tighten belt


tighten one’s belt


  • to save your money
  • to use less of something
  • to spend less money that you used to, because you have less
  • lower your standard of living
  • spend less than you did before because you have less money

Example Sentences

  1. I have had to tighten my belt since I lost my job at the ice cream factory.
  2. Most people need to tighten the belt during economic slowdown.
  3. My husband has told me to tighten my belt, as I am spending more money than I am earning in a month.
  4. Our company has tightened its belt, by refusing to pay bonuses to all of the employees this year.
  5. Buying a new car has cost us a lot of money, it has meant that we will have had to tighten our belt for the next few months.
  6. My parents have had to tighten their belts since retiring.


The idiom originated during the Great depression. The great depression started in the 1920s in America, after the stock market crashed on 24 October 1929.

When people had a lot to eat they were said to have a good meal under their belt, but if you could not afford to purchase food you would go hungry. You would then have to tighten your belt, because your pants were falling off due to weight loss.

Share your opinions1 Opinion

I wonder too about how belt-tightening can help decrease the feeling of hunger when you don’t have enough food.

‒ Sherrie July 2, 2020

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