live on your wits | live by your wits
Meaning: If you live on your wits, or live by your wits, you don't have a regular job but you survive by cleverly manipulating people or situations.
- These homeless kids have to learn how to live on their wits, and a lot of them are very smart.
- Kyle is a very good businessman, but he never went to university. He says he learned most of his business skills when he was young and still living by his wits.