live on the smell of an oil rag

live on the smell of an oil rag

To live very frugally, economically, or sparingly; to survive with very meager resources. Primarily heard in Australia, Canada. I spent a year travelling abroad, and I lived on the smell of an oil rag to get by. We're going to have to live on the smell of an oil rag now that we have a fourth baby on the way.
See also: live, of, oil, on, rag, smell

live (or survive) on the smell of an oil rag

live in conditions of extreme want. Australian
See also: live, of, oil, on, rag, smell