What does the idiom "Saving for a rainy day" mean?

Are you using the idiom Saving for a rainy day but not sure about its meaning? Using idioms, which are important elements of spoken and written language, in the right place strengthens your language skills. Examine the meaning of the Saving for a rainy day idiom and the situations in which it is used.

Meaning of "Saving for a rainy day"


The idiom 'saving for a rainy day' is a metaphorical expression that means to put aside some of your money or resources to be used during a time of difficulty or hardship. It is a common phrase used to describe the act of being thrifty and of saving up money or resources to prepare for a potential future need.


The phrase ‘saving for a rainy day’ originated in the Bible. In the King James version of the Bible, the book of Proverbs chapter 6 verse 6 reads: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest”. This verse is referring to the ant’s ability to plan ahead and store up food for times of difficulty. By the 17th century, the phrase had become more widely used and more widely accepted within English language as a metaphor for being frugal and preparing for times of future hardship.


The phrase ‘saving for a rainy day’ is most commonly used as an expression of advice or caution. It is typically used to encourage someone to save a part of their income or resources in order to be prepared for a potential future need. It can also be used in a reverse sense, for instance to caution someone against wasting their money or resources on frivolous or unnecessary things. The phrase is often used by parents to encourage their children to save money, by employers to encourage their employees to invest wisely, and by financial advisors to encourage their clients to invest in savings and retirement accounts.

Example Sentences

  • I know you want to buy that new car, but I recommend saving for a rainy day in case something unexpected happens.
  • My parents always encouraged me to save for a rainy day since I was a child.
  • If you have any extra money, it's wise to put it aside and save it for a rainy day.

The meanings of the words in the "Saving for a rainy day" idiom

The Global Spread of English Idioms

As English has become a global language, its idioms have spread far beyond the borders of the UK and USA. For instance, the idiom "beat around the bush" has equivalents in many other languages, such as "tourner autour du pot" in French and "dar vueltas al asunto" in Spanish. Meanwhile, other idioms have been adapted for local contexts, such as the Russian idiom "?? ???? ???????" (ne svoya rubashka), which translates to "not one's own shirt," meaning to be in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar situation.


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