ESL Money Idioms Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan will help ESL students learn about some frequently used idioms that contain references to money. Students will listen to a read-aloud book and play games related to money idioms.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson about money idioms, students will be able to:

  • Recognize and define the meaning behind some common money idioms.

Time Length

30-60 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Speak and write about grade-appropriate complex literary and informational texts and topics.


Recognize and explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs.


  • Ballpark figure
  • Bet your bottom dollar
  • Tighten your belt
  • Born with a silver spoon
  • Cost an arm and a leg
  • At all costs
  • Cut your losses
  • Dip into your savings
  • Keep your head above water
  • Laugh all the way to the bank
  • Looks like a million dollars
  • Lose your shirt
  • Made of money
  • Money burns a hole in your pocket
  • Money doesn't grow on trees
  • Money talks
  • On the house
  • Put your money where your mouth is
  • Your money's worth
  • Nest egg
  • Penny for your thoughts
  • Rags to riches
  • Set you back
  • A steal


  • Copy of the book Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
  • Clip of the song 'Tomorrow' from 'Annie' and copies of lyrics for all students
  • Highlighters
  • Post-its
  • Markers
  • Pretend money

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