earn keep

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earn (one's) keep

To perform sufficient work or help in exchange for money or housing. If you're going to live here rent-free, then you need to earn your keep by helping out with the cooking and cleaning. That boarder earns his keep by doing maintenance in the building.
See also: earn, keep
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

earn one's keep

to help out with chores in return for food and a place to live; to earn one's pay by doing what is expected. I earn my keep at college by shoveling snow in the winter. Tom hardly earns his keep around here. He should be fired.
See also: earn, keep
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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