not have two nickels to rub together

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not have two nickels to rub together

To be extremely poor; to have very little or no money to spend. Primarily heard in US. During college, when I didn't have two nickels to rub together, I survived off of ramen noodles for months at a time. They used to be so well off, but the economy crashed and their business closed, and they don't have two nickels to rub together anymore.
See also: have, nickel, not, rub, together, two

not have two — to rub together

have none or hardly any of the specified items, especially coins. informal
1999 Independent Soon you realise you have as many troubles when you are rich as when you haven't two pennies to rub together.
See also: have, not, rub, together, two
References in periodicals archive ?
The 48-year-old actress explained that during her childhood, when they didn't have two nickels to rub together, her mother always made sure that she along with her sisters had two grosgrain ribbons in their hair.
Reflecting on those days many years later, the Baptist pastor remembers being "so poor I didn't have two nickels to rub together.
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