Having or providing only the bare essentials: a hand-to-mouth existence. (adjective)
American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Use "hand-to-mouth" in a sentence
"It referred to his hand-to-mouth existence as a child, when he and his mother and three younger sisters had moved from trailer park to rented room to apartment to rented house with numbing frequency, depending on whether they had managed to scrape together the money to pay that month’s rent."
"So it feels to me like that inventory at customers has worked its way through, for the most part with some exceptions, and we're now kind of more, I'll call it, hand-to-mouth, depending on what their end demand is."
"In his short life eleven-year-old Fawad has known more grief than most: his father and brother have been killed, his sister has been abducted, and Fawad and his mother, Mariya, must rely on the charity of family to eke out a hand-to-mouth existence."