Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

Meaning of Idiom ‘Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees’

Money doesn’t grow on trees is a set phrase used to remind someone, especially a young person, not to waste money. It means that money is a finite resource that is difficult to acquire and we should understand its value, as it cannot be picked from a tree like fruit.

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This expression is often said by parents to children who are always asking for money or who are being unwise in spending their money.

This idiom is quite variable. You can substitute any scarce thing for money. “You need to find a job!” “I’m looking but jobs don’t grow on trees!”

It has been extended to anything that is scarce or to any situation in which we do not want a resource to be wasted. “Don’t use so much body wash. That stuff doesn’t grow on trees, you know.”

This idiom is so well-known that any mention combination of money and trees will work. UK Prime Minister Theresa May once spoke of a ‘magic money tree,’ expressing the fact that such a tree does not exist. Her’s was just prickly variation of the same idiom.

Examples Of Use

“Can I have twenty dollars so I can buy a video game?” asked Holden. “You already have dozens of video games and money doesn’t grow on trees,” replied Dad.

“Turn the lights off when you leave a room,” said mom. “Our utility bill is sky-high. Money doesn’t grow on trees!”

“We have to find some way to pay for Randall’s college,” said Sharon. “What do you want me to do? Money doesn’t grow on trees,” replied Winston.


This proverb was first recorded in 1750. It’s exact origin is unknown. facts on file

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