'didn't have a bean' = 'had no money'?

English Idioms and Expressions, Advanced Level

ESL/EFL Test #3 [color=blue]“Lucky Alex”, question 7

The trouble was that he didn’t have a bean not even enough to pay for the fare home.

(a) didn’t have a wallet
(b) didn’t have a penny
© didn’t have any change
(d) didn’t have a ticket

English Idioms and Expressions, Advanced Level

ESL/EFL Test #3 [color=blue]“Lucky Alex”, answer 7

The trouble was that he didn’t have a penny not even enough to pay for the fare home.

Correct answer: (b) didn’t have a penny

Your answer was: [color=green]correct
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If ‘didn’t have a bean’ = ‘had no money’, the following phrase ‘not even enough’ is quite farfetched for me to understand. It seems to me out of the question to determine whether enough or not with no money at all.

haihao

Hi,

I can see your logic. You certainly raise some interesting points. You have to accept in this expression ‘didn’t have a bean’ is an exaggeration. People say this when they have hardly any money as also when they say: ‘I don’t have a penny’. It’s also often used when you don’t want to pay for something - almost as an excuse.
A