(to be) penny wise and pound foolish

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - penny wise and pound foolish

"(to be) penny wise and pound foolish"

to be extremely careful about small amounts of money and not careful enough about larger amounts of money


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - penny wise and pound foolish

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  These cheap pencils are driving me crazy. The lead keeps breaking and I seem to spend a lot of time sharpening them.

Colleague 2:  Management sure is cheap with the small stuff. The difference between a cheap pencil and a good one is pennies.

Colleague 1:  Yet, management insists on using very expensive couriers to send printed documents when the postal system would work just as well at a fraction of the cost. Most of the documents are not time-sensitive anyways.

Colleague 2:  Management is penny wise and pound foolish.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - penny wise and pound foolish

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  Aren't you going to do some of these minor repairs around your house?

Friend 2:  I don't want to spend the money.

Friend 1:  That is being penny wise and pound foolish. Doing some minor repairs now will only cost a small amount of money but if you do nothing, you will have some major repair bills to pay later.

(to be) penny wise and pound foolish - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   53   click for frequency by country

(to be) penny wise and pound foolish - Gerund Form:

Being penny wise and pound foolish, she saved her old shoelaces yet spent three hundred dollars on a new pair of shoes.

(to be) penny wise and pound foolish - Examples:

1)  ... save money by not covering cancer-prevention services are being penny-wise and pound-foolish," Gross said. "They may save money today, but it will cost much more in the future."

2)  ... describes the ministry as being "penny wise and pound foolish." " If we don't invest in our children now we pay ..."

3)  It is penny wise and pound foolish to spoil China-Canada ties with these domestic concerns in Canada.

4)  So let us implement the whole system instead of being penny wise and pound foolish.

5)  However, in almost all respects, this is penny wise and pound foolish. The taxpayer benefits of rapid transit -- both from an infrastructure and environmental perspective ...

6)  ... a lower premium. But it's a case of penny wise and pound foolish. If your car is damaged in an accident, having to fork out tens ...

7)  The Province is being penny wise and pound foolish. Rather than allocate the required funds to repair a building it already owns, ...

8)  ... revenue from multiple visits. However, the Europeans are being penny wise and pound foolish with their policy of short- term visas.

9)  ... invest in this, we're going to keep on being penny wise and pound foolish. He said addiction has historically not been viewed as a public health ...

10)  ... only going to get worse. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish; utilise the reaction companies, stop complaining about the price.

11)  ... be (that) we need to invest and not be penny wise and pound foolish.

12)  ... motorists dodging charge doubles since end of the tax disc. Penny wise and pound foolish? Does the cost of taking enforcement action against the greatly increased numbers of defaulters ...

13)  ... but it would be penny wise and pound foolish to ignore needed upgrades on the two roads that continue to be a major catalyst ...

14)  We believe it is easy to be penny wise and pound foolish with respect to benefits that can save employees considerable time and improve their health and ...

15)  ... will have brownouts or blackouts during peak periods. It sounds penny wise and pound foolish to me.

16)  ... inefficient and expensive to operate, and we're being penny wise and pound foolish because we save money when we replace those old buses.

17)  ... sees it as a case of being penny wise and pound foolish. If you're saving money on not doing (cataract) surgery ...

18)  Deferral of maintenance is penny wise and pound foolish.

19)  ... because it would just be a case of being penny wise and pound foolish (i.e. saving money by buying what is cheap, yet useless). 

20)  It's penny wise and pound foolish to cut back recess and put in academic time. Because, in the end ...