11 PHRASAL VERBS for talking about MONEY in English

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Today I’m going to show you the money! You’re going to learn useful phrasal verbs we use in English to talk about money. Most of us love having money and hate spending it. Regardless of how you feel, money plays an important role in all our lives. I chose to teach you some of the most common phrasal verbs we use to talk about saving money, spending money, paying off debt, and using your savings. You’ll learn how to speak naturally about money by using these expressions. Know it all? Test yourself with the quiz at:

11 PHRASAL VERBS for talking about MONEY in English


Money, money, money is so funny in a rich man’s world. Vanity Fair. I’m not a rich man, so I can’t afford half of the things in here. Speaking of which, we’re talking about money, and in this lesson what I want to do is teach you a bunch of phrasal verbs that we use to talk about spending money, saving money, and paying back debts that we use quite commonly. And I’m going to teach you how to use them, and what they are, and have some fun with you. Are you ready? Let’s go to the board. Okay?

E, it’s not funny, I got no money. E is all, see? Got dollar signs for eyes. You might see that. If you’re having a problem, take your screen and enlarge it to full screen, there’s a little button. And we actually have a video on that, go check that out if you don’t know how to use your YouTube. Okay? Anyway, E’s got his eyes… He’s got dollar signs for eyes, because he’s got money in his hand. And if you’re lucky, you have money, too; but when you don’t have money, well, it’s time to learn some phrases to help you with that. Okay?

So, here’s our dollar sign, here, and let’s start with having money or saving it. Okay? If you’re lucky… Well, let’s start with just having enough. A lot of people just have enough money. And how do we talk about that in English? Well, what you can say is this: “I’m getting by”. “Getting by” means I don’t have a lot of money, and I’m surviving. So I can’t go on big trips or do anything, but I’m not poor and I don’t have zero money, but I have enough to get my food, and pay my rent or my homestay, and pay some other things for me, maybe my cellphone and my internet, but nothing special; no car, no fancy trips, no bling, bling, bling or great jewellery. You know what I mean? So, that’s “getting by”. It’s kind of positive because it means I’m not bad, but it’s not fantastic, like: “I’m rich!” Okay?

Let’s talk about “scrape by”, because this is have just enough. When you’re scraping by, imagine you have this thing here-okay?-and this thing. And there’s gum on here, and you want to get the gum off, you’re going to… That’s called scraping. And when you scrape, sometimes you’ll take a little bit of the paper off with it, just a little bit, when you scrape. In Canada, we have winter, and when we have ice on our windows, we scrape the ice to get rid of it. It’s a lot of work, it’s not lots of fun. You probably understand the phrasal verb now, right? When you’re scraping by, you just have enough money. But unlike “getting by”, because notice how we have “get”, we have you’re getting something, you’re given something, which is good, you’re getting money, that’s why you get by; ‘scraping” by means just a little bit. Just enough. And you feel negative. You don’t feel good when you’re scraping by. Every day is heavy and hard, because you almost don’t have enough money to pay for everything. Sorry. You need a job or a better one. Okay.

So, what happens? How do we change this, “scraping by”? Why don’t we do something like this, why don’t we save some money? In English, we have two phrasal verbs you can use for saving money. Notice the up sign: “to save up”. When you save up money… Think of it this way: Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo. You increase your money. You usually save your money up for something big, like a car, a vacation, retirement. And retirement is when you stop working forever. You’re older, 65-70, you finish work and you don’t want to work again, you want to play golf, or go baseball, go sailing. You retire. So, you save up. These are for big purchases. So, it won’t be 0. It’ll be ,000, ,000, a million dollars. A million dollars. [Laughs] Okay.

We have another one for saving, though, and we call it: “put aside”. You might have difficulty because probably you’ve never heard of “aside”. This is my side, this is on the other side. Okay? So when we say “aside”, it’s like here, on the side. On the side is “aside”. Okay? Sometimes we speak and say: “I want to make an aside”, which means I’m going to give you a direct conversation, but I want to say something a little off to the side.