tighten one's belt


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tighten (one's) belt

To reduce, restrict, or limit one's budget; to live more modestly or make financial sacrifices. A: "I don't know what we'll do now that you lost your job." B: "Don't worry, we just need to tighten our belts for a while. Living on my own during college taught me how to tighten my belt and get by on not very much.
See also: belt, tighten

tighten one's belt

Spend less, be more frugal, as in Business has been bad, so we'll have to tighten our belts. This metaphoric term alludes to pulling in one's belt after losing weight from not having enough to eat. [First half of 1900s]
See also: belt, tighten

tighten one's belt, to

To be more frugal; to undergo adversity with patience. The analogy here is to tightening one’s belt after losing weight from going hungry. The London Observer of 1927 described “A traveling troupe who quoted Corneille while tightening their belts.”
See also: tighten