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Edited: Imagine someone's income is X, but they cost X+1. Then I was wondering if someone lets me know whether the verb used in the sentence below sounds natural to indicate this message or I could state it in a more natural way:

  • He can't add up his business expenses and revenues.

If there is a better way to state the same this (e.g. an idiom, fixed expression etc.) I would be grateful if you let me know about it.

Added: How can I indicate that the person in our question cannot match these two (I mean (their incomes and expenses).

I'm really sorry to edit my question again!

When we say such a thing the listener can easily diagnose which one of the following two cases is the intended matter by the speaker (based on the extracted feedback from the conversation). I supposed it as a default and even didn't think about any need for any separation to clarify my meaning to you.

Well! Let me explain a bit more. Actually on second thought it can indicate two absolutely different matters according to our language:

(First)

imagine the person earns 6000 $ per month, but he buys e.g a suit for 4500 $ and yet has to pay for the house rent, grocery, commuting costs etc. so it would be not surprising that the guy will end up getting in trouble spending his money that way.

(Second)

Imagine this individual earns 2000 $ per month but he has to pay for many things. Babysitting cost, house rent, transportation costs, grocery, eating and so on. Nevertheless the person just earns 2000$ monthly, but he has to pay for all these.

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    He's living above (or beyond) his means. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 11 '17 at 12:14
  • @TRomano great job, but how shall one indicate that the individual in our question cannot match these two (I mean his / her income and expenses)? – A-friend Mar 11 '17 at 12:16
  • Is this an individual or a business? The business verb is reconcile. He cannot reconcile income and expenses. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 11 '17 at 12:16
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    A person or company who spends more than they earn (or have on hand) is either in debt or has access to undisclosed funds. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 11 '17 at 12:19
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    Possibly you need to split up your question, because you have by now split it into two cases, "living beyond (one)s means" being the best answer, in my opinion, to the first case but "make ends meet" being most appropriate for the second. – CompuChip Mar 12 '17 at 11:13
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The expression used in bookkeeping is balance, employed as both a noun and transitive or intransitive verb to designate an equality of positive and negative values.

His income and expenses are in balance.
His income and expense balance.
His income balances his expenses.
He has balanced his income and expenses.
If income and expenses do not balance, the difference must be assigned to assets or liabilities so that all four categories are in balance.

In your case, you want

He can't balance expenses and revenues.

  • Superb! Thank you very @StoneyB. Just could you possibly let me know if it make any specific difference I substitute "revenues" with "income" or it is negligible? I mean would it sound natural if I say: "He can’t balance his (income OR revenues) and expenses" – A-friend Mar 11 '17 at 13:37
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    @A-friend Both are fine. Ordinarily we say that persons have income and firms have revenue. – StoneyB Mar 11 '17 at 13:44
  • It depends on how precise you want to be. In business accounting, revenue is not the same as income. In fact both terms have a few possible meanings, but used on their own like that (i.e. without qualifiers like "gross", "operating" etc), the usual meaning of "revenue" is the amount of money your clients paid you for your goods and services. By contrast, "income" is the amount of money remaining after you subtract, from that revenue, the costs and expenses you incurred in producing those goods and services. In that imprecise sense, "income" is the same as "profit". – tkp Sep 21 at 4:02
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An informal expression is : make ends meet

  • to have just enough money to pay for the things that you need.
  • he really can't make ends meet.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

  • Thank you very much @Absolute Beginner. I knew it already, but as the dictionary says, it means: "to earn enough money to live without getting into debt and pay for the things that you need as you mentioned," but it is not particularly about matching someone's income and expenses. At least, according to the dictionary definitions. I was wondering if you could explain me a bit more on it. As far as I can understand it somewhat means: "to make a living." Please dispute it if I'm mistaken. – A-friend Mar 11 '17 at 12:28
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    The expression is generally used with a negative connotation, to indicate that you can barely or find it very difficult get by. Fig. to earn and spend equal amounts of money. (Usually in reference to a meager living with little if any money after basic expenses.) – user5267 Mar 11 '17 at 12:30
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The most common idiom for this is probably that the person is living beyond their means.

For example:

Signs You Are Living Beyond Your Means: "Living beyond your means is easy to do in a debt driven society. All we need to do to purchase an item these days is swipe a credit card and on we go to the next purchase. The days of using cash are numbered which makes reckless purchasing even easier."

The spoiled 20-something used to living beyond his means: "I have a penchant for the good life, but after a year of living it up, I found myself with $12,000 in credit card debt! In addition to that, I just got myself into some legal trouble and need to come up with about $6,000 for my lawyer. I make $1200 every two weeks after taxes and 401(k) contributions."

  • Very helpful @Stangdon. Just could you possibly let me know how shall I indicate that the person at hand is not able to match his / her income and expenses? – A-friend Mar 11 '17 at 12:24
  • Just saying "He's living beyond his means" indicates that his income and expenses don't match up, because it means that his expenses (how he is living) are larger than his income (his means). I'm not quite sure what you mean by "is not able to match". Do you mean the person just doesn't possess the ability to do it? You could say "He can't live within his means." – stangdon Mar 11 '17 at 12:35
  • Good question @Stangdon. Perhaps it was a trick question of mine. :) This tiny points will never be considered by a nonnative while they feel a language viscerally. Well! Let me explain a bit more. Actually on second thought it can indicate two absolutely different matters according to our language, (first) imagine the person earns 6000 $ per month, but he buys e.g a suit for 4500 $ and yet has to pay for the house rent, grocery, commuting costs etc. so it would be not surprising that the guy will end up getting in trouble spending his money that way. – A-friend Mar 11 '17 at 13:25
  • (Second) Imagine this individual earns 2000 $ per month but he has to pay for many things. Babysitting cost, house rent, transportation costs, grocery, eating and so on. Nevertheless the person just earns 2000$ monthly, but he has to pay for all these. – A-friend Mar 11 '17 at 13:27
  • Pardon me, but whereas when we say such a thing based on the extracted feedback from the conversation can easily diagnose which one of these two is the intended matter by the speaker, I supposed it as a default and even didn't think about any need for any separation to clarify my meaning to you. – A-friend Mar 11 '17 at 13:30

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