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How to talk about Money in Englishgiving someone money

Can money make you happy?

If so, how much do you really need?

In this lesson, you’ll learn some useful words for talking about money.

Also, you’ll listen to someone talking about this topic. After watching the video, try the little quiz below to see how much you can remember.

Happy learning!

Level: Pre-Intermediate to Intermediate (A2-B1)
Video: YES!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO – (Vocabulary list below)


Here are some useful words related to the topic. They’ll help you understand the video too.

A note (banknote)

A “note” or “banknote” (or “bill” in US English) is paper money: “I paid for the food with a £20 note.”

A coin

A “coin” is a piece of metal money: “Do you have change for a £2 coin? I need a £1 coin for the machine.”


If you pay in “cash”, you use coins or bank notes (not a credit card, etc.) to pay for something: “I paid the supermarket bill in cash.”

To borrow

If you “borrow” money from someone, you accept the money from them and then pay it back later: “I borrowed £200 from her.”

To lend

If you “lend” someone money, you give it to them, and they return it later: “I lent her £50 so she could get a taxi home.”

To owe

If you “owe” money to someone or a bank, you must pay them that money because you borrowed it before: “I owe Jessica £70 because she lent it to me last week.”

 A debt

If you have a “debt”, you owe money to a bank, a person, a company…: “I paid off all my debts last week.”

To waste money

If you “waste money”, you use it to buy things you don’t need: “I wasted my money on a really expensive car that doesn’t even work properly.”


If something is “rewarding”, it makes you feel happy because you’ve done something good for other people: “Working for a charity gives you a rewarding feeling.”


Someone who is “selfish” only thinks about themselves and not other people: “He’s so selfish – he never does anything for anyone else!”

To end up

If you “end up” doing something, you do that thing eventually: “After studying to be a doctor, I ended up working in a bank.”

Financially unstable

If you’re “financially unstable”, you don’t have enough money to pay for things: “She’s financially unstable since she lost her job.”

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Video quiz 

You’re going to watch a video with someone talking about money. Watch it once and answer the questions. [answers below]

  1. What does the speaker (Bill) say you should use your money to do?
  2. What does he say that people don’t need? Name two things.
  3. What does he say can happen if you use your money to buy stupid things?


Now talk about this topic with a friend or classmate. Make notes and try to use as much of the new language as you can.

Video script

Can money make you happy?

Personally, for me, I think it depends how you use your money. A lot of people go out and waste their money on stupid things, like nobody needs 20 cars, or 20 gold chains, or anything like that… or ten beach houses. So…I think that, the best thing to do is to use your money to help other people because it gives you a really rewarding feeling, and if you use your money for stupid things you end up financially unstable and unhappy which never ends well. So, I think the best thing to do is to definitely use your money for good instead of being selfish with it.



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Video quiz

  1. What does the speaker (Bill) say you should use your money to do? He says you should use it to help other people.
  2. What does he say that people don’t need? Name two things. He doesn’t think people need 20 cars or 10 beach houses.
  3. What does he say can happen if you use your money to buy stupid things? He says you can end up financially unstable and unhappy.


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