Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today we are going to teach you natural, native-speaker vocabulary to talk about money.

This topic can pop up in a number of ways on the IELTS exam: in Speaking Part 1, the topic of shopping comes up. In Part 2, perhaps you are asked about expensive things you’ve bought or that you want to buy. In Speaking Part 3, Writing Task 2, or on the Reading exam, the concepts of materialism, consumerism or capitalism may appear.

The slang that you learn today could be used in Speaking Parts 1 and 2, and the idioms could be thrown into a Writing Task 2 essay (one or two idioms is OK), and idioms are great to use on any part of the Speaking exam.

Slang: moneybags

Usually used to describe a person, as in “Mr. Moneybags”.

This is often used sarcastically.

*Note: Please don’t say something costs an arm and a leg. This is overused by students, therefore it is not interesting enough to get a 7. Plus, this is somewhat of a cliche, meaning that it has been said too often in the past and it is now annoying, so native speakers don’t use it that often anymore.

Idiom: don’t have two nickels to rub together

This means that you don’t have any money.

For example, if the examiner asks you about shopping, you could say, “Honestly, I’m a student right now, so I don’t have 2 nickels to rub together. I can’t go shopping!”

Idiom: make ends meet

This describes your ability to pay the bills. It means that the amount of money you have coming in is enough to cover the money you have going out.

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Slang: bucks, dough, moola

Bucks is a synonym for dollars.

Dough and moola are synonyms for money.

Idiom: breadwinner

You may know this one, but it is important in terms of thinking about gender roles and new societal expectations.

This describes the person who earns money to support their family.

Slang: Mcmansion

This is a gigantic home, ridiculously huge. This is an idea that is part of the (old) American Dream- white picket fence and 2.5 kids.

Use this in a Speaking Part 3 or Writing Task 2 answer about values and modern perceptions of wealth, status and values.

Practice using these in your IELTS Speaking answers!

Leave us an example sentence with the new vocabulary in the comments section below!


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