Let’s Keep a Lid on Spending – English Idioms for Company Budgets and Spending

Keeping within budget is always a nightmare for companies taking on big projects. Here is a list of idioms that you can use when you are getting close to exceeding it!  

have room for manoeuvre

If we have room for manoeuvre, it means we have opportunities to change something, or find different ways of doing something. This can be applied to budgeting very nicely. If we still have some money left in our budget, then we can change where we allocate the money.

“We have some room for manoeuvre on materials”

“We still have some budget left so there is some room for manoeuvre”

to have a buffer

A buffer in this case is a contingency.  Extra money set aside in case we go over budget:

“We have a $2m buffer just in case we encounter any problems in the project”

“We don’t want to break into our $2m buffer so early in the construction”

a ballpark figure

A ballpark figure is an approximate figure:

“Do we have a  ballpark figure on how much the service will cost”

“Could you give us a ballpark figure on how much budget we have remaining”

keep a lid on

This means to stop something from going out of control.  This is naturally very common with spending and budgets!

“We need to keep a lid on our spending”

to go through the roof

When figures, prices or spending goes through the roof, it means that they have reached unexpected highs:

“Our spending on this project has gone through the roof”

to break the bank

If something will break the bank, it means that it will cost more than we can afford.

“If we pay for an expensive venue it will break the bank”

This can also be used in the negative form

“If we buy slightly more expensive materials it won’t break the bank”

to pay through the nose for

to pay through the nose for something means to pay a lot more than what would be a fair price

“We don’t want to pay through the nose for services that we do not need”

“Due to the poor state of the economy, we are paying through the nose for items that used to be relatively cheap”

If you would like me to give a more detailed explanation of these words, or if you would like to see some more examples, feel free send me an email at [email protected], or message me on Skype at live:fluencyspace! Check out more useful idioms here!


 David Cox

 Fluency Space

 Make the world your fluency space. Business English for career and life success

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