|I. Pre-Listening Exercises [Top]|
What are common monthly expenses for a student living on their own, including student or car loans? How about a family of four? Write a list of your expenses, figure out how much money you spend on each area, and what percentage of your income pays for each.
HELPFUL TIP: Don’t spend more money than you earn and get into debt. It will follow you and become an unwelcomed friend. Following a budget will help you keep out of debt.
|II. Listening Exercises [Top]|
Listen to the conversation by pressing the “Play Audio” button and answer the questions. Press the “Final Score” button to check your quiz.
Ron: Uh, could I borrow a few bucks until payday? I’m a little strapped for cash.
Nancy: Uh, yeah, I guess, but I’m pinching pennies myself, and you still owe me $20 from last week. And mom and your friend Ron said you borrowed money from them this past week. [Oh, yeah.] How ARE things going anyway?
Ron: Well, not very well. To be honest, I’m really in the hole, and I can’t seem to make ends meet these days.
Nancy: What do you mean? I thought you landed a great job recently, so you must be loaded.
Ron: Well, I do have a job, but I’ve used my credit cards to pay off a lot of things recently, but now, I can’t seem to pay the money off.
Nancy: Uh, do you have a budget? I mean, how do you keep track of your income and expenses?
Ron: Well, when my money runs out, I come to you. Of course. [Great!] No, but I guess I should have some financial plan.
Nancy: Well, let me see if I can help you. How much money do you spend on your apartment?
Ron: Uh, I pay $890 on rent for the studio apartment downtown . . . not including utilities and cable TV. But the place has an awesome view of the city.
Nancy: Uh, $890! Why are you paying through the nose for such a small place when you could find a cheaper one somewhere outside of the downtown area?
Ron: Yeah, I guess.
Nancy: Okay. How much money do you spend on food a month?
Ron: Hmmm. I’m not really sure. I think I spend around $600. [$600?!] Well, I go out to eat at least four times a week, so those expenses add up. I just don’t enjoy eating alone, and I don’t have a knack for cooking like you do.
Nancy: Well, I can understand that, but perhaps you ought to buy some microwaveable meals you could prepare at home.
Ron: Well, I guess I could.
Nancy: And entertainment?
Ron: Well, I spend a few dollars here and there on basketball and movie tickets, a concert or two, and ballroom dance lessons.
Nancy: Uh, exactly how much do you spend on all of these? Just a “few” dollars?
Ron: Well, oh . . . about $400 or so.
Nancy: Or so? No wonder you’re having money problems. You can’t just blow your money on things like that! And what about transportation?
Ron: Oh, I commute to work everyday in my new sports car, but I got a great deal, and my monthly payments are only $450. Come outside and take a look. We can go for a spin!
Nancy: No, I’ve heard enough. You’ve got to curb your spending, or you’ll end up broke. I suggest you get rid of your credit cards, cut back on your entertainment expenses, and sell your car. Take public transportation from now on.
Ron: Sell my car?! I can’t date without a car. What am I going to say? “Uh, could you meet me downtown at the bus stop at 7:00?” Come on!
Nancy: And you need to create a budget for yourself and stick to it, and start with paying off your bills, starting with me. You owe me $50 dollars.
Ron: Fifty dollars! Wait, I only borrowed $20 from you last week. How did you come up with $50?
Nancy: Financial consulting fees. My advice is at least worth $30!.
Key Vocabulary [Top]
- buck (noun): dollar
– Could you load me a buck or two until tomorrow?
- be strapped for cash (idiom): have no money available
– He has really been strapped for cash because he lost his job two weeks ago.
- pinch pennies (idiom): be careful with money
– That young couple had to pinch pennies so they can live.
- in the hole (idiom): in debt
– My brother has charged so some many purchases to his credit cards that he’s is the hole.
- make ends meet (idiom): make enough money to live
– When I was a student, I had to work three part-time jobs to make ends meet.
- land (verb): find
– I need to land a good job where I can earn a lot of money.
- be loaded (adjective): having a lot of money
– Don’t let him borrow money off you because, in reality, he’s loaded. His rich parents give him $2,500 in spending money a month!
- budget (noun): a financial plan of expenses and income
– You should create a budget of your expenses.
- keep track of (idiom): keep a record of
– Any business should keep track of its earnings.
- run out (phrasal verb): use up or exhaust
– If you don’t keep a budget, you might run out of money before your next paycheck.
- utilities (noun): services provided by gas, power, and water companies
– The rent for this apartment includes the cost of utilities.
- pay through the nose (idiom): pay an excessive amount of money
– Car insurance is so expensive that you have to pay through the nose to get any type of coverage these days.
- knack (verb): a special way or ability of doing something
– My mother has a real knack for saving money on her low salary.
- blow (verb): spend thoughtlessly or wastefully; throw away
– People sometimes blow money on things that have no lasting value.
- commute (verb): travel back and forth between work and home
– I commute by bus everyday.
- curb (verb): lessen or reduce
– Unless you curb your spending, you’re going to run out of money before the week is over.