It happens to me every month particularly the last week. I have a little amount of money. I have to manage the expenses till I get my salary. So I make such a small amount of money last for several days.

It happens not only in the matter of money but grocery items also. Is there any word to imply the activity "making something little last for several days"?

I need single word (a verb) for the verbal phrase 'make a small amount of money last for several days'.

  • A little stash to tide you over?
    – Ricky
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 11:32
  • An old one 'make do and mend' or just 'make do'. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/make-do Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 11:46
  • You ask for 'a word'. Do you want a noun, a verb or an adjective? How would you use the word in a sentence? Please give an example. Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 11:47
  • 4
    Making ends meet, stretching your dollar, tightening your belt, rationing, etc etc.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 11:47
  • 9
    "Stretch" is the first term that comes to mind.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 12:45

10 Answers 10


One useful word for "making something little last for several days" is eke, which is always used with an object and out.

[with object] (eke something out)
1 Make an amount or supply of something last longer by using or consuming it frugally:
the remains of yesterday’s stew could be eked out to make another meal

1.1 Manage to make a living with difficulty:
many traders barely eked out a living


You are eking out your salary and food.

  • 1
    Yes. The Old English word eke - to lengthen, or stretch out, maybe connected to the noun eke (Norse auke) meaning 'an increase', or 'piece added on'. It is interesting to me since my grandmother's maiden surname was Eke, and there were several families of them in the Norfolk villages round about her. In that case, however, I think the connection is to oak. I think I'm right in saying that it is the current Danish for oak.
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 12:06
  • 4
    I had an argument once with someone who insisted that it's an abbreviation of economise.
    – JHCL
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 12:11
  • @WS2 Not quite; the Danish for ‘oak’ is eg (plural ege); the Swedish word is ek, but its plural is ekar. So both are close, but not quite the same (and both they and English oak are of course etymologically unrelated). More interestingly, though, the same root/word also yielded the pre-Norse auk, which in time has yielded Danish/Norwegian/Icelandic/Faeroese og, Swedish och, meaning simply ‘and’. This is an almost identical development to the now archaic English word eke, meaning ‘also’: increase → addition → additionally → also → and. Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 12:59
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Any thoughts then about an English surname Eke? You mention that Danish eg and English oak are etymologically unrelated - but OED says under oak: Etymology: Cognate with Old Frisian ēk , Middle Dutch eike , eke (Dutch eik , †eek ), Old Saxon ēc (Middle Low German eik , ēk , eike , ēke ), Old High German eih , eihha (Middle High German eich , eiche , German Eiche ), Old Icelandic eik , Old Swedish ek (Swedish ek ), Danish eg ; (continued)
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 13:09
  • 1
    @WS2 The surname might well be related to the tree. The Scandiwegian and English words for oak are obviously related to each other; but they are not related to the root eke meaning ‘addition/increase’. Their Germanic preforms are *aik- and *auk-, respectively. Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 13:17

You want the idiomatic use of the verb stretch meaning "last or cause to last longer than expected." From Steven Smale: The Mathematician Who Broke the Dimension Barrier by Steve Batterso:

Determined to stretch the money as far as possible, he lived frugally in a tiny, windowless Greenwich Village apartment.

  • 1
    As a New Yorker that example does make me laugh. Even a tiny, windowless apartment is not going to support a frugal lifestyle if it's in Greenwich Village. A typical studio there is going to be tiny (though it'll have at least one window if it's legal) and go for about $2,500/mo. An illegal one like that, if you can find it, might get as low as $1,000/mo., maybe.
    – KRyan
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 20:59
  • 1
    @KRyan This was in the 1950s.
    – deadrat
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 21:06
  • oh, no doubt, I was just amused at how times have changed
    – KRyan
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 21:20
  • How do you 'stretch' laundries and groceries? Stretch is good for 'money' I think.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 4:40
  • 1
    The google finds plenty of instances for "stretch the groceries." I think you can stretch any scarce resource. That probably leaves laundries out.
    – deadrat
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 8:56

pinch pennies

: to stint on or be frugal or economical with expenditures; economize.

Random House

Also, scrimp or skimp (on)

: (used without object): to be sparing or frugal; economize (often followed by on): They scrimped and saved for everything they have. He spends most of his money on clothes, and scrimps on food.

: (used with object): to be sparing or restrictive of or in; limit severely: to scrimp food.


  • 11
    +1 for scrimp, which was the first thing that popped in to my mind. Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 13:00
  • frugal was what came to mind for me
    – Matt Wilko
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 13:10
  • +1 for scrimp. I think that's the word that sounds the most idiomatic, as in the common expression scrimp and save.
    – Nicole
    Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 22:14

Two that come to mind for me are conserve and scrimp. As the OP asks for a single word verb, I think conserve is probably a more well known verb, but scrimp may be the more closely matching one.

scrimp—verb—be thrifty or parsimonious; economize. (OD)

For the record, parsimonious means

parsimonious—adjective—unwilling to spend money or use resources; stingy or frugal. (Google)

Here is an example of usage of scrimp and save from Collins English Dictionary:

I'm glad the Italians didn't scrimp and save and move away, like the Whatchamacallits," said Anastasia, after two mouthfuls of spaghetti.

  • 1
    Scrimp is good -- and it's a verb. EDIT just saw that Elian already mentioned that before you.. Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 14:46
  • Can you supply the source for your definitions, please?
    – Hellion
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 16:24
  • @chaslyfromUK yep -- i didn't see it because their first word was "pinch pennies" as for the definitions, those are straight from google search results front page Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 19:50

Subsist is the word you are looking for as it means:

Maintain or support oneself, especially at a minimal level: ‘he subsisted on welfare and casual labour’

[Oxford Online Dictionary]

You can also use get by:

To subsist; to succeed, survive, or manage, at least at a minimal level. Do you think they can get by on only one salary?


Or Tighten one's belt:

To be more frugal. To make difficult economic savings due to a lowering of expected income.





spend less; reduce one's expenses. "I have to economize where I can"

synonyms: save (money), cut expenditure, cut costs;

Oxford Dictionaries


Not a single word, but here are some idioms for being frugal that haven't been suggested yet:

  1. stretch a dollar
  2. stretch your money or make your money stretch

Fig. to economize so that one's money lasts longer. We have to stretch our money in order to be able to buy groceries at the end of the month.


  1. make (both) ends meet



I am surprised no one has yet to list the verb "budget"

to make and follow a plan for spending your money -Merriam Webster

  • 1
    but the plan for spending your money isn't necessarily one that consists in 'small amounts'.
    – PatrickT
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 12:30
  • yes that is technically true, however, if one needs a plan in the first place, it seems to indicate that one cannot afford to spend indiscriminately, so I feel like budget has some connotation of frugality in American english.
    – maxwell
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 17:30

Being frugal

adjective | sparing or economical as regards money or food. "I'm a bit too frugal to splash out on designer clothes"

Or scrimping

verb | be thrifty or parsimonious; economize. "I have scrimped and saved to give you a good education"

Otherwise, thrifty

adjective | using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully. "he had been brought up to be thrifty and careful"

  • 1
    scrimp (scrimping which is the gerund) has been suggested three times already by: John; user 8675... and Elian. Please check what others have suggested before posting.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 7:51
  • Neither frugal nor thrifty are verbs, which the OP has specifically asked for.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 7:53

To me, one of the options is

to go/walk the extra mile

It could be, as you said, in the context of feeling short of money, grocery, laundry or the like.

Though the idiom is used to put efforts to earn money, idiom is also used to say extra efforts to achieve something. And here, you want to achieve the target of 'adjusting everything with whatsoever little money you have' until the month ends.

go the extra mile: to make a special extra effort in order to achieve something

Example follows:

We are prepared to go the extra mile to establish peace.

I don't see any effort in making money!

If I construct a sentence, it'd be like...

It is my regular problem. If the month is ending, I'll have to go/walk an extra mile to meet my expenses, shortage of groceries etc.

  • 2
    This doesn’t really fit very well here; the meaning of go the extra mile is more accurately that given in one of the other entries on the page you link to: “to try harder to please someone or to get the task done correctly; to do more than one is required to do to reach a goal”. It’s similar to go above and beyond the call of duty. You don’t go any extra miles to make your money last longer at the end of the month. Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 13:02
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - I agree. In a way this is the opposite of what is being asked for. The OP doesn't work harder to make more money. Instead they merely don't spend so much. Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 14:49
  • @JanusBahsJacquet while the idiom is used to earn 'extra money' but it is not always. Answer updated.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 4:38
  • @chaslyfromUK extra working is okay but for money is not always the case. Answer updated
    – Maulik V
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 4:38

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