on a shoestring


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Related to on a shoestring: keep the wolf from the door, living on a shoestring

on a shoestring

Fig. with a very small amount of money. We lived on a shoestring for years before I got a good-paying job. John traveled to Florida on a shoestring.
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on a shoestring

by using very little money The theater company operates on a shoestring.
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on a shoestring

  (informal)
if you do something on a shoestring, you do it using very little money The restaurant is run on a shoestring, so we can't afford to take on any more staff.
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on a shoestring

With very limited financial means, as in The newlyweds were living on a shoestring. The precise allusion in this term is unclear. One fanciful theory is that debtors in British prisons would lower a shoe by its laces from a window so as to collect funds from visitors or passers-by. A more likely theory is that it alludes to the slender shape of a shoelace, likening it to slender resources. [Late 1800s]
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on a shoestring

mod. on practically no money; on a very tight budget. (see also shoestring.) I run my business on a shoestring. I never know from day to day whether I will survive.
See also: on, shoestring