Have you ever gone out of your way to save a few bucks by making a compromise and later land up spending a huge amount due to your foolishness? The idiom 'penny wise and pound foolish' basically means to save a little money, only to lose a greater amount due to your own foolishness. A penny is a small amount and a pound is a larger amount, so you are wise with a small amount but foolish and wasteful with larger amounts. It also means you are over careful about unimportant and small matters and careless about important ones.
You realize that in the process of being stingy about small expenditures, you eventually spend more than you actually saved.
For example, if you save a few hundred bucks by not hiring a tax accountant to review complicated matters, you are penny wise and pound foolish as you ultimately land up paying a huge penalty amount. Okay, now that you know what this idiom means, let's take a look at some example sentences to see how you can use it in your daily conversation.
Example 01: A penny wise and pound foolish Mike bought himself an expensive tuxedo suit even though he didn't need it, but is still thinking whether to buy a much needed pair of shoes.
Ex 02: Jennifer was penny wise and pound foolish as she bought cheaper vegetables at a whole sale price, only to be thrown as they were spoilt.
Ex 03: The manager realized he was penny wise and pound foolish when he hired undergraduates in order to save the operating cost of the company.
Ex 04: Samantha told her friend, "Neglecting your cavities to save money will certainly lead to a root canal which would be far more expensive, so don't be penny wise and pound foolish"
Ex 05 : Sheela was penny wise and pound foolish when she made her husband drive to six different stores to get the best bargains on her groceries, eventually she spent more on fuel than the benefits she got.
Ex 06: Being a handy man, William tried to fix the leaking faucet and broke it, he was penny wise and pound foolish, as he had to replace the faucet, pipe and pay the plumber as well.
Ex 07: I sold my good motorcycle and purchased a second-hand car that is giving me endless problems; it was too late to realize that it was a penny-wise and pound foolish decision.
Ex 08: The Government's education budget cuts are penny-wise and pound foolish, as public education is an investment towards the nation's future.
Ex 09: Mary told her husband, "We've worked so hard to save money, if we took a vacation now it would be penny wise and pound foolish.