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To assess costs or fees in enough small amounts that it adds up to a substantial sum. Between the increases in property tax, sales tax, and income tax, I feel like the government is trying nickel-and-dime us to death. That phone company is nickel-and-diming their customers with all those fees.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

nickel-and-dime someone (to death)

Fig. to make numerous small monetary charges that add up to a substantial sum. Those contractors nickel-and-dimed me to death. Just give me the whole bill at one time. Don't nickel-and-dime me for days on end.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

nickel and dime

1. If you describe something as nickel and dime, you mean that it is not important or serious, or involves only small amounts of money. Note: A nickel is a five cent coin and a dime is a ten cent coin. I want to keep the campaign on the issues that matter. I'm not interested in that nickel and dime stuff. Some claim the company's nickel-and-dime charges are driving away sellers of inexpensive items. Note: You can also say nickel-dime with the same meaning. It's nickel-dime stuff, though, compared to what you and Michael have to deal with.
2. If someone nickels and dimes someone or something, they harm them by continually taking small amounts of money away from them, or by continually making small changes or requests. Note: A nickel is a five cent coin and a dime is a ten cent coin. The claims aren't huge but there are a lot of them and it all adds up. We're getting nickeled and dimed to death.
See also: and, dime, nickel
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012


involving only a small amount of money; not important: I’m going to make serious money this time. No more no nickel-and-dime stuff for me. ▶ ˌnickel-and-ˈdime verb charge many small fees which add up to a large amount in total: Unlike other companies, we charge a flat fee so we won’t nickel-and-dime you to death.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
"We're not trying to nickel-and-dime the loss we've faced here," said Tetreault who, along with other team members, formed an emergency plan to try to minimize the damage to the theatre.
According to Hall, "The foundry will provide good upfront costs on tooling and then nickel-and-dime the customer to death on things such as scrap surcharges to increase revenue." The result is a lose-lose situation for the foundry and the industry as the customer feels cheated.
An even more interesting question, from the viewpoint of the investment house, is whether the passport would be worth the nickel-and-dime nitpicking the Fed requires from the progenitors of bank holding companies.
More to stop nickel-and-dime trailer courts, subdivisions, and septic tanks at streamside than trout and bass organizations?
"We're nickel-and-dime guys--just small-time hustlers who got caught because we're hustling nickels and dimes."
And although private payers can nickel-and-dime and engage in all kinds of guerrilla cost containment, public payers can take more direct action, which has happened with both Medicare and Medicaid.
We are ready to be your agency in France." Getting telexes from nine or 10 cities at once was very flattering and very impressive to a communication manager with a nickel-and-dime budget.