Money Talk: Idioms about the Green Stuff

cold, hard cash

I know you didn’t ask for my two cents, but I will tell you anyway that I find figures of speech fascinating. The things we say without thinking say a lot about what we think, and a lot of the most common idioms are about money. For instance, why do we stretch a dollar but pinch a penny? Does that language suggest that those who are stretching their dollars are frugal, but those who worry about pennies are so mean that they have to pinch them?

Sometimes people and business ventures are described in monetary figures – For example, Suzie Q’s work is as good as gold, but even if it weren’t her business would still be a cash cow. When her accountant, who is worth his weight in gold, looks at the bottom line and tells her that she’s in the black (not in the red), even before Black Friday, she’ll know that she’ll be able to make ends meet (the ends of the lists of figures, that is – the income and expenses.) If the accountant is a gambling man, he might put his money where his mouth is and bet his bottom dollar that she will be a success. When all the chips are down, he will surely be able to cash in on his involvement with her business.

Those who believe that money is power will tell you that when money talks, people walk. Money changes everything, so if you grease a few palms with some dead presidents, you might find that those officials are oiled well enough to be bought and paid for. But if you believe in using the almighty dollar to get what you want, you will still find that money can’t buy you love.

Money doesn’t grow on trees, of course, so how do we earn it? We exchange our time for it. Time is money, after all. You might have a job with an irregular income, and then it’s feast or famine. If you don’t like your job, when your spouse asks how your day went, you might reply, “Another day, another dollar.” But if you earned a dollar and saved a penny that day, you should really say, “Another day, another 1.01 dollars,” because a penny saved is a penny earned. Of course, nowadays, most people earn more than a dollar a day. Instead, they’re bringing home the Benjamins.

We talk a lot about how we spend our money, particularly on the necessities of food and clothing. When we earn a lot of bread or dough, we can live high on the hog (i.e., eat the better cuts of meat). Maybe we can live so well because our job is a gravy train that lets us bring home the bacon. On the other side of the coin, we might also find ourselves living on chicken feed, and then we will have to tighten our belts.

Life is expensive, after all. Even if you shop at the five and dime, you may find that ordinary expenses nickel and dime you to death. Some goods are highway robbery, and they might cost an arm and a leg. You might even have to pay through the nose. Thankfully, some things are a dime a dozen.

A lot depends on your lifestyle choices. Has keeping up with the Joneses left you barely keeping your head above water so that you are living hand to mouth? I hope you haven’t been penny wise but pound foolish or have had money burning a hole in your pocket. Instead, I hope you have money to burn and are rolling in the dough or living in the lap of luxury. And even if you are not made of money, try not to be a Scrooge.

A penny for your thoughts – did you enjoy this idiomatic exploration? No? You wanted to read an article about saving money instead? Sorry, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Image courtesy of noahwesley

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One Response to Money Talk: Idioms about the Green Stuff

  1. Ann says:

    What fun! I didn’t get to see the final score on the BULLS and BEARS game…

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