My wife said this one when discussing a spouse who was earning most of the money in the household. It is a word blend malaphor of “breadwinner” (a person who earns money to support a family) and “wage earner” (a person who works for a salary). Check out my word blends I have posted over the years. Just type word blend in the Search feature on the website. Also, I have a chapter devoted to these special malaphors in my book, “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, available on Amazon for cheap!
The speaker was talking about a couple and their finances. It is a nice congruent conflation of “breadwinner” and “wage earner”, both referring to the person whose earnings are the primary support for his/her dependents. Of course, “bread” is slang for money, so bread earner makes a lot of sense (cents?) to me. A big thanks to Elaine Hatfield for sharing this one.