you say; back up your words with financial commitment or action.
  • If you believe in the project, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is and invest in it.

Quick buck

  • An easy or fast way to make money, often implying a temporary or risky opportunity.
  • Some people get involved in schemes hoping for a quick buck, but it’s usually too good to be true.

Rack your brain

  • To think hard or put in a lot of effort to remember or solve a problem.
  • He racked his brain trying to recall where he had put the keys.

Rain on someone’s parade

  • To spoil or dampen someone’s excitement or enthusiasm.
  • Don’t rain on her parade; let her enjoy her accomplishment without any negativity.

Rat race

  • An intense, competitive struggle or pursuit of success in one’s career or life.
  • Living in the city can feel like being caught in a rat race, with everyone striving to climb the corporate ladder.

Ride shotgun

  • To sit in the front passenger seat of a vehicle.
  • I’ll drive, and you can ride shotgun on our road trip.

Rolling in dough

  • Having a lot of money; being very wealthy.
  • After winning the lottery, she was rolling in dough and could afford to buy a new house.

Rolling in money

  • Being very wealthy; having a lot of money.
  • After the business took off, they were rolling in money and could afford a luxurious lifestyle.

Rub salt in the wound

  • To make a painful situation even more difficult or distressing for someone.
  • Instead of offering support, she criticized his actions, rubbing salt in the wound.

Rule of thumb

  • A general principle or guideline based on experience or practical wisdom.
  • A rule of thumb in business is to allocate about 20% of your revenue for marketing expenses.

Run out of steam

  • To lose energy, enthusiasm, or motivation to continue with a task or activity.
  • After working for several hours, she ran out of steam and needed a break.

back to top

Save for a rainy day

  • To set aside money or resources for future emergencies or unexpected circumstances.
  • It’s wise to save for a rainy day, as you never know when you might need extra funds.

Save your breath

  • To stop wasting one’s effort or energy on trying to convince or persuade someone.
  • I’ve tried to reason with him, but it’s best to save my breath; he won’t listen.

See the color of your money

  • To receive payment or see actual money before proceeding with a task or service.
  • The contractor insisted on seeing the color of the money upfront before starting the construction project.

Set the stage

  • To create the conditions or environment for something to happen or be successful.
  • The opening act set the stage for an exciting concert, building anticipation among the audience.

Shoot yourself in the foot

  • To do something that harms oneself unintentionally or sabotages one’s own efforts.
  • By ignoring customer feedback, the company shot itself in the foot and lost a significant number of customers.

Sit on the fence

  • To remain neutral or undecided in a dispute or conflict, not taking a clear position.
  • Rather than expressing an opinion, he preferred to sit on the fence and see how the situation unfolds.

Skeletons in the closet

  • Referring to hidden or embarrassing secrets or scandals from someone’s past.
  • When running for public office, politicians often worry about skeletons in the closet that could be revealed.

Sleep on it

  • To postpone making a decision or taking action until the following day, after having had time to think it over.
  • It’s a big decision; I need to sleep on it before giving you an answer.

Smooth sailing

  • Referring to a situation or process that is easy, without obstacles or difficulties.
  • After resolving the initial challenges, the project proceeded smoothly, with smooth sailing ahead.

Sow the seeds

  • To initiate or start something that will lead to future development or results.
  • By investing in education, we can sow the seeds for a brighter future.

Square peg in a round hole

  • Describing someone who doesn’t fit well or is unsuitable for a particular role or environment.
  • He’s a talented artist, but in a corporate setting, he feels like a square peg in a round hole.

Stash away

  • To save or store something, usually money, for future use.
  • It’s a good idea to stash away some money each month for unexpected expenses.

Start from scratch

  • To begin a task or project with no previous progress or work done.
  • The previous attempt failed, so we had to start from scratch and develop a new strategy.

Steal the show

  • To attract the most attention or receive the most praise during a performance or event.
  • With her stunning performance, she stole the show and received a standing ovation.

Stick to your guns

  • To hold firmly to one’s beliefs, decisions, or opinions, even in the face of opposition.
  • Despite criticism, she stuck to her guns and defended her innovative approach.

Sticky fingers

  • Tending to steal or take things that don’t belong to you.
  • The employee was caught taking office supplies home; it seems he has sticky fingers.

Strapped for cash

  • Having very little or no money.
  • She couldn’t go on the trip because she was strapped for cash.

Swing for the fences

  • To aim for a significant or ambitious goal or outcome, taking big risks.
  • They decided to swing for the fences and launch a groundbreaking product with innovative features.

Take a beating

  • To endure hardship or suffer losses.
  • The stock market took a downturn, and many investors had to take a beating on their portfolios.

Take the bull by the horns

  • To confront a difficult or challenging situation directly and assertively.
  • Instead of avoiding the problem, he decided to take the bull by the horns and address the issue head-on.

Take to the cleaners

  • To be cheated or deceived, especially in a financial transaction.
  • He invested in a dubious business and ended up being taken to the cleaners.

The ball is in your court

  • It is now your turn or responsibility to take action or make a decision.
  • I’ve provided all the necessary information; now the ball is in your court to make the final call.

The best things in life are free

  • Expresses the idea that the most valuable things in life, such as love and happiness, cannot be bought.
  • Spending time with loved ones reminds us that the best things in life are free.

The devil is in the details

  • Small, often overlooked factors or details can cause significant problems or complications.
  • The design looked great initially, but when we reviewed the specifications, we realized the devil was in the details.

The early bird catches the worm

  • Referring to the idea that being proactive or taking action early can lead to an advantage or success.
  • She always arrives early to work, believing that the early bird catches the worm.

The elephant in the room

  • An obvious problem or sensitive issue that everyone is aware of but avoids discussing.
  • The budget cuts were the elephant in the room during the staff meeting, but no one wanted to address them.

The final straw

  • The last in a series of negative events or actions that leads to a decision or action being taken.
  • His constant lateness was the final straw for his boss, who decided to terminate his employment.

The sky’s the limit

  • There are no boundaries or restrictions; there is limitless potential or opportunity.
  • With hard work and determination, the sky’s the limit for what you can achieve.

Throw good money after bad

  • To waste more money on something that has already proven to be a poor investment.
  • Continuing to invest in the failing business would be like throwing good money after bad; it’s better to cut losses and move on.

Throw in the towel

  • To give up or surrender, often after a prolonged effort or struggle.
  • After months of trying to fix the issue, they decided to throw in the towel and seek outside help.

Throw money around

  • To spend money lavishly or extravagantly.
  • The wealthy entrepreneur liked to throw money around, hosting elaborate parties and buying expensive gifts.

Tighten your belt

  • To reduce and limit spending.
  • During tough economic times, families often have to tighten their belts and cut back on luxuries.

Tight fisted

  • Unwilling to spend or give money; very frugal.
  • Despite his wealth, he was known for being tight-fisted and rarely spent money.

Time Is money

  • Time has value, and wasting time is equivalent to losing potential income or opportunities.
  • In the business world, they say time is money, so efficiency is crucial for success.

Toot your own horn

  • To boast or promote one’s achievements, skills, or abilities.
  • In a job interview, it’s important to toot your own horn and highlight your strengths.

Turn a blind eye

  • To deliberately ignore or overlook something, usually a wrongdoing or problematic situation.
  • The supervisor turned a blind eye to his employees’ constant tardiness, leading to a decline in productivity.

Under the table

  • Referring to transactions or agreements that are done secretly or illegally, often involving hidden payments.
  • The bribe was given under the table, away from the public eye.

Up in the air

  • Referring to a situation that is uncertain, undecided, or yet to be determined.
  • The date for the meeting is still up in the air; we haven’t finalized the details.

Up the ante

  • To increase the stakes or demands in a situation, usually in negotiations or competitions.
  • In order to secure the deal, they decided to up the ante and offer a more attractive proposal.

Walk on eggshells

  • To be extremely cautious or sensitive in one’s words or actions to avoid causing offense or trouble.
  • After their argument, they had to walk on eggshells around each other to prevent further conflicts.

Wear multiple hats

  • To have multiple roles or responsibilities, often within the same job or organization.
  • As a small business owner, she has to wear multiple hats, from managing finances to marketing and customer service.

Work against the clock

  • To work under pressure or with a sense of urgency to complete a task within a limited amount of time.
  • With the deadline approaching, they had to work against the clock to finish the project on time.

Work like a dog

  • To work extremely hard or diligently, often for long hours or with great effort.
  • She’s been working like a dog to meet the tight project deadline.

Worth its weight in gold

    • Extremely valuable or beneficial.
    • A reliable assistant is worth its weight in gold in a busy office.

back to top

Essential English Money Idioms for Beginners

There are so many idioms related to money but you now have an easy way to check the meaning and use with the list above.

Unlocking the Power of English Idioms: Learn and Use Money Expressions

Practice looking up the meaning of idioms that you don’t know the meaning and over time you will learn and eventually be able to use yourself.

Idioms in Action: Examples of Money-related Expressions

All the common idioms related to money you need in one place, this list is used to describe all money idioms you need used by native English speakers.

Mastering Money Idioms: Enhancing Your English Vocabulary

Talking like a native speaker is difficult but it helps if you can understand the vocabulary. Therefore this article can be used as an esl (English Second Language) lesson.

From Pennies to Pounds: Exploring Idioms about Earning and Investing

When you see the term pennies  this refers to having little money. If money is not easy and you do not have much money then this means that money is ‘tight’.

Perhaps you can ‘looking after the pennies’. This means you are careful with even small amounts of money. When you look after the small amounts then over time your finances will look after themselves because you are not wasting money.

Idioms Explained: Unraveling the Meaning behind Money Sayings

Save money for a rainy day has nothing to do with the weather. It means that sometime in the future you may need money, so save for that time, even if you don’t know when it is.

Spending Wisely: Idioms About Money and Budgeting

Money is sometimes, rarely, easy to earn, but that does not last forever. So it is advisable to budget and spend wisely even when things are going well.