A good quote can influence us in positive ways. It makes us reflect, implement the advice and do better. We’ve put together 31 money sayings with awesome finance tips that can help you on your financial journey when making money decisions. Share your favourite with us @bonsaimoney on Instagram.
1. “A fool and his money are easily parted”
This means that people who use their money unwisely don’t have it long.
How you use your money is as important as making it!
Do you have clear financial goals? Are you budgeting? Are you making impulse purchases that you regret?
2. “Waste not, want not”
This means that if you carefully use your resources, you will never be in need.
We can save money and live more sustainably by re-using, recycling, and upcycling our clothes and other resources.
Are you wasting food or buying things that don’t last, or do you end up throwing away? Consider the lesson of today’s saying and find ways to cut down in different areas of your life.
3. “Time is money”
This means that your time is a valuable resource.
So, in the same way you spend money, you also spend your time on things. Unlike money, you can’t make time back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Are you spending your time wisely?
4. “Making money for old rope”
This means earning money quickly, easily or with minimal effort. The saying is commonly used in the UK.
Ask yourself: are there any areas in your life where you can work smarter, not harder?
5. “To live like a maggot in bacon”
This is a translation of the German phrase Leben wie die maden im speck” which means to live a life of luxury.
Luxury means different things to different people, are you making space to treat yourself and enjoy the finer things in life?
6. “To keep a hedgehog in your pocket”?
This is a translation from the Welsh “me fe’n cadw draenog yn ei boced”, meaning to be stingy or cheap with your money and resources.
It’s similar to the Polish “mieć węża w kieszeni” which means to have a snake in your pocket.
7. “The best things in life are free”
This means the most valuable and important things – such as love, friendship, joy and peace – cannot be bought.
8. “Health is wealth”
This has many different definitions and interpretations. It can mean that your well-being is just as valuable or even more valuable than material possessions.
It could also mean that being healthy can make it easier for you to attain wealth and your life goals.
9. “In mint condition”
This means that the quality of an item is the same as if it were brand new.
Are you looking after your purchases? By keeping your items in good or mint condition, you can make money on them in the future if you choose to resell them. You can earn the most on items kept in mint condition.
10. “In the red”
This refers to being in debt or spending more than you earn. The phrase originates from the traditional bookkeeping and accounting practice of writing outgoing funds in red ink (and incoming funds in black).
“in the black” means to be financially solvent or debt free.
11. “A penny saved is a penny earned”
This means that saving money is the same as paying yourself, and even the smallest amount helps to build savings.
If you ever get disheartened by not saving as much as you’d like – remember that every penny counts. The habit of saving is just as important as how much you save, especially for those who are just getting started. Keep going!
12. “Cut your coat according to your cloth”
This means making financial decisions and purchases according to a realistic assessment of your resources. Do not spend more than you earn.
It is similar to the phrase “To live within one’s means,” and in some `cultures, they say to cut your coat according to your size.
Are there any areas in your life where you’re living above your means? Spending more than you earn can put you at risk of debt and financial hardship.
13. “Bread and butter”
This refers to the main source of one’s income.
Our bread and butter is usually our most consistent form of income and it can lay the groundwork for saving, investing and building more wealth.
14. “To eat a cable”
This is a translation of a popular Cuban phrase “esta comiendo un cable” which means to experience financial hardship or difficulty. The saying isn’t supposed to be taken literally – it’s a tongue-in-cheek reference to the desperate choices that are sometimes made when people don’t have enough money.
15. “If you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves”
This means that if you focus on saving small amounts of money, you will eventually accumulate larger amounts.
The saying is similar to the expression, “every little helps”.
For example: Keeping a jar for loose change over the years has led many to save much more! If you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves.
Consider putting extra change in a jar if you don’t have one. See how much you can accumulate in a year.
16. “Tighten one’s belt”
This means to reduce or restrict spending, cut down on costs or live more modestly
For example, many people who lost their jobs last during the covid-19 pandemic will be tightening their belts while they look for a new one. In the interim, they have to be extremely careful with how much they spend as they’ve lost their main source of income.
Unfortunately, sometimes we must make sacrifices to avoid increased financial difficulty.
17. “Money to burn”
This means having plenty of money available to spend freely and generously. This saying is similar to the French expression “j’eter l’argent par les fenêtres” which translates “to throw money out the windows” which means to spend extravagantly.
18. “Money doesn’t grow on trees”
This means that money is usually earned through work, effort or value exchange. The saying is often said to encourage people to use their money wisely.
For example: If your child keeps nagging you to buy them new gadgets, toys and games every day, you have to sit him down and explain that money doesn’t grow on trees.
19. “Daylight robbery”
This refers to situations where goods or services are being sold at unfairly or outrageously high prices.
For example, a few mechanics or service businesses might overcharge their clients.
20. “To break even”
This means spending the same amount as you earn. This phrase can be applied to business as well as to personal finance matters.
The phrase is similar to “living cheque to cheque” which means making enough money to cover expenses without having any left to save.
Breaking even is nothing to be ashamed of – especially if your needs are met, and you’re not in debt or making a loss. Profits and savings can come with time.
21. “Born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth”
This describes a person or people born into wealth and financial security. If you never had to work for a day in your life, and just live off your parents’ money, you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth.
22. “Get your money’s worth”
This means getting a satisfactory amount of value, use or return from what you spend.
Nothing compares to the feeling one gets when great satisfaction is received after a purchase or a service rendered.
23 “To cost an arm and a leg”
This saying is used to describe something very expensive.
The phrase is similar to the French expression “Ça coûte la peau des fesses” which translates means “to cost the skin of your buttocks”
For example, replacing a computer might cost you an arm and a leg because it will require more money.
24. “Nest egg”
This is a reserve of money held for future use – such as emergencies, retirement or education fees.
Having a nest egg is an example of financial planning, and can provide a safety net in the event of a financial crisis. Many people rely on their nest eggs once they decide to stop working.
25. “From rags to riches”
This means going from poverty to wealth.
Oprah Winfrey, Celine Dione and Academy award winning actress Viola Davis all grew up in poverty; those are rags-to-riches stories.
26. “Chicken feed”
This is used to describe a very small amount of money, often the absolute minimum amount. The word “peanuts” is often used in the same way as chicken feed.
27. “To Feel like a million dollars”
This means to feel on top of the world – attractive, healthy and happy. The song “Million Dollar Bill” by Whitney Houston is about this saying.
28. “To write a blank cheque”
This means presenting someone with a cheque that has the amount left blank so that it can be written out for the desired amount.
By extension, the more figurative meaning is the freedom or permission to spend as much money or use as many resources as needed to pursue a goal.
29. “Break the bank”
This means spending or using up all of your money or savings.
The term comes from gambling, meaning someone has won more than the betting shop or gambling house can pay.
30. “Buy for an apple and an egg”
This is a translation of the Dutch phrase “Iets voor een appel en een ei kopen”, meaning to buy something at a very low cost.
It’s similar to the English expressions “a bargain” or “a steal”.
31. “To burn a hole in your pocket”
This means to have money that you are very eager to spend.
32. “Bring home the bacon”
This means to provide the money that keeps the household going.
33. “Pick up the tab”
This means to pay the cost of something, as at a restaurant or bar, especially as a treat or favour for someone else.
The BonsaïMoney team is on a mission to make you and your money smarter with daily BonsaïBriefs delivered to you in just one minute. Listen to our one-minute podcast, BonsaïBriefs, for more simplified money tips!