penny-wise and pound-foolish

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penny-wise and pound-foolish

So concerned with saving money in any way possible that one fails to allocate money to things that will ultimately force one to spend more (due to lack of quality, proper maintenance, etc.). I know you don't want to pay for this expensive course of treatment, but when ignoring your health lands you in the hospital and you have to miss work, you'll see that you were penny-wise and pound-foolish.
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Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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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McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
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.

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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Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

penny wise and pound foolish

careful and economical in small matters while being wasteful or extravagant in large ones.
See also: and, foolish, penny, pound, wise
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

penny ˌwise (and) pound ˈfoolish

used to say that somebody is very careful about small matters but much less sensible about larger, more important things: When it comes to a used car, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Spend the money to have the vehicle checked out.
See also: foolish, penny, pound, wise
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

penny wise and pound foolish

Penurious about small expenses and extravagant with large ones. That such a course is to be deplored was already made clear in the sixteenth century and was soon transferred to the foolishness of being fastidious about unimportant matters and careless about important ones. In The Spectator of 1712 Joseph Addison wrote, “I think 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.”
See also: and, foolish, penny, pound, wise
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The whole approach has been pennywise and pound foolish. "They have been getting rid of front line staff and getting agencies to supplement them.
Local MSP Jean Turner, who represents Strathkelvin and Bearsden, branded the cuts "pennywise and pound foolish".