Money Vocabulary

 

“A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.”

Jonathan Swift, an Anglo-Irish author and clergyman

To begin with, let’s see what we can do to money:

COMMON MONEY COLLOCATIONS

  • to spend (spent; spent) money on sth.I have spent all my savings on new shoes.
  • to borrow moneyYou could borrow some money from your uncle without paying interest (= money that is charged by a bank or other financial organization for borrowing money).
  • to lend (lent; lent) moneyBanks will only lend money at a high rate of interest.
  • to change money: Where is the nearest currency exchange? I need to change some money.
  • to make/earn moneyShe makes money giving English lessons.
  • to counterfeit [‘kauntəfɪt] moneyHe went to jail for counterfeiting money.
  • to save money (= to lay away money)I save money for a rainy day.
  • to squander [‘skwɔndə] / throw (threw; thrown) away moneyHe squanders money because he doesn’t know what it is like to earn it.
  • to invest money in sth.: Before investing money in some project, consult a specialist.
  • to deposit [dɪ‘pɔzɪt] moneyWe should deposit money in/with a bank.
  • to launder [‘lɔːndə] (= obtain illegally) money: They used to launder money doing some shady deals.

Apart from “verb + money” collocations, there are many “adjective + money” ones. Here are some of them:

  • black money – money that is earned illegally, or on which the necessary tax isn’t paid
  • easy money – money that is easily and sometimes dishonestly earned
  • pocket money – an amount of money that parents regularly give to their children to spend as they choose
  • mad money – a small sum of money kept for minor expenses, emergencies or impulse purchases

MONEY PROVERBS

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Money has been part of people’s life for centuries. It is no wonder that it is a rich source of idioms used every day. Here are some of the most frequently used:

  • Time is money – money is valuable, so do things as fast as possible.
  • Beggars can’t be choosers – you must accept what is offered if you have only one option.
  • Money doesn’t grow on trees – don’t be spendthrift [‘spendθrɪft] (= throwing money away) because you will run out of money.
  • Easy come, easy go – when money is easily got, it is spent or lost soon.
  • A fool and his money are soon parted – foolish people don’t think twice before buying something and so it is easy to sell something to such customers.
  • Money talks – rich people or organizations are powerful and so they can achieve whatever they want.
  • A penny saved is a penny gained/earned – it’s useful to save money as well as earn it.

MONEY IDIOMS

Perhaps, there are even more money idioms than there are money proverbs. Here is our list:

  • To bring home the bacon – to earn money: Now I have a stable job and I am happy to bring home the bacon.
  • Breadwinner – a person supporting a family with their earnings: She is the breadwinner of her family.
  • To go Dutch – to share the cost of sth., especially on a date: After her boyfriend suggested going Dutch, she understood a lot about his nature.
  • Cheapskate – a stingy [‘stɪnʤɪ] person: Don’t be such a cheapskate!
  • It is dollars to doughnuts – without doubt: It is dollar to doughnuts that he’ll get this job!
  • To make a fast buck – to make money fast and/or without making effort: He made a fast buck investing is the right business.
  • To cost a pretty penny – to be very expensive: This car costs a pretty penny!
  • To get sth. for peanuts – to pay practically no money for sth.: Pencils cost peanuts these days.
  • To buy sth. for a song = to get sth. for peanuts: I bought the tablecloth for a song.
  • To have money to burn – to have a lot of money: He is a successful businessman and they say he has money to burn.
  • To be made of money = to have money to burn: People who are made of money sometimes don’t understand problems of poor people.
  • To tighten one’s belt – to spend less: I need to tighten my belt to pay back my debt.
  • Nest egg – an amount of money which is saved for the future: I had some unforeseen expenses and I had to spend my nest egg.
  • To spend money like water – to squander money: If you keep spending money like water, don’t ask me to lend you some when you have none.
  • As poor as a church mouse – very poor: They are as poor as a church mouse but they say money can’t buy you happiness.
  • To bet on the wrong horse – to support a person/thing that ultimately fails: He bet on the wrong horse and lost a lot of money.
  • To look like a million dollars – to look great: She looks like a million dollars. She must be in love!
  • To make paper – to make money: He makes paper selling used cars.
  • To ride (rode; ridden) the gravy [‘greɪvɪ] train – to make a lot of money: He’s riding the gravy train now but I think it won’t last for too long.
  • From rags to riches – from poverty to wealth: She moved from rags to riches after she had married a rich man.

MONEY SONGS

Finally, let’s listen to a few songs about money and learn some more vocabulary with them:

See the lyrics here.

Useful vocabulary from the song:

  • To have a ball – to have a good time
  • To get sb. off one’s mind – to forget sb.
  • Ain’t it sad? = isn’t it sad
  • To fancy sb. = to like sb.
  • A fortune – a lot of money

See the lyrics here.

Useful vocabulary from the song:

  • To blow it all – to squander all the money one has
  • Ka-ching – the exclamation used for talking about large amounts of money and wanting a lot of money
  • Broke – having no money
  • To take out a mortgage on sth. – to get an agreement that allows you to borrow money form a bank in order to buy a house
  • To get a loan – to borrow an amount of money from a bank