Business English: Expressions for money problems

The business world is full of idioms to describe finance. Rather than saying “the company is having financial problems” or “the company is not making money,” the business world uses inventive idioms to express financial woe. The following list includes some of the many sayings for money problems in English. Hopefully you will only use these expressions to describe the competition’s business, rather than your own!

Expressions for Money Problems 

Tighten your belts

Definition: to spend less; to decrease the budget

Example: After last quarter’s report, it looks like we have to tighten our belts for the rest of the year.

To be hard up (for money/cash)

Definition: to need money that you don’t have 

Example: Three of their departments closed and a lot of their inventory is on sale. It looks like they are hard up for cash at the moment.

To be dead broke 

Definition: to have no money 

Example: He never saved any money, and then he got fired. Now he can’t find a job and he’s dead broke.

You can’t give (something) away

Definition: when something is so worthless that it can’t be sold

Example: I remember when everyone wanted last year’s “hot” toy. Now you can’t give it away.

To be worth pennies

Definition: to have very little value 

Example: My computer was expensive when I bought it. Now it’s worth pennies.

A saturated market

Definition: a market that has too much of a specific product

Example: The market was saturated with tablets and e-readers after the success of the Kindle.

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