Money Vocabulary: Thrive & Survive. Pay down or stash cash?

Learn English with Zak Washington graphic logo and London skyline montage

PRE-LISTENING Essential vocabulary for this lesson. Use the dictionary to check for other meanings and pronunciation


living beyond their means     vivere oltre i propri mezzi

bankruptcy     fallimento

foreclosure / to foreclose     pignoramento

shelters     rifugi

tent     tenda       

perfect storm     tempesta perfetta

income    reddito

debts     debiti

mortgage     mutuo

savings     risparmio

bills     bollette

to cut back    ridurre

“cutting back to bare bones”     ridurre al massimo

unemployment benefits    indennità di disoccupazione

to lay off / to get laid off     licenziare / essere licenziato

to stash cash     mettere da parte contanti

to pay off / to pay down     ripagare / pagare le rate

severance pay     trattamento di fine rapporto

emergency fund     fondo di emergenza

to owe     dovere 

money going down the drain

VIDEO Now watch this old programme (from the last crisis!). 



1. What mistakes did the first couple make?

2. What should you do if you lose your job, get severance pay, but still have credit card debt?

3. What cutbacks does Suze advise?

4. What do they say about cash in times of crisis?

5. "One man’s spending is another man’s income.” Is Suze's advice really responsible? Wouldn't everyone stopping spending cause a worse recession?

6. Is this programme trashy TV or does it serve some kind of purpose?

7. What advice would you give?

8. Is it hypocritical and sickening to see multi-billionaire Oprah trying to help out poor people?

9. Who is Oprah Winfrey?

10. What other useful advice do they give? What other advice would you add?



What is the correct pronunciation of the following terms?

money     debt     loan     wages     budget     salary     to owe     to own     euro     dollar     pound    

Now explain what they all mean.


Explain the meaning of the following vocabulary too:

assets     liabilities     currencies     subsidy     grants     instalment     income    


Are you rich or poor? Why aren’t you a millionaire?

Do you know any success stories of people who have made a lot of money in a short space of time?

What qualities does it take to become a millionaire?

Does your philosophy involve making a steady income over a long period of time or getting rich quick?

Have you got any good ideas for how a person could ‘make a packet’ in your city?

Do you think that too many people are obsessed with money these days?

Are you obsessed? How much importance do you give it?

Does money make people happier?

Is money the new religion?

What is the difference between ‘to get paid’ and ‘to charge’?

Have you ever been badly in debt?

What is your advice for surviving times of economic hardship or unemployment?

Do banks offer a genuinely good service?

What’s the difference between ‘creative accounting’ and ‘cheating’?

‘In debt and living like a prince’ or ‘in credit and living like a pauper’. Which is best?

Can a person be satisfied with the money that they have?

Is it good to wake up in the morning and think about money straight away?


Some banking terms:

overdraft     credit     interest rate    to lend     to borrow     to deposit     to withdraw     standing order     bankrupt     bank statement    


What is your opinion about the following?

Credit cards; Are they a rip-off?

Pension plans; Are they worth having?

Social security; Should the government give so much to the poor?

Pocket money; Youngsters have too much money these days.


If you had large amounts of money what would you invest it in?


Which would you use with the following expressions? DO or MAKE?


a profit

a loss

a packet

a killing

a mint

a fortune

a bomb


Which of the following people have money?

‘He’s got money to burn.’

‘Terry’s hard up.’

‘She’s rolling in it.’

‘They’re very well-off.’

‘Mrs. Miggins is completely broke.’

‘The company is out of pocket.’

‘That awful Smith family are living from hand to mouth.’

‘Dave and me are skint.’

‘My ex-girlfriend was loaded.’ (ASK YOUR TEACHER FOR THE ANSWERS)



What are the keys to good personal financial management? What advice would you give to your children?

How good are you at managing your money?

Do you save money and plan for the future, or do you live for the day?

Can you think of any good ways of saving money? 

What do you usually spend your money on?

What things do your friends and family spend on that you consider a complete waste of money?

How many pairs of shoes do you have? How many handbags have you got? Don’t you think that’s too many?


Which of the following statements do you agree with and why?

‘Women spend far more money on rubbish than men.’

‘Banks are a bunch of criminals and mafiosos. You’d be better off leaving your money in cash under the bed.’

‘If you want to make money in this life, you have to do something immoral, underhand or illegal.’

‘Business is business. And the only moral obligation of business is to make profit.’

‘We are lucky enough to live in a wealthy country but most people are unhappy. Most of the world live on less than €2 a day and are much happier.’

‘Welfare should be stopped completely, or made extremely difficult to get like in the US. Too many people live off the state.’

‘Money is the root of all evil.’


‘They say that money talks.’ ‘The only thing it ever said to me was “Goodbye!”’

pile of dollar bills

Free video tutorial!

Check out our Zak Washington English learners' instruction video (released every two weeks on Youtube):

Language Unlimited and Learn English with Zak Washington logo for full free online English language course

Write a comment

Comments: 0