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What Does the Saying "for My Money" Mean?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 23, 2024
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The English idiomatic phrase “for my money” is used to mean “in my opinion.” This substitution of currency for personal thought is not unique to the phrase. Other English idioms also use this allegory, which provides a colloquial way to give people a personal opinion on an issue.

English speakers can use the phrase “for my money” at the beginning of a sentence or in the middle. For example, if someone says “for my money, that’s a bad move,” they are expressing their opinion that someone else should not do something. The same speaker could also say, “that’s a bad move, for my money,” to express the same idea.

The phrase “for my money,” meaning “in my opinion,” should not be confused with the English idiom “a run for your money.” If somebody gives someone a run for their money, the meaning is that that person challenges another person in the course of an activity or competition. There’s also another way to use the phrase, “for my money,” that has a slightly different meaning. If an English speaker says, “I got a lot for my money,” the idea that the speaker is trying to express is value for cost, the idea of how much use somebody got out of something in relation to the money that they paid.

In modern English, a variety of similar phrasings are also employed. Some, like the phrase, “my two cents,” still use the idea of currency to express opinion. Likewise, when asking for someone's opinion, "a penny for your thoughts," is seen as a sentimental way to elicit an answer. Other new phrases are acronyms that rely on the Internet for their origin. The acronym IMHO is often seen on the Internet. This acronym is short for two alternative phrases: “in my humble opinion” or “in my honest opinion.”

Generally, the association of opinion or thought with money seems a classic idea in many English speaking societies. In these countries and regions of the world, many understand implicitly that money is often connected to power or influence, where someone's opinion may "count" more because of wealth. For this reason, idioms like this one have considerable staying power, though they may seem slightly antiquated to some younger English speakers, and more likely to show up in prose than in common speech.

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