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Thursday, September 17, 2015

to scrape together

Idiom: to scrape together (used as a verb)

First Example:
The college students didn't think they'd have enough money to pay their rent. They sold some stuff and borrowed from their parents and they finally scraped together what they needed just in time.

Meaning: The expression "to scrape together" means to gather together or make something with difficulty.  The expression is used when trying to collect enough of something from limited resources. Most commonly, as in the case above, it's used with money.

Second Example:
            Christina: There's nothing to eat. Want to order a pizza?
            Lisa: I'd rather save money. What's in the cupboard? Maybe we can scrape something together.
            Christina: Not much. There's some pasta.
            Lisa: Great! Is there any olive oil?
            Christina: Yeah, I think so. 
            Lisa: And this tomato is good. We have dinner!

Meaning: In the second example, Lisa says that they can "scrape something together", meaning dinner.  This means that despite Christina saying there is nothing to eat, Lisa thinks they can gather together enough food to make them dinner. Also notice that the expression can be separated with a noun.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

to live within one's means

Idiom: to live within one's means (used as a verb)

First Example:
Angela is in debt. She hasn't been living within her means this past year, using credit cards to pay for everything. Now she has to move back into her parents' house so she can save money on rent and use it pay off her credit cards instead.

Meaning: The expression "to live within one's means" means to only spend the money you have.  In the example above, Angela was not living within her means, so she built up excessive debt.

Second Example:
            Tim: Hey, want to hang out tonight? I heard about this great new restaurant
            Brad: No, I'm trying to save money, so I'm not going out to eat.
            Tim: But you can go out occasionally.
            Brad: I've been focusing on living within my means. I paid off all my credit cards, and I don't want any more debt.
            Tim: That's responsible of you. 
            Brad: But if you want, we can still hang out. We can make dinner at my place.
            Tim: That sounds cool. What time should I come by? 

Meaning: In the second example, Brad says that he is trying to live within his means. He has paid off his debts and is trying to avoid any more.  This means that he will only spend what he has.