make (both) ends meet

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make (both) ends meet

To earn just enough money to pay one's bills. To make ends meet, Phil picked up a second job delivering pizzas. After the large income tax hike, many people suddenly found it difficult to make both ends meet.
See also: end, make, meet
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

make (both) ends meet

Fig. to earn and spend equal amounts of money. (Usually in reference to a meager living with little if any money after basic expenses.) I have to work at two jobs to make ends meet. Through better budgeting, I am learning to make both ends meet.
See also: end, make, meet
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

make ends meet

Manage so that one's financial means are enough for one's needs, as in On that salary Enid had trouble making ends meet. This expression originated as make both ends meet, a translation from the French joindre les deux bouts (by John Clarke, 1639). The ends, it is assumed, allude to the sum total of income and expenditures. However, naval surgeon and novelist Tobias Smollett had it as "make the two ends of the year meet" ( Roderick Random, 1748), thought to go back to the common practice of splicing rope ends together in order to cut shipboard expenses.
See also: end, make, meet
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

make ends meet

COMMON If you find it difficult to make ends meet, you find it difficult to pay for the things you need in life, because you have very little money. Many people are struggling to make ends meet because wages are failing to keep pace with rising prices. He has trouble making ends meet because he can't find work and his government check is barely enough to cover the rent. Note: Originally, this expression was `make both ends of the year meet', which meant to spend only as much money as you received as income.
See also: end, make, meet
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

make (both) ends meet

earn or have enough money to live on without getting into debt.
1996 Amitav Ghosh The Calcutta Chromosome Actually I think she's having trouble making ends meet, now that she's retired.
See also: end, make, meet
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

make (both) ends ˈmeet

earn enough to pay your living expenses: Since I lost my job, I’m finding it harder to make ends meet.
See also: end, make, meet
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

make ends meet

To manage so that one's means are sufficient for one's needs.
See also: end, make, meet
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
It was with the finance provided by this owner that the entire group is making both ends meet presently in Kish, they said.
"This is not about them making both ends meet but the problem creates a generation of children who grow up with psychological problems when they feel they have been deprived financially while they were growing.
There is also the burden of making both ends meet. Gulzar Ahmed, from Kashmir is an artiste who performs the Hafiz Nagma playing the female lead, dressed in colourful attire.
Petrasanta filed a motion on Monday asking the Sandiganbayan for a 50-percent reduction in his P730,000 bail, saying he was 'finding difficulty making both ends meet.'
Petrasanta and his co-accused have said they were having a difficult time 'making both ends meet' after they paid their bail bonds since they were dismissed from the service and stripped of their retirement benefits by the Ombudsman due to a separate administrative offense for a P100-million shady deal with a private courier firm for firearms and licenses.
Friday during which his wife complained about having a hard time making both ends meet.
I just shook my head thinking of the many families having a difficult time making both ends meet because they were not educated on family planning.