I wonder what idiom, expression or set-phrase do you normally use to carry the message of spending money from pocket without earning any money (without having any business)?

Please have a look on my scenario below:

I used to live in a very crowded city where I was born. As a doctor of medicine I had my own office, and in short, I was living a good life. But just because of the high population and also its annoying traffic noise, I decided to leave my country forever. Now, I am living in the US. But it takes several years to me to pass so many exams so that they could assess my educational certificates and documents and equalize them into an American degree. I have to use my own pocket money for two years just for a reason that doesn't sound logical to my family members and whoever knows me and my background. I could have a much better life in my own country. Everybody tells me that wasn't a logical decision a at all.

3 Answers 3


"Pocket money" is the small amounts of money that parents give to their children, to give them independence to buy snacks or toys.

Jonny got £5 pocket money a month, and he had been saving it up all year to buy himself a new computer game.

You seem to mean that the person is using their savings:

After he quit his job, Jonny had to live off his savings for six months before he was able to claim income support.

  • Thank you very much @James K. That was the stuff. Just to make sure, do you believe that "live out-of-pocket" refers to the "pocket money" which as you mentioned is a low amount of money which parents give their children (allowance) so that they could pay for their own childish expenses? If so, then I can be confident that "live out-of-pocket" is not my intended expression. Just the question is that, why the other two posters knowing this fact had posted the same thing? Is it a matter of preference or an Am/BrE distinction?
    – A-friend
    Jul 3, 2019 at 5:25
  • 1
    No. "Live out of pocket" is not the same as "pocket money". "Out of pocket" means that you have to pay for things yourself, rather than have them paid by the company. For example if the company tells you to wear a suit, but doesn't give you any extra money to buy one.
    – James K
    Jul 3, 2019 at 5:38

"I have to pay out of my own pocket..."


You are looking for the phrase "Out of Pocket"

I have to live out-of-pocket for two years just for a reason that doesn't sound logical to my family members and whoever knows me and my background.


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