on a shoestring


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.
Related to on a shoestring: keep the wolf from the door, living on a shoestring

on a shoestring

On or within a very tight or limited financial budget. We were living on a shoestring for a while after our baby was born, but, luckily, I got a promotion, and our situation has improved a bit. I'd love to come out to dinner with you, but I'm on a bit of a shoestring at the moment.
See also: on, 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.
See also: on, shoestring

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]
See also: on, shoestring

on a shoestring

COMMON If you do something on a shoestring, you do it using very little money. The theatre was always run on a shoestring. Newly divorced with two children to raise, she was living on a shoestring. Note: You can use shoestring before a noun. Both films were made on a shoestring budget. McNair says he will continue his shoestring campaign in every part of Alabama. Note: In American English, shoelaces are called shoestrings. The reference here is to the very small amount of money that is needed to buy shoelaces.
See also: on, shoestring

on a shoestring

on a small or inadequate budget.
Shoestring is a North American term for a shoelace, and the expression suggests metaphorically the ‘thinness’ of financial resources.
See also: on, shoestring

(do something) on a ˈshoestring

(informal) (do something) with very little money: In the early years, the business was run on a shoestring.
See also: on, shoestring

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