Files released by the National Archives under the 30-year rule include a note about the cost of refurbishing the Prime Minister’s official residence, in which Baroness Thatcher pointed out that she and her husband, Denis, used only one bedroom and already had their own crockery. She wrote: “I will pay for the ironing boards and other things, like sufficient linen for the one bedroom we use. The rest can go back into stock. MT”So the nation saved £19 on the ironing board, and it was instead paid for by Mrs Thatcher, who was married to Millionaire Denis. The cost of the entire refurbishment is listed at less than £2000, far less than the £600,00 refit for David Cameron.
Ironically, it is the same Mrs Thatcher who authorised the purchase of Trident Nuclear Submarines - for what even in those days was a cost of £10 billion pounds.
There is a saying look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. Save all the small sums and they will add up to a big sum.
In this case I think the appropriate phrase is penny wise - pound foolish.
Save the little sums but waste the big ones !