Fill in the blanks to form an idiom about money. The idioms used in this exercise are listed after the practice activity. It may be a good idea to study the list of idioms before trying the exercise.
Also see the Idioms Builder for practice with hundreds of idioms (including the idioms in this exercise).
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1. I just found out we could have gotten the same product for half the price. I can’t believe they ripped us _____ like that.CorrectIncorrect
2. My consulting business didn’t make money the first two years, but fortunately we’re in the _____ this year.CorrectIncorrect
3. Our profits weren’t very good this year. We’re not quite in the _____, but our profits are almost negligible.CorrectIncorrect
4. I don’t know if the price he quoted you is fair. I’m not sure what the _____ rate is for private English classes.CorrectIncorrect
5. The company paid for my airfare and the hotel, but I still had quite a few out of _____ expenses.CorrectIncorrect
6. I agree that we need to make secondary education more affordable, but I don’t think that the taxpayers should be the ones to pick up the _____.CorrectIncorrect
7. Sam tried to _____ a living as a writer, but he was never successful enough to make it a full-time career.CorrectIncorrect
8. Some recent college graduates are working two jobs just to make ends _____.CorrectIncorrect
9. Many people _____ broke trusting Bernie Madoff with their money.CorrectIncorrect
10. It’s a very good insurance policy, but it cost us an _____ and a leg.CorrectIncorrect
11. I like the iPhone, but I think you can get more bang for your _____ with other brands of smartphones.CorrectIncorrect
12. Yes, saving for retirement is important, but you don’t want to have to _____ pennies and worry about every dollar you spend.CorrectIncorrect
13. We’re willing to pay top _____ to fill this position with a qualified candidate.CorrectIncorrect
14. Last week a rare stamp sold for $250,000. I guess some people have more _____ than sense.CorrectIncorrect
15. This change is going to be tough because we’re used to having two incomes. We’re just going to have to tighten our _____ and reduce our standard of living.CorrectIncorrect
16. These are really important clients with deep _____. Let’s make sure we impress them.CorrectIncorrect
17. There weren’t many tourists here this year and many of the restaurants and cafes are struggling just to _____ even.CorrectIncorrect
18. I’m looking for a reliable PC that won’t _____ the bank.CorrectIncorrect
19. I’m not sure what it costs to lease an office in the downtown area. To give you a ballpark _____, I’d say about $15,000 per month. (two possible answers)CorrectIncorrect
20. They’re not extremely wealthy, but they are definitely well _____.CorrectIncorrect
21. Airlines frequently jack up the ______ of tickets during the holiday season.CorrectIncorrect
22. It’s very valuable. It’s worth its weight in _____.CorrectIncorrect
23. After losing his job, Stan was down and _____. He lost his house and narrowly avoided living on the street.CorrectIncorrect
24. He served some time in jail, but now he’s trying to get a job and make an honest _____.CorrectIncorrect
25. I’m trying to teach my 20-year-old son to be responsible with money and to live _____ his means.CorrectIncorrect
26. Paying for a gym membership and then not using it is stupid. Don’t you want to get your money’s ______?CorrectIncorrect
27. After years of saving, they finally have a _____ egg for retirement.CorrectIncorrect
28. Trying to make a living as an artist didn’t work out for Travis. He’s moving back in with his parents until he gets back on his _____.CorrectIncorrect
29. We can’t just throw _____ at this problem and expect to resolve it. We’re going to need a real strategy.CorrectIncorrect
30. That’s a really nice tie. How much did it _____ you back?CorrectIncorrect
31. Right now the family is living from hand to _____ off of what their father makes as a construction worker.CorrectIncorrect
32. I had to pay my car insurance bill this month and the water heater in my house broke. I’m a little strapped for _____ right now.CorrectIncorrect
33. Kevin’s totally broke. He doesn’t have two nickels to _____ together.CorrectIncorrect
34. During the Gold Rush, many people moved west hoping to strike it _____.CorrectIncorrect
35. Some companies have a slush _____ for paying off government officials.CorrectIncorrect
36. Carrie _____ a killing in the stock market this year. She’s either really good or really lucky.CorrectIncorrect
37. These tuition prices are outrageous. Students shouldn’t have to pay _____ the nose just to get a decent education.CorrectIncorrect
38. I had to work hard for years to get where I am. I wasn’t born with a silver _____ in my mouth.CorrectIncorrect
39. Unfortunately, if you want to do business here, you’re going to have to pay some people _____. Bribes are a part of doing business here.CorrectIncorrect
40. They paid him with a briefcase full of cold, _____ cash.CorrectIncorrect
41. Sure, the flight is cheap but they nickel and ____ you to death with small charges for everything. You even have to pay for your drinks and snacks during the flight.CorrectIncorrect
42. There isn’t a lot of regulation in this industry. It’s _____ beware.CorrectIncorrect
43. In the past, many men didn’t like it if their wives were the ones bringing home the _____ and providing financially for the family.CorrectIncorrect
44. Some corporations only care about the almighty _____, but I get the sense that this place is different.CorrectIncorrect
45. In your culture, do the bride’s parents typically foot the _____ for the wedding?CorrectIncorrect
46. Drug cartels often grease the _____ of government officials to avoid being arrested.CorrectIncorrect
47. Let’s hope the Olympics is good for the economy. The taxpayers are already a couple of billion dollars ____ the hole.CorrectIncorrect
48. Allen really needed the money, so he sold his website ____ peanuts.CorrectIncorrect
49. I’ve made bad investments before, but I’ve never _____ my shirt like I have on this deal.CorrectIncorrect
50. I thought my insurance policy was going to cover this, but unfortunately it looks like I’m going to have to cough ____ the money.CorrectIncorrect
Idioms about Money
Idioms for talking about tough financial situations/ poverty
To go broke means to lose all of one’s money.
tighten one’s belt
To tighten one’s belt means to spend less and have a lower standard of living.
down and out
Someone down and out is extremely impoverished.
from hand to mouth
If someone is living from hand to mouth, their salary immediately gets spent on basic necessities with little left over.
strapped for cash
Someone strapped for cash doesn’t have money to spend at the moment.
don’t/doesn’t have two nickels to rub together
Someone who doesn’t have two nickels to rub together is very poor.
lose one’s shirt
To lose one’s shirt means to lose a lot of money on a deal, transaction, investment, etc.
pinch pennies (noun form is penny pincher)
Someone who pinches pennies is extremely thrifty or frugal.
get back on one’s feet
To get back on one’s feet means to recover, usually from a tough financial situation.
in the hole
To be in the hole means to be in debt. We usually use this idiom with an amount of money. (Ex. We’re $5,000 in the hole already.)
Idioms for talking about good financial situations/wealth
Someone well off is fairly wealthy.
strike it rich
To strike it rich means to suddenly become wealthy.
make a killing
To make a killing means to make a lot of money on a deal, transaction, business, etc.
To have deep pockets means to be rich.
born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth
To be born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth means to be born wealthy and privileged.
Idioms for talking about payments
pick up the tab
To pick up the tab means to pay for something.
foot the bill
To foot the bill means to pay for something.
set (someone) back
To set someone back means to cost someone. (Ex. How much did your new car set you back?)
cough up the money (cough it up)
To cough up the money means to reluctantly pay for something.
pay through the nose
To pay through the nose means to pay an excessive amount for something.
cost an arm and a leg
Something that costs an arm and a leg is very expensive.
pay top dollar
To pay top dollar means to pay a lot of money.
break the bank
To break the bank means to spend too much money on something. We often use this idiom with “not” or “without.” (We’re looking for a solution that won’t break the bank, for example.)
Idioms for talking about profit and loss
in the black
In the black means making a profit.
in the red
In the red means not making a profit.
To break even means to neither operate at a profit or loss — income equals expenses.
Idioms for talking about corruption and dishonesty
rip someone off (noun form is a rip off)
To rip someone off means to take advantage of someone in a financial transaction.
A slush fund is money allotted for unofficial, corrupt, or illegal transactions.
We say buyer beware to communicate that the buyer is responsible for verifying the quality of goods.
grease someone’s palm
To grease someone’s palm means to pay someone a bribe.
pay someone off
To pay someone off means to pay someone a bribe.
Idioms for talking about financially providing for people
bring home the bacon
To bring home the bacon means to be the primary provider in the family.
make an honest living
To make an honest living means to make money by having a legitimate job and working hard at it.
make a living
To make a living means to make enough money to support oneself.
make ends meet
To make ends meet means to make enough to pay for one’s expenses and not go into debt.
Other idioms for talking about money
The going rate is the price that people normally pay for something.
out of pocket expenses
Out of pocket expenses are expenses that will not be reimbursed by one’s employer or organization.
bang for your buck
Bang for your buck means value for money.
get your money’s worth
To get your money’s worth means to get good value for what you pay.
more money than sense
We say someone has more money than sense when someone wastes money on something expensive.
A ballpark figure/number is a very inexact estimate.
A nest egg is money saved up for the future.
throw money at something
To throw money at something means to spend a lot of money trying to fix something without having a real plan.
cold, hard cash
Cold, hard cash means money in the form of bills or coins (as opposed to a credit card payment, a check, etc.).
nickel and dime someone (to death)
To nickel and dime someone means to charge small amounts for various things which add up to a real expense.
the almighty dollar
We use the expression the almighty dollar to communicate that making money is more important than anything else.
If something is sold for peanuts, it is sold at a price much lower than what it is worth.
worth its weight in gold
If something is worth its weight in gold, it is very valuable.
jack up the price
To jack up the price means to increase the price of something.
live within one’s means
To live within one’s means means to not spend more money than one has.
Also see the Idioms Builder for practice with hundreds of idioms (including the idioms in this exercise).