In my home language - Urdu, there is an idiom “Charaney key bandar ku baraney ki rassi”. This phrase is used to describe a situation where someone buys a monkey for one dollar, but he spends four dollars on a piece of rope to tie it. Basically, this is not a wise thing to do.

Could you please help me with an equivalent idiom in English?

  • Can you give a literal translation of the Urdu? – Mick Jan 28 '17 at 3:52
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    dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/… “'be penny-wise and pound-foolish' in British English [now old-fashioned] ...to be extremely careful about small amounts of money and not careful enough about larger amounts of money." Although the $1 monkey and $4 rope is more amusing and a better idiom, in my opinion. :-) – Mark Hubbard Jan 28 '17 at 4:09
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    Can you provide the meaning or a better description of the idiom? Not a literal translation or description of it. When and why is it used? – Em. Jan 28 '17 at 4:15
  • Perhaps "throwing good money after bad"? That is used to describe a situation in which a person has made a foolish investment and then spends additional money on it without any real hope of improving the original mistake. – Jason Patterson Jan 28 '17 at 4:20
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    I'm tempted to suggest "free as in puppy" but it's not a well known expression outside of the free software community. – user34258 Jan 28 '17 at 5:21

maybe you are looking for the idiom: A white elephant

a possession entailing great expense out of proportion to its usefulness or value to the owner:

When he bought the mansion he didn't know it was going to be such a white elephant.



In English, you might

Throw out the baby with the bathwater.


Shoot yourself in the foot.


Spit into the wind.

Some advice would be

Don't buy any wooden nickels.

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    While these are common idioms, they don't match the requirement of spending more on necessary tools than on the item. – Chenmunka May 5 '17 at 17:38
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    I agree with Chenmunka. This doesn't answer my question. – Ahmbro Dude May 7 '17 at 4:57
  • Fair enough. I suppose I was focusing on the "basic" spec of "unwise thing to do" based on skewed priority. I don't think we're very hip to this concept in America, where Hewlett Packard sells $20 printers and $80 ink cartridges. – Brian Jun 1 '17 at 19:56

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