(from) hand to mouth

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(from) hand to mouth

With just the bare minimum of money, food, or resources to survive, with little or nothing else to spare. Usually preceded by "live." It's been pretty hand to mouth these days. If I don't find work soon, I don't know how we'll get by. With another child on the way, it looks like we'll be living from hand to mouth for the foreseeable future.
See also: hand, mouth

hand to mouth, from

With only the bare essentials, existing precariously. For example, After she lost her job she was living from hand to mouth. This expression alludes to eating immediately whatever is at hand. [c. 1500]
See also: hand

(from) hand to mouth

satisfying only your immediate needs because of lack of money for future plans and investments.
1960 Lynne Reid Banks The L-Shaped Room I'm twenty-eight years old and I'm still living from hand to mouth like a bloody tramp.
See also: hand, mouth
References in periodicals archive ?
They are living from hand to mouth, never certain from where the next meal might come.
Let the MPs live in the real world, living from hand to mouth, or from week to week not resting on their laurels.
Chelsea and Manchester United are world class sides built on money and shrewd planning, while Newcastle live from hand to mouth.
"But with savings rates at all-time lows, many retirees are literally living from hand to mouth every month.
I think it would be only fitting for the Baltic, to showcase his work, and remind Geordies just how far they have come from the days of grim survival and living from hand to mouth.
Nigel Brittle, of Combined Insurance, said: "Many people are simply living from hand to mouth. The nation is living on the edge."