What Does Spare No Expense Mean?

Spare No Expense Meaning

Definition: Pay whatever amount is necessary.

Origin of Spare No Expense

The word spare is an Old English word meaning to refrain from injuring or using, which has Germanic roots. In this expression, it means don’t refrain from spending money.

This phrase is somewhat unusual because it uses a negative without the auxiliary verb do. This gives it a more formal, and slightly old-fashioned sound.

People use this when they want to be clear that the cost isn’t important. They are willing to spend any amount to achieve their goal.

Examples of Spare No Expense

spared no expense In the example below, two siblings are arguing over how to cook a meal to share at their family reunion.

Jordan: Our aunt wanted us to cook this recipe, but the ingredients are so expensive.

James: Just tell her that we can’t afford to cook this for her.

Jordan: I tried, but she is so rich that she doesn’t realize that things that are cheap for her are expensive for other people. I tried to tell her how expensive the ingredients were, and she just told me to spare no expense. She said the delicious taste was worth any cost.

James: I’m sorry. That’s frustrating. Maybe we can make substitutions.

spared no expense jurassic park In the second dialogue, two coworkers are complaining about their boss and his broken promises.

Job: Melissa, I know that our boss told you to spare no expense, but you shouldn’t believe him.

Melissa: Why not?

Job: He only said that because he was in front of his clients. He wanted to impress them and make them think that he was willing to spend a lot of money on their project. If we actually spend a lot of money, we’ll get in big trouble.

More Examples

This excerpt is about how one boss lies about how much he is willing to spend.

  • Over time I have noticed how my boss tries to spend less and less money all the time, even though he promises the artists that he’ll “spare no expense” to promote them. He is cheap. That’s the only way to say it. –Forbes

The second example is a network that has a large budget for its show.

  • If the point is to spare no expense in attempting to make a flawless, fascinating premium cable narrative about a set of people – mostly men with enormous egos – who have extreme and often criminal problems in a glamorous period setting, then this is precisely what HBO has accomplished – again. –Chicago Tribune


The phrase spare no expense means any price is okay if it accomplishes a goal.