I split my funds into weeks, and so when I've spent all of that week's money I have to tell people I can't be buying things unless needed. Often in casual conversation this comes out as "I don't have any money". However, this is somewhere between giving the wrong impression and simply wrong. I do have money, but it's been allocated to other things. What is a short phrase to describe this?

Bonus points: Also convey that I will have more money available at a later date.

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    I think "I have already spent/exhausted/depleted my budget for X" is straightforward and tactful English and has none of the negative connotations of going over or blowing it. It does take a few more words to clarify "...for eating out" but it might avoid confusion over phrases that might not always be universal in some of the answers below.
    – shawnt00
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 18:46

16 Answers 16


If you want to be less formal than James' answer, this works as well:

I've used my spending money

I've used my pocket money

Merriam-Webster defines "spending money" as:

money for small personal expenses

Note that both phrases can have the connotation that you don't have any money on you, but not that you're broke.

Note that "Pocket money" can have the connotation of being a child's spare cash, that he or she carries around to spend on fun things. "Spending money" can refer to money set aside for trinkets on vacation or the like. Where I live, though, both terms tend to mean "money that isn't tied up in rent or other necessities."

There's also "walking-around money", which is used in the same way, as suggested by Steve Jessop. Dictionary.com defines it as:

money that is carried on the person for routine expenses and minor emergencies; pocket money.

Though keep in mind that there's also the political connotation of

cash sums given by political managers, district leaders, or the like, to grass-roots workers and others for expenses incurred while canvassing for votes or doing other chores before an election.

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    'Pocket money' sounds like you are a child who has used up the money they have access to, rather than an adult who is making an active decision not to spend money that is available but would be unwise to spend. 'Spending money' is a bit more like the situation, but would generally refer to money set aside for a holiday or treat, rather than regular spending.
    – Jessica B
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 9:18
  • @JessicaB True. Where I am, though, it means "money that isn't tied up in necessities" – I've added the other senses to my answer.
    – anon
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 14:54
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    There were many great answers, so this was a little hard to choose. I picked this one because it is the answer I plan to use in conversation.
    – Shelvacu
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 17:29
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    I like the expression "walking-around money" for the same thing, but despite it appearing in dictionaries I'm not convinced that many real people use it for anything other than slush funds (that is, money provided by some person other than the one who spends it, for unspecified but often corrupt expenses). Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 1:17
  • I second the "walking around money" suggestion.
    – dwoz
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 18:17

I would personally use "I'm over budget for the week" in this case.


(adverb) Beyond the limits of a budget,

(adjective) Costing more than the amount allowed in a budget

(Source: Oxford Dictionaries)

  • 5
    Welcome to EL&U.This post would be improved by giving evidence for this usage, for example, by providing a dictionary definition or examples in the wild. I encourage you take the site tour and review the help center for additional guidance. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 20:16
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    That being said, it is a good alternative phrase which captures the OP's needs
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 22:11
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    @Nathaniel Your comment alone annoyed me enough to join this site. This answer gives exactly what is needed, with all the information that is required, but you are saying it doesn't meet some arbitrary rules that would make a less good answer. The phrase given is an example in the wild. You might say the question isn't right for the site, but the answer is right for the question.
    – Jessica B
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 9:15
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    @JessicaB Good! I hope you stick around. But I stand by my comment. Having received dozens of upvotes after my comment, it's now clear to the OP and future readers that this is a "correct" answer. But 95%+ of "correct" answers on this site do not get this much attention. OPs and future readers need more than a faceless internet user's opinion, which is why dictionary and print book examples of usage significantly improve answers here. Sean's second answer is not likely to attract as many votes, and readers of that answer will benefit if he follows the guidance I've provided here. Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 14:16
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    @JessicaB If you'd like to discuss further, I hope you'll create a meta post where you can more extensively express your concerns and allow others to weigh in. Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 14:19

I'd suggest something like:

I've already blown my budget for this month, and have to cut back.

That works in informal use, but it also can work in a business setting (I've been told by a boss that we need to cut down on photocopying for the rest of the month, because we've "already blown our reprographics budget" for instance).

This seems to communicate all three things that you want: that your planned spending has been exceeded, that you are currently impecunious, and that when the next budget period commences, your resources will be replenished accordingly.

You might also consider "I'm over budget for this month":

Over-budget (adverb) Beyond the limits of a budget, (adjective) Costing more than the amount allowed in a budget — Oxford Dictionaries

  • 3
    To me, a budget being blown sounds more severe than merely over-budget. So you can choose the right term depending on whether you're slightly or drastically over-budget.
    – Tim S.
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 21:15
  • @TimS. +1 — it also sounds a bit like reckless spending. That said, it could be fine for casual use Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 10:46
  • @anotherdave yes, I'd agree that there is an element of recklessness to it.
    – Silverfish
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 12:06

If you're in the UK and you want to be informal, you might say: "I'm a bit skint this week".

British informal
(Of a person) having little or no money available:

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    (+1) Note that "skint" is different to "poor", because it doesn't necessarily imply that this state of affairs is long-lasting or permanent. So it fits quite well with what the OP is trying to suggest. (The dictionary definition isn't explicitly clear on this, but it's the immediate availability of money that matters. Having said that, if you say "Fred is skint" it isn't clear whether this is permanent or temporary. If you say "Fred is skint this week", then that works for a temporary state.)
    – Silverfish
    Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 11:59
  • 1
    I'm not in the UK but I'm still tempted to use it as it seems to match more concisely than other answers.
    – Michael
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 19:00

"I have depleted my discretionary fund for this week."

discretionary fund: an ​amount of ​money that is ​available to ​spend on things that are not considered necessary but that may be useful


I'd say, I'm in a budget crunch right now.

budget crunch: (Inf.) a situation where there is not enough money for a project or plan. The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer

Alternately, you might want to consider, I'm on a shoestring budget right now.

shoestring: adj. consisting of or characterized by a small amount of money : living on a shoestring budget Random House

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    "Shoestring budget" is very idiomatic and I like it (+1); for those who are unfamiliar with the term, I'd just warn it tends to suggest "my budget is not very big" rather than what the OP really wants, which is "I've already spent most of my budget for this week".
    – Silverfish
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 21:10
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    To add an example to @Silverfish's comment: If you have a weekly budget of $12, that's a shoestring budget, whether or not you've used any of it up. If you're on a $12k weekly budget, but you spent $11,988 and only have $12 left, your budget isn't shoestring, just exhausted.
    – anon
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 22:10

I use

"The money I have is already spent"

I have the money - but it's already been allocated for upcoming expenses, leaving me with no margin.


Assuming I'm understanding your question right, it sounds like you may have been a bit irresponsible with your weekly funds, so you'll have to forgo some luxuries ($4 daily coffee for instance), but can still afford to feed yourself and pay the bills.

All the other answers are great, but they basically admit this lack of discretion in the use of your funds. If you wanted to state you can't afford more than the necessities without stating that you're the primary culprit (maybe your last paycheck was for a short week, or you had a big planned expenditure come up?) you can simply say

I'm on a Budget

Which states that you can't afford to purchase whatever it is you're being asked to purchase, but does not go into the gritty details of why.

  • 1
    Did you mean "Which states that you can't afford . . ."?
    – J Sargent
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 1:36

You could say I am illiquid:-

Lacking cash or liquid assets. [American Heritage Dictionary]

although except in a jocular sense it would sound rather pompous.

  • 1
    Yeah, this doesn't really fit into (typical) casual conversation. Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 12:49

What's worked well for me is to borrow a phrase from Dave Ramsey (the budget/financial planner guy on the radio) and simply state "Sorry, it's not in the budget". This carries no implications of being financially strapped but simply that there are no funds available for the proposed expenditure.

  • I like this answer for avoiding the implications of being financially strapped, which is what the OP asked for.
    – AndyT
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 11:45

In this case I would be inclined to say that I've spent my limit.


I would say: "I'm on a rather tight budget just now."

Alternatively, I might say: "I'm a little financially overstretched at this time".


I believe that your circumstances can be neatly summarised with a simple:

I can't afford it right now.

Not being able to afford something does not convey complete absence of funds and a simple "right now" should indicate that it's a temporary state of affairs.


If you have money but it's already been designated for other purposes then you might say that your money is already "answered for"

From Wiktionary;

simple past tense and past participle of answer for

(transitive) To guarantee. I will answer for his debt, if he can't pay on the day.

So your sentence would be something like...

I can't take you out to dinner, darling, because my income this month is already answered for

  • In UK (Scotland) the variation of this is spoken for.
    – PCARR
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 3:25

I'd say

I've exhausted my entertainment budget for the week.

using the definition of exhausted as

  1. to draw out or drain off completely.

So the focus isn't on that you have no money, but that the money you have pre-allocated for a certain purpose has all been spent.


To be "overdrawn" is to have overallocated your financial resources for the time being, although usually specifically to the state of one's checking or debit account.

  • 7
    Overdrawn would imply you are in debt and could damage your reputation. It does not fit this situation at all.
    – rom016
    Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 4:48

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