Proverb – If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Meaning – If you pay a low wage you will get poor workers. If you offer a poor salary you will not attract skilled employees. A boss that pays little money for staff will have bad workers. This expression can be shortened to just pay peanuts, get monkeys. This expression is not generally offensive, but it can be seen as insulting to those who are paid low wages.

This is a British English proverb that is now recognised by most – if not all – English speakers.

Peanuts is a slang expression for a very small amount of money.

A similar expression is you get what you pay for. This phrase can be used for purchasing anything at all – not just paying wages. If you buy a new phone that costs next to nothing, don’t be surprised if it breaks after 10 minutes. After all, you get what you pay for!

In The News:

“Pay peanuts, get monkeys“: Civic chiefs defend £1,000 day rate for top council job amid cost of living crisis


  • Is there a similar proverb in your culture?

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