Is there any common English expression, idiom or proverb which implies:

Stop and accept a small loss, rather than continue and risk losing everything.

When someone is losing or possibly would lose so many things, we say:

You'd better be satisfied with losing one or two things (small amont) rather than losing everything.

P.S. the only equivalent that I found are as below:

  • Better one house spoiled than two.

Although, I'm sure that they are some translations.

What would you say in natural English?

2 Answers 2



  • Don't send good money after bad

You've already spent some money on the project (whatever it is), and you're not going to get it back -- that's the bad money. Don't send any more money after it -- that would be a waste of the good money.

  • That seems to be OK @jonathanjo, but the only aspect that cannot be covered through this saying is that "less loss" is "a gain" itself. I wish there was a proverb that could imply this in normal English. Nevertheless, thank you very much for the help Jonahan. :)
    – A-friend
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 5:25
  • Thinking twice about it @jonathanjo I guess while our proverb is a multilateral one, I need to ask you about another case! Please imagine a woman who is living with an intolerable addicted man. The woman's close friend (who has always been a witness to all the challenges of her life throughout all this time) comes to her and as usual finds her friend crying. While she is almost confident that there is no way out for the poor, young woman, she decides, wants to suggest "divorce" to her friend. Whereas your offer is talking about "money", I needed to ask you if it works here and in this scenario
    – A-friend
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 11:00
  • 1
    "Good money after bad" is sufficiently well-known that if you modify it, people will recognise it: "Don't send good years after bad" would be understood in your circumstance. But people are more likely to use the expression from the other answer: "I know you've spent 20 years with him and brought up the children and everything, but honestly my friend it's time to cut your losses and get a divorce."
    – jonathanjo
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 11:25
  • Excellent. Thank you @jonathanjo. So as I understood, I can use: "don't send good money after bad" for monetary cases and for something like "age", I can say: "don't send good years after bad". Right? :)
    – A-friend
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 11:40
  • Meanwhile, in what else cases I can use this proverb aside from "money" or "age" @jonathanjo?
    – A-friend
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 11:43

It's not exactly a proverb, but consider the expression "to cut one's losses," as in:

It's time to cut your losses.

Here the speaker is suggesting that the listener prevent ("cut") further or greater losses by stopping the activity that is causing them, even though to do so would also eliminate any chance of eventually regaining what was lost.

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