live on the smell of an oil rag

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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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