“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”
This is the fictional Mr Micawber speaking in Charles Dickens’ novel, David Copperfield. In the days when it was written, there were debtors’ prisons and everyone had to try to live within their means or risk being thrown into one. I wonder what the world economic situation would be if these principles had continued to be applied (without the horror of debtors’ prisons).
In case you are unfamiliar with British pre-decimal currency the amounts mentioned ar £19 19s. 6d and £20 0s. 6d. There were 20 shillings in £1 and 12 pence in one shilling. For completeness the abbreviation d. for penny goes back to Roman times when it stood for denarius. And we all did money sums in our heads long before there were electronic calculators!
Money makes the world go round.
Not according to the Bible. Psalm 104 describes God’s creative and sustaining power.
Where there’s muck there’s brass.
This is an expression from the North of England, where money was often referred to as brass. It is true that scrap-dealers or rag-and-bone men, who went round with a horse and cart, shouting “Any old iron?” could always make a good living.
Beachcombers might find old rope on the beach and if they can sell it, it is all profit. So any business, which is profitable without much apparent effort can be money for old rope.
Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.
If you manage to save a few pence regularly, you will soon have amassed a larger sum. Nowadays the plural of penny is almost always pence.
Save up for a rainy day.
The roof might leak and it will be costly to repair. Or some other misfortune might befall you and a contingency fund would come in handy.
Cut your coat according to your cloth.
If you only have limited resources you must budget accordingly. A dressmaker would not be able to make a flared or long coat out of too small a piece of material.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
I imagine a farmer’s wife with a basket full of eggs covered with a white cloth. If there is an accident with it, all the eggs could be smashed and her complete profits gone. Equally savings and investments should be made in a balanced portfolio.
Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Are there other prescriptions to improve your bank balance?
I’d bet my bottom dollar.
This saying has more to do with conviction than with money. “I am so sure about this that I’d put all my money down as a bet.”
In for a penny, in for a pound.
Another expression which has moved away from its origins to describe total involvement.
A penny for your thoughts.
This was often said to me, but the penny was never forthcoming. Perhaps I didn’t divulge what I was thinking about either!
He drives a hard bargain.
It isn’t a bargain at all if the price has been pushed upwards beyond what the market will bear.
His money’s burning holes in his pockets.
He has trouble saving his money.
He’s on the fiddle.
Not a violin. Some sort of financial dishonesty is going on.
Not for love nor money.
Nothing will persuade me to do that.
Money is the root of all evil.
This is a common misquotation. The original can be found in 1 Timothy Ch 6 v 10 (NIV) “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
That put paid to that.
Something was prevented from happening. The analogy is with an invoice book, where once the copy of the invoice is marked, “Paid,” no further action is required.
He’s had a windfall.
I’m not sure how fallen fruit is connected with an unexpected financial gain.
Mind your own business.
Keep your nose out of other people’s affairs.
Look for the best deal.
By buying fruit and vegetables at reduced prices in the market of a neighbouring town, my mother used to save more than the cost of her bus-fares to get there and back. Otherwise it wasn’t worth making the journey and carrying the produce home. At a different level this phrase could refer to stock markets.
Pay the price.
Price or penalty?
This refers to going without something to provide something else.
A fair price.
Neither the seller nor the buyer could quibble at this.
Just means fair and deserts means what you deserve. This isn’t usually about money!
A fully-paid up member
This one is perhaps about more than money- beliefs as well.
A bit pricey…
…the price seems high.