Money makes the world go round with these English expressions
It’s all about the green!
No, we’re not talking about vegetables today (although we do love talking about food around here). This time, it’s about money.
Money is useful, money is needed and money is wanted everywhere we go. But did you know English has its own idioms related to money?
You can start impressing your English-speaking friends and give that wallet a British accent starting today. Take some notes!
Time is money
This is one of the most universal expressions around the world, so you might have heard it several times in your own mother tongue. It means that time is precious and should not be wasted on laziness or superficial things. The expression can also be used in the business world to mean that by wasting time, we are also wasting opportunities, profit or progress.
Example: “Come on, hurry up! Time is money, we must finish this report and deliver it as soon as possible.”
On the house
Depending on your culture, it might be common to pay for meals, gifts or drinks when going out with friends, family members or even a new date. You want to give your loved ones a treat, so you don’t allow them to pay for things. Instead, you pay for it yourself. In English, when you pay for someone else’s drink or meal, you can say “It’s on the house!”.
Example: “Please, it’s your birthday! You don’t need to pay for dinner this time. This one is on the house!”
Pay your dues
When you “pay your dues”, you have gone through hard times, difficult experiences and obstacles to get to where you are. Usually, people use this expression to explain that their success did not come for free – it took sacrifice, effort and courage.
Example: “I have paid my dues. Now, nobody can stop me from enjoying my success!”
Song alert! “Paid My Dues” by Anastasia
Put your money where your mouth is
Money is valuable, so when you “put your money where your mouth is”…it means you will finally stop making promises and start taking action! You can use this idiom when you feel somebody is not taking their own word seriously and you want them to finally value what they have been promising. This expression goes hand in hand with “actions speak louder than words”.
Example: “How many times have you told me you’re going to look for a new job? Put your money where your mouth is and start today!”
Song alert! “Waking Up in Vegas” by Katy Perry
Do something at all costs
Doing something at all costs? Then it means you will do it regardless of the consequences. It means you are so determined and your opinion is so strong, that others cannot change your mind or force you to do otherwise. We use this expression to show we have a strong feeling about something.
Example: “I want to avoid that place at all costs. It brings me bad memories!”
Feel like a million bucks
What makes you feel like a million bucks? Perhaps a brand new outfit? Perhaps a compliment? A new car or a fantastic job position? “Feeling like a million bucks” means feeling valuable, important, shiny and beautiful, depending on the context!
Example: “You’re so sweet! When you compliment me, I always feel like a million bucks.”
Song alert! “Million Bucks” by Smallpools
Bet your bottom dollar
If you had only one dollar left in your entire life, would you bet it? Probably not. It is way too valuable. But if you did, you would probably bet it on something you were absolutely sure would happen! That’s exactly what this idiom means. When you use this expression, you are 100% sure of what is going to happen.
Example: “You can bet your bottom dollar that my brother will not come to the party. He hates this type of event.”
Who pays for what when you go out with your friends? Does anybody volunteer to pay for the rest of the group? Is the person who invited you expected to pay? Or does each person pay for what they have eaten individually? This last option is called “going Dutch”. When you “go Dutch”, each person will pay for whatever they have ordered in a restaurant or bar separately.
Example: “Let’s go Dutch. I think it’s fair, since we are such a large group.”
Pay an arm and a leg
Some products are so expensive, that when you pay for them you can almost feel physical pain! When you go on an expensive vacation, buy a luxury car or go on a shopping spree, you pay an arm and a leg for it – which means, you pay a lot of money. When you use this expression, it is implied that paying this amount of money was not comfortable for your bank account: it was a higher amount than what you were used to.
Example: “I paid an arm and a leg for my exotic beach vacation.”
Bring home the bacon
We bet you were not expecting to find bacon on this post! And yet, here we are! That’s right – there is a money idiom in English that uses the word “bacon”, and it means “bringing home the income”. This means you are able to sustain your own home and family because you earn your own money. It’s quite positive and not as greasy as you thought it would be, right?
Example: “I can’t believe I finally got my dream job! Now I’m bringing home the bacon instead of having to ask my parents for money.”
What can you do next with your English phrases?
After learning these expressions, your vocabulary should be feeling richer already! Why don’t you show us what you can do on social media? Choose three money idioms you really like and create sentences with them… then share them with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! Also, don’t forget to share other money idioms you find funny. We’re waiting for you!
If you’d like to practise your new idioms with native speaking teachers, visit the Lingoda website and sign up for your free week trial