Not in extreme difficulty. Especially said of finances
- The business is in trouble, but we are just about keeping our heads above water.
Economize by reducing quality; take shortcuts
- Spend freely on the things which will enrich your life and cut corners on those which don’t matter.
Head (go) south
Decline, get worse
- A lot of things may go south, but you absolutely have a lot of reasons to be thankful.
In a jam
In need of help, in a difficult spot
- Can you go to the meeting of me? I'm in a jam.
In hot water
In need of help; in trouble
- He found himself in hot water over his comments about immigration.
Difficult bureaucratic or governmental requirements
- We must cut through the red tape.
(The) last straw
A problem or insult that finally demands a response
- She's always been rude to me, but it was the last straw when she started insulting my mother.
Think outside the box
Try to solve a problem in an original way; think creatively
- Instead of telling an interviewer you think outside the box, actually do it.
(An) uphill climb
A difficult process
- Senator McCain says he has an uphill climb to the White House.