Some words are used frequently with money expressions. Let’s take a look at them and their meaning with some picture examples:

‘cheap’ idioms

Everybody loves a bargain, don’t they? ‘Cheap’ refers to the price of a product or service. If something is cheap, it’s not very expensive/costs very little compared to similar products/services.

HOP TIP – The ‘ch’ is pronounced like ‘chuh’. Here’s a link to a video of the different ways you can pronounce ‘ch’.

cheap idioms and sayings
cheap idioms - as cheap as chips
cheap idioms - cheapskate
cheap idioms and sayings - dirt cheap
cheap idioms - don’t-doesn’t come cheap
cheap idioms and sayings - won’t break the bank
cheap idioms and sayings - for a song

‘cost’ phrases

The cost of something is the amount of money that needs to be paid to acquire a product or service. These idioms are all about the cost/amount of something.

HOT TIP – When talking about the cost of something, it’s always in the third person ‘it’ (present tense). So, don’t forget to add the ‘s’ onto cost. For example

  • It costs £4 for a pint in my local.
  • My therapist costs $50 an hour.
cost idioms and phrases
cost idioms - cost a pretty penny
cost idioms - cost an arm and a leg
cost phrases - cost peanuts
cost idioms - charge the earth
cost phrases - face value
cost phrases - set one back
cost idioms - to the tune of

‘earn’ idioms

‘Earn’ is to obtain money by doing some work or providing a service. For example:

  • My boss gave me an extra £500 this month, he said I earnt it
  • If I do 1 hour overtime every day, I’ll earn an extra £350.


Earn is an irregular verb in British English but regular in American English.

HOT TIP – There’s a difference between ‘earn’ and ‘win’. To win means to gain something by luck such as entering a competition and receiving a prize. For example:

  • I won £300,000 on the lottery.
  • If I win the race, I’ll get a trophy.

Spanish speakers if you’re reading, this is for you, de nada.

There are many phrases we use to talk about ‘earning money’. Let’s take a look.

earn idioms and expressions
earn idioms - bread and butter
earn expressions - breadwinner
idioms for earning money - bring home the bacon
idioms for earning money - make ends meet
idioms for earning money - make/earn a living
idioms for earning money - on the breadline

‘pay’ idioms

‘To pay’ is to hand over your hard-earned cash in exchange for a product or service. For example:

  • I paid £20 for a wash, cut and blow dry.
  • If you ruin my white coat, you’ll have to pay for the dry cleaning.
idioms and phrases with pay
pay idioms - chip in
pay idioms - cough up
pay idioms - foot the bill
sayings about spending money - fork out
pay idioms - go Dutch
pay phrases - grease one’s palm
pay idioms - If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys
pay phrases - pay one’s dues
pay idioms - pay one’s way
pay phrases - pay someone off
pay phrases - pay the price
pay phrases - pay through the nose
pay idioms - pay top dollar
pay idioms - pay up-front
pay idioms - pick up the tab

‘spend’ idioms

Once you’ve earnt it, it’s time to spend it! ‘To spend’ is to hand over money in exchange for a product or service. For example:

  • I spent all my money down the boozer, now i can’t afford to buy groceries.
  • If you spend all week revising, you’ll be prepared for the exam


HOT TIP – ‘Spend’; is also used to describe the way we use our time. For example: I’ve spent the whole weekend binge-watching Netflix.

sayings about spending money
sayings about spending money - fork out
spend idioms - spend a penny meaning
sayings about spending money - spending money
spend idioms - spend money like water
sayings about spending money - splash out