I've met the phrase in this article:

Never peg the needle on your spending meter.

After some research I found 'What is the meaning of the phrase “moving the needle”?' here. Now the original phrase I encountered is somewhat clear.

Could you help say the same thing in another way so that I can understand the phrase as a whole? May be some equivalent saying?

  • It’s not a good idea to spend as much money as you possibly can.
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 15:30
  • Possibly a reference to a pegged exchange rate: when the reference currency appreciates, the pegged currency goes up as well. The author seems to be warning against pegging one's expenditure against one's income. E.g.: earn $10, spend $10. Now earn $15, the advice is to not bump spending up to $15 to match the new income.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 15:39
  • 2
    I believe this originally referred to an automobile's speedometer, which had a mechanical needle that was literally stopped at its high end by a small metal peg. Hence, "never go that fast," or, in this awful sentence, never spend so much. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 16:19
  • It’s “explained” in the sentence right before it. ”Live below your means” Don’t spend it just because you have it.
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 16:20
  • 1
    See also english.stackexchange.com/questions/202318/…
    – Hellion
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


Never peg the needle on your spending meter.

This phrase alludes to analog measuring devices, like speedometers, where pegging the needle means performing in excess of your ability to measure - implying performance (or values) which meet (or exceed) what was previously believed (or intended) to be the maximum. This is often used metaphorically; in this case, don't spend everything that you have.

For reference:

Top speed pegs the needle at 200 mph; test away on your private runway, seems to be the challenge.


Qantas' inflight WiFi trials peg the needle at 12Mbps per device


Chinese Air Pollution Pegs-the-Needle as Suffocating Citizens Left Gasping for Air

  • 1
    It should be understood that most meters with needle indicators have "pegs" at both ends of the useful range of the needle, to prevent the needle from moving farther that the design allows for.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 24, 2019 at 11:53

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