Colourful idiomatic phrases often confuse children and need some form of explanation. As adults, we become used to them but they can be difficult to explain to children. This is the second part in our Money Idioms series covers Financial Investment and Accounting Idioms. See the first part: Cold Hard Cash Idioms, which covers Cash and Currency Idioms and its Quiz.
An idiom is a combination of words with a meaning that is different from the meanings of the individual words. It may have a literal meaning (that is, the basic meaning of the words) or an idiomatic meaning (which is different from the exact meaning of the words). It is a phrase that does not always follow the normal rules of meaning and grammar. They make great discussion topics for children.
Financial Investment Idioms
- worth more than average, above normal, more than the face value of a bond or stock or currency
The currency was selling above par at the small money exchange store.
- worth less than average, below normal, less than the face value of a bond or stock
The government bonds were selling at a price below par.
cash in something, or cash something in
- to exchange coupons or bonds for their value in money
I cashed in my savings bonds in order to have some money to buy a car.
at a premium
- at a higher price than usual because of something special
The tickets for the front row seats were selling at a premium.
- (for money) to earn interest while it is on deposit at a bank
We put the money into our bank account to draw interest and make more .
- to reach the lowest point
The value of the company’s stock appeared to bottom out last month. It is now rising.
- the value or price printed on a stamp, coin, paper money or bond.
The face value of the old stamp was very low but it was worth a lot of money.
- the current rate
The going rate for a used car is low compared to a new one.
- the money that someone has saved up
I saved my nest egg when I was working and I am now able to pay for school.
play the market
- to invest, or buy and sell in the stock market
My mother likes to play the market and sometimes makes a lot of money.
quote a price
- to say, in advance, how much something will cost
I asked the salesman to quote a price for the carpeting.
take a beating
- to lose much money
My friend took a beating in the stock market and no longer buys stocks.
balance the books/accounts
- to make sure that all money is accounted for by using generally accepted accounting methods
The small business owner works very hard to balance the books of her company.
- to have income equal to expenses
Our company was able to break even after only six months of operation.
- the final result, the main point
The bottom line was that we could not attend the event because of our busy schedule.
- the line in a financial statement that shows the final result, net income or loss
The bottom line in the company’s financial statement was better than expected.
cook the books/accounts
- to illegally change information in the accounts of a company, to record false numbers in the accounting books in a company
The accountant was cooking the books for more than one year before he was caught.
cut one’s losses
- to reduce one’s losses of money or other thing of value
The owners decided to sell the house in order to cut their losses.
- to lose all your money, to declare bankruptcy
My uncle started a company last year, but he quickly lost it all and went broke.
have one’s hand in the till
- to be stealing money from a company or an organization
The manager had his hand in the till so we had to fire him.
have sticky fingers
- to be a thief, or to steal
The new employee has sticky fingers and many things in the store have disappeared.
- owing money
The man is in debt already and cannot pay all his bills.
- exchange for goods or services rather than money
I paid for the work on my car in kind by doing some landscaping for the mechanic.
in the black
- to be profitable, to make money
Our company has been in the black since it started.
in the red
- to be unprofitable, to be losing money, to be in debt
The company has been in the red for several months now and may soon go bankrupt.
- to keep records of money that is earned and spent
Our accountant is carefully keeping books of all the financial transactions of our company.
on a budget
- a predetermined amount of money that you can or want to spend for something
The man has no job and now the family is on a budget.
The university student has no income and is on a budget.
- using credit to buy and pay for something in the future
I bought the new stereo on credit.
- for sale at a discounted price
The DVD’s were on sale when I bought them.
- the amount of money spent on incidental expenses for a specified project usually out of one’s personal account to be repaid by the employer.
My out-of-pocket expenses for the business trip were very low.
pad the bill
- to add false expenses to a bill
The plumber was padding the bill with pieces not used and hours not worked.
square accounts with (someone)
- to settle one’s financial obligations with someone
I went in to pay last month’s bill and square accounts with the company.