Let me add a bit of context here. I have a budget. I frequently review the budget in order to "tighten things up" or "improve operational output with existing resources".
Here is a list of things I have used in the past:

"making the most with what we have"

Not a fan of that one as it sheds a negative light as if I am complaining about not having enough.

"getting as much lemonade out of these lemons as possible"

"milking every last drop out"

I've also used a few others related to wringing sponges/towels out and drinking sodas until your straw is slurping or the can is dry.

One of the main things here I want to avoid is conveying the sense that we need more budget. This is about using the existing budget to the fullest of its extent through cutting back on existing spending that is unnecessary/excessive.

Let me also add that I am looking for a colorful/creative way to say this. I understand there are lots of simple words that can describe this, I'm hoping for some jazz here.

  • How about increase productivity? – Steve Lovell Jun 9 '17 at 16:12
  • 1
    You're looking for more bang for your buck? – Dan Bron Jun 9 '17 at 16:54

Actually, there is a single word to imply all those things: optimize.


optimize VERB

1 Make the best or most effective use of (a situation, opportunity, or resource)

‘But we have to consider how best to optimize our resources and find our way back to the enormous success we have had in previous years.’

[Edited to add the following alternative after the question is edited asking for a colorful/creative expression]

An idiomatic expression (in addition to the ones already mentioned in the question) that can help is: squeeze more (whatever) from the (existing) budget.


squeeze something from something

2. Fig. to get a little more of something from something.
Let's see if we can squeeze a few more miles from this tank of gas before we fill up again.
I think I can squeeze another few minutes from this candle before I have to light a new one.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc


  • I'm going to upvote this because it does answer this and I didn't explain originally. I'm looking for a much more colorful way to describe what I'm doing than "optimizing the budget." Updating the question after this. – USER_8675309 Jun 9 '17 at 16:44

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