scratch by(redirected from someone scratches by)
To manage to survive or narrowly meet all of one's living requirements, despite having limited funds or resources. Since John lost his job, we've had to scratch by on what's left of our savings. When I was in college, I scratched by on what I could earn as a part-time line cook.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.