Let's say we have a single mom with three kids (aged 6 to 8), who all want bikes. Our mom loves her kids, but she also has to be frugal.

She doesn't think it's smart to get them brand-new bikes as the kids will outgrow them in a year or so. Plus, they might not like riding at all when they try it.

So she might go for basic used bikes at first. When her oldest is a teen, he'll get a brand-spanking bike with all the bells and whistles. It'll hopefully last him for years.

What would be an idiomatic way to describe the mom's reasoning? (The shorter, the better.)

As in, "I'm not getting all of them new bikes, it's not a worthwhile investment". Or: "Now that Mark is 13, he can get a fancy new bike. It's a worthwhile investment now".

(Example sentences are just guidelines, totally malleable.)

Edit #1: A single word would work too.

Edit #2: I'm trying to specifically emphasize two aspects here: (A) the timely/untimely nature of the possible investment and (B) the cost-to-benefit ratio associated with it.

Edit #3: I'm looking for a common idiom, something the mom would use in everyday speech.

closed as primarily opinion-based by TimLymington, FumbleFingers, user66974, Mitch, anongoodnurse Oct 29 '15 at 2:07

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  • What's wrong with "worthwhile investment"? Of course, one can use "wise investment", "smart investment", etc, but they're all about equivalent. – Hot Licks Oct 25 '15 at 12:58
  • Nothing wrong with it, just need a more colorful and idiomatic way. – A.P. Oct 25 '15 at 13:01
  • 1
    A prudent expenditure. – Cerberus Oct 25 '15 at 13:53
  • Perhaps "spend money at worthy ends", but not colorful enough to be happy with it :( – Graffito Oct 25 '15 at 13:55
  • @Cerberus i like prudent. Perhaps there's an idiom leveraging that. – A.P. Oct 25 '15 at 14:08

The best I can come up with is that she got more bang for her buck. She got more value with the bike which can be passed down to the younger children.

value for the money spent; excitement for the money spent; a favorable cost-to-benefit ratio


  • Thank you. I think It sounds a bit too pragmatic and calculating in the given context, but I'll upvote it. – A.P. Oct 25 '15 at 14:04
  • Thanks, this comes closest compared to other suggestions. – A.P. Oct 27 '15 at 18:19

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