pay (someone) peanuts

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pay (someone) peanuts

To pay (someone) a very paltry or miniscule amount; to pay the absolute minimum amount necessary. I had a few jobs during college getting paid peanuts, but it was the only work I could find that fit in with my studies. You're never going to be able to hire an effective manager if you're only willing to pay peanuts.
See also: pay, peanut