penny-wise and pound-foolish

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penny-wise and pound-foolish

So concerned with saving money that one ignores larger problems and ultimately ends up spending more. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. I know you don't want to pay for this expensive course of treatment, but when ignoring your health lands you in the hospital, you'll see that you were penny-wise and pound-foolish.
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penny-wise and pound-foolish

Prov. thrifty with small sums and foolish with large sums. (Describes someone who will go to a lot of trouble to save a little money, but overlooks large expenses to save a little money. Even in the United States, the reference is to British pounds sterling.) Sam: If we drive to six different grocery stores, we'll get the best bargains on everything we buy. Alan: But with gasoline so expensive, that's penny-wise and pound-foolish.
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penny wise and pound foolish

Stingy about small expenditures and extravagant with large ones, as in Dean clips all the coupons for supermarket bargains but insists on going to the best restaurants-penny wise and pound foolish . This phrase alludes to British currency, in which a pound was once worth 240 pennies, or pence, and is now worth 100 pence. The phrase is also occasionally used for being very careful about unimportant matters and careless about important ones. It was used in this way by Joseph Addison in The Spectator (1712): "A woman who will give up herself to a man in marriage where there is the least Room for such an apprehension ... may very properly be accused ... of being penny wise and pound foolish." [c. 1600]
See also: and, foolish, penny, pound, wise

penny-wise and pound-foolish

mainly BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If someone is penny-wise and pound-foolish, they are very careful about small amounts of money but not careful enough about large amounts. If we had employed a good accountant, we would never have lost the money. In other words, we have been penny-wise and pound-foolish here. We are being penny wise and pound foolish, trying to save a few dollars and hastening the time when we are going to have another accident.
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