What was said? “We operate on a shoestring!” (commonly referred to as “shoestring budget”)
Did someone really say that? Yes, when referring to putting together a budget for a client proposal and getting feedback on our estimate!
What does it mean? It basically means a “tight” or small budget, also known as “scrappy” or “cheap.”
Origin: Debatable origin (first seen in print in America in 1904) – the simplest just refers to the fact that a shoestring or cord is thin/weak in essence and has been used as a metaphor to suggest thin finances/means. Another is that it refers to the fact that shoelaces/shoestrings require little money to purchase themselves and thus signify a small amount of money. Another theory suggests that the phrase comes from old English where prisoners would lower a shoe by their laces from a window to collect funds by visitors to help pay their way out of prison.