spoil the ship for a hap'orth of tar

spoil the ship for a hap'orth of tar

to spoil something big or important by refusing to spend a small amount of money or make a small amount of effort They spent millions on a wonderful architect-designed building, but they've bought really cheap furniture. It's just spoiling the ship for a hap'orth of tar.
See also: of, ship, spoil, tar