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If you decide to travel to a French speaking country to spend your vacation, to study or to work, mastering the vocabulary about money is a must. You will need it to carry out every single important transaction in everyday life: buying food, paying the rent, getting public services like transport or paying for healthcare, and getting access to different ways of entertainment. Getting familiar with key vocabulary to talk about money will definitely make you feel more confident and we can assure you that handling certain concepts will take a burden off you! Throughout this article, you are going to learn key vocabulary to talk about:

  • jobs and salary
  • banks
  • payment methods
  • idiomatic expressions related to money

So, do you accept the challenge to master all this vocabulary? Then, get on board!

If you wish to take the tests DELF, DALF or TCF, revising all our french vocabuary worksheets is always a great idea! So read on and start improving your French skills!


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Getting paid at work

There are people who consider tacky and nosy asking others how much money they earn at work. In fact, talking about salaries, especially with coworkers, can be a taboo for many people. What is important is not to keep salary details hush-hush but to feel that you are paid what you are worth!

Work And Salary – Emploi et salaire  

payla paie
actual wagesalaire réel
annual salarysalaire annuel
a fee / feesdes honoraires
a rise/ a wage increase une augmentation, une augmentation de salaire
a payslipun bulletin de paie
a bonusune prime
to work overtimefaire des heures supplémentaires
travelling / hotel expensesles frais de déplacement
paid leaveles congés payés
to refund rembourser
unemployment benefitl’allocation de chômage
compensation for somethingdes indemnités pour quelque chose
a maternity allowanceune allocation de maternité
housing benefitl’allocation de logement
a tax payer un, une contribuable
income taxl’impôt sur le revenu
to be liable for taxêtre imposable
a tax formune feuille d’impôts
to do one’s tax return remplir sa déclaration d’impôts
a tax allowanceun abattement fiscal
tax exemptionl’exonération fiscale

Bank Transactions

Now let’s return to the present in order to learn some vocabulary about this topic.

Bank transactions – Opérations bancaires

a bank account un compte bancaire
a current accountun compte courant
a savings account un compte sur livret
to open an account with a bankouvrir un compte dans une banque
to close an accountfermer un compte bancaire
to cash a check toucher un chèque
to make a deposit faire un versement
to deposit 500 euros in one’s accountverser 500 euros sur son compte
to make a bank transferfaire un virement
to withdraw money from retirer de l’argent de...
an ATM, a cash machineun guichet automatique, un distributeur
to draw money from one’s account retirer de l’argent sur son compte
a bank statementun relevé bancaire
a loan un prêt
interestl’intérêt, les intérêts

Payment Methods

How do you usually prefer to pay when you go shopping? Do you prefer debit or credit cards? Credit cards offer tempting advantages such as rewards on purchases or health assurance when you travel abroad. Let’s see these and other payment methods!

a credit cardune carte de crédit
a debit cardune carte bleue, une carte bancaire
a cheque, a checkun chèque
a cheque/ check book un chéquier
to write a cheque / checkfaire un chèque
to make a cheque out to sblibeller un chèque à l’ordre de qqn
to cross a chequebarrer un chèque
money de l’argent, des sous
to pay for something in cash payer en liquide; en espèces
to pay by cheque payer en chèque
to pay by credit cardpayer par carte de crédit / bancaire
a note/ a bill un billet
a coinune pièce
change la monnaie
give changerendre la monnaie
to change a 50 euros note changer un billet de 50 euros
to get change faire de la monnaie
small changede la petite monnaie
small / large notesdes petites / des grosses coupures / billets

Some Idioms Related to Money

Idiom / Expression idiomatique en FrançaisExplanation and example:
Payer en monnaie de singe
This expression dates from a 13th century practice: At the time, people had to pay a tax to cross the bridge between Paris and the Ile de la Cité, but stallholders who owned a monkey could pay by making the monkeys perform an act.
Meaning: Monopoly money, not to be really paid or to be scammed.
Example: Je n’ai pas accepté de faire ce travail, ils allaient me payer en monnaie de singe!
(I didn’t accept that job, they were going to pay me with peanuts)
C’est monnaie couranteMeaning: it’s commonplace, it happens all the time!
Example: Il a encore oublié où il est garé. C’est monnaie courante.
(He forgot where he parked his car. It happens all the time.)
Jeter l’argent par les fenêtresMeaning: pouring money down the drain.
Example: Acheter une robe à plus de 1,000 euros pour une fête me semble jeter l’argent par les fenêtres.
(I think buying a 1000 euros dress for a party is like pouring money down the drain.)
Un sou est un souMeaning: We must not waste money, even if the amounts involved are minimal.
Example: Je vais m’acheter le livre dans une librairie d'occasion. Il est 10 euros plus bon marché et un sou est un sou!
(I’m going to buy the book at a second-hand bookstore. It costs 10 euros less and a penny saved is a penny earned).
Ne pas avoir un sou vaillantMeaning: not to have a penny left
Example: Je viens d’arriver de mes vacances et je n’ai pas un sou vaillant!
(I’ve just arrived from vacation and I don’t have a penny left!)

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