Chatterbox #297 – Personal finance (Ad-free & interactive transcript)

Episode description

Are you a saver or a spender? In this episode, Andrew and Anna share their experiences handling finances and give some tips on how to spend less money. If you’re interested in personal finance, be sure to give it a listen!

Chatterbox is a series that features natural conversations between native speakers. This series is designed for intermediate and advanced learners. Listening to our Chatterbox series is a great way to improve your vocabulary and listening skills. Take your English fluency to the next level!

Fun fact

Did you know that people tend to spend 12% to 18% more when using a credit card than they would with cash? Maybe Anna is right to have never had a credit card!

Expressions included in the study guide

  • To have a handle on [something]
  • Night and day
  • To kick the bucket
  • To push the boat out
  • Peace of mind
  • To delve into [something]
Andrew: Chatterbox number 297. Personal finance, featuring Andrew and Anna. So, Anna, let’s start our conversation. And today we’re talking about personal finance. And these days, it seems like there’s a lot of instability in the global economy. Prices seem to be rising, we’ve talked about shrinkflation on Culips before as well. It just means that we have less buying power, our money is not worth as much as it used to be. And I think in reaction to this, a lot of people do start to think twice before they purchase something.

And a lot of people become interested in personal finance and how they can save their money, grow their money, invest their money, all of these things. So, I guess, Anna, maybe I’ll kick off the conversation by asking you just a general question, and that is, on a scale of one to 10, how interested are you in personal finance? Is it something that you’re really concerned about and interested in? Or is it something that you don’t really like to spend too much time thinking about?

Anna: OK, great questions to start off with actually, and I would say that I am somewhere in the middle, closer towards 10 than one. So, definitely, I have to say that as I’ve got older, this has changed dramatically. When I was younger, I really didn’t care as much about saving money or personal finance. But as I’ve got older, I would say from perhaps my mid 20s upwards, it’s definitely something that I’m much more focused on. However, I’m not obsessive about it.

So, for example, I’ll try and put that in context. Like I don’t obsess about how much I spend, like, I don’t know exactly how much I spend every single month like all of my expenses. But I really do like to have a handle on how much I’m saving. And I’m much more of a saver now than I was before.

But I think that comes back to what you were saying about that kind of one thing that really depresses me, is when you think about your savings that you have in the bank, and like every year, they’re like less and less and less.

So, I’m really interested in ways that I can, like, invest or maybe do something with my money so that I can earn more money, I don’t know. But I’m kind of at that phase right now where I want to be, I want to be smarter with my money, that’s a better way of putting it. But I haven’t always been like that. That’s a recent transformation.

But when I was younger, I would get my paycheck, paycheck, oh, that’s very American, I would get my pay, I would spend it. I would get my pay, I would spend it, you know, so it was like, there was no saving going on whatsoever. I wish I had been a bit more of a saver when I was younger. I think people who know to save early are much better off financially in the future. So, I wish I had done that, but I didn’t. So, yeah, what about you? Where are you on the spectrum on the scale?

Andrew: Yeah, Anna, I would say that my experience is actually pretty similar to yours. When I was in my 20s, I don’t want to say that I spent a lot of money, I just want to say that I had no money. So, it’s not like I was against saving, it’s just that I didn’t really have any to save.

So, you know, in my 20s, I was a university student for the majority of the time, and I did have some part time jobs while I was a university student, but all of that money was like coming in and then going out, you know, paying for rent and food and some clothing and maybe hanging out and spending time with my friends and this kind of thing.

And there just wasn’t very much left over. So, I would say almost for the whole decade in my 20s I was living paycheck to paycheck, which is an expression that we use in North America to talk about that situation where you get some money, and you spend that money and then you don’t have any savings to live off of until you get your next paycheck from your job.

And yeah, I think this is a natural thing about getting older, you start to become more mature, you graduate from university, you get your first full time job, and you start making a little bit of money and then it’s easier to save, right? But still even my 30s, in my early 30s I had a student loan from attending university so instead of saving I was paying off my student loan for the first couple of years of my 30s.

Which is good because I was getting out of the debt that I had accumulated from being a university student, but it wasn’t great for my savings account. So, I think it was like I was financially healthy, but maybe not building savings so much. But once I finally got that out of the way, then I started becoming more interested in saving money.

And yeah, now, my wife and I, my wife has always been a good saver. And I think really, her healthy financial outlook has had a good influence on me. And also, just now that we’re together and married, we have financial goals that we want to accomplish in the future. So, yeah, we are on a very strict budget right now. We have everything, we know where every penny is going. We have a spreadsheet; we map everything out.

We have different accounts for our food budget, our rent, our clothing, our allowance, we give each other a little allowance each month, and everything is very organized. Thanks to my wife, I gotta give her credit where credit is due, it was not necessarily my idea was more under her influence.

But it’s night and day, the way that I used to treat my finances when I was in my 20s, compared to now in my 30s it’s totally different. And being an English teacher, it doesn’t mean that I make a lot of money unfortunately, I wish this industry offered high salaries, it doesn’t. So, it’s not like I have a lot of money. But the money that I do have, I think I’m being quite smart with it these days.

Anna: I have a little bad habit, when I’m happy I spend money. So, if I’m having a good day, I’m like, “Oh, perfect. Let’s go to the shop.” And I’ll be like, “Oh, yeah, that’s great.” So, I have to be careful when I’m happy because when I’m happy I spend money. But I’m not a big shopper to be honest, I don’t like to shop a lot. But if I’m happy, I need to be really careful.

But one thing I’ve tried doing recently is, I have a bit of a bad habit, as I said, for shopping when I’m happy and buying things that I don’t really need. Everybody does that, I guess. But one thing I’ve been trying to do more recently is like, if I see something I like, I really like, I don’t buy it straightaway. So, I’ll be like, “OK, I really liked that. But I’m not going to buy it today.” And then the following week, I’ll leave it another week, I’ll leave it another week.

And if I’m still thinking about it, after one month, then I’ll buy it. But if I stopped thinking about it, or forget about it, then obviously I won’t buy it. I’m trying not to just buy things, impulsive buys. And, also, I’m trying to treat myself a bit more. So, for example, if I have a bad week of work, where I don’t feel I’ve been very productive. I kind of like punish myself and I’m like, “No, you can’t have those pair of shoes. You haven’t worked hard enough this week, right?”

Andrew: Oh, you’re too harsh on yourself.

Anna: Right? No, no, but I think it’s good. And then if I have a really good week, or really productive, I do a lot of things. I’m like, “OK, you can go and buy that, you know, that shirt or that nice over expensive cream or something like this, you can go and buy that because you’ve done well this week”. So, I try and give myself, like, treats. I know it kind of sounds like I’m treating myself like a dog. But it—honestly, it’s like trying to motivate myself.

Andrew: It’s incentives, right? Incentives are one of the best ways to motivate people, absolutely.

Anna: I have a pair of jeans that I want from Levi’s. And I really want them but they’re expensive. So, I’m like, OK, if I have a good quarter, then I’ll buy the jeans and if I don’t have a good quarter, I won’t buy the jeans. So, that’s kind of keeping me going it’s like a carrot, we say dangling a carrot.

Andrew: In front of a horse.

Anna: Exactly. The reason also, I wanted to mention as well, a really good book, if any of you are interested in personal finance or money mindset—I’m gonna use a bit of a buzzword—there is a really good book that I read, which is called, The Abundance Code. It’s really good book, it’s a very interesting book because it helps you think about money in a different way. And it’s written by a lady I’m just gonna get the author’s name here because obviously that’s very important. Julie Ann Cairns.

And she wrote this book called The Abundance Code, and if you’re interested in kind of changing your perspective around money, it’s a really, really good book. And she kind of flips it on its head and how we kind of live our lives always thinking that money is a very scarce thing.

But actually, you need to think about money in an abundance mindset, well I mean those are kind of some buzzwords, but I won’t you know, kind of ruin it for you, but if you’re interested in that type of thing, I’d recommend reading that book, it was—it was really good. I’d be interested to know, Andrew, ‘cause you have all these—you know, you track your finances very carefully.

But do you ever have any of these like impulse buys where you’re like, oh, you know, where you’re like, “We don’t want to spend money, but ….” Do you know what I mean? Do you have any kind of bad days? Or I don’t know.

Andrew: You know, I think I’ve really gotten it under control the last—well, definitely the last year because, as I mentioned, I have an allowance right now like my wife—when I get paid—so, I get my salary from my teaching job, that money goes directly to my wife, she takes it all. So, my bank is at like zero. It’s like all my salary boom, to my wife, where she will budget everything. And one thing that’s interesting about living in Korea is it’s very easy to set up multiple bank accounts.

This has changed a little bit now. But compared to back home in Canada, where it’s a little bit of a pain in the neck to make bank accounts, and to transfer money from one account to another account, that doesn’t really exist in Korea. So, it’s very easy to make like several different accounts and to transfer money to those accounts, which makes just allotting everything really simple.

So, I send her my salary and right now we are really trying to save, so I have a monthly budget that is—I don’t know if I should say the exact number, but it’s around a little less than 200 American dollars per month. So, that is my personal spending money. But the thing is, I don’t want to spend all of that money because then it’s difficult. So, out of that money out of my personal spending money, I actually save about 25% of that.

And a purchase that I’ve wanted to buy for a long time is a new espresso machine. I have a coffee machine in my house. But I don’t have an espresso machine anymore. I did have one that my friend gave me, but it has kicked the bucket and I had to throw it out. It stopped working. So, I’ve wanted to buy an espresso machine for a long time.

And I’m saving up to buy one. I know this kind of sounds silly as a 37-year-old man, it’s like, if you want a coffee machine, just go out and buy a coffee machine, right? But under this new financial system that we’re doing, I’ve been saving, you know, like about $50 a month, and the espresso machine that I want to buy is $1,200. I’ve saved up about $600 so far. 

And I think this is great, because I know that this is something that I actually want to buy, because I’ve been doing it month after month after month—just put my $50 in and once I get to $1,200, then I’ll see if it’s something that if I actually want to buy it or not. But yeah, being like really, really strict like this has kind of made it so that I don’t buy any impulse things.

Anna: Or pointless things.

Andrew: Yeah, sometimes I’ll, like, I’ll buy a hamburger or something, you know, like, I’ll treat myself to, like, a meal.

Anna: Push the boat out!

Andrew: Yeah. And those are like my impulse things. I just don’t really have that much spending money because of this small allowance, like, that’s my money for buying clothes, that’s my money for buying any like personal things. If I go out with my friends for dinner, or something, that’s where I’m drawing my money from, so I have to be really careful with it. And it’s—it’s great. I kind of like living under that tight restriction.

Knowing, you know, I say this, maybe some listeners from different countries around the world are saying, “Oh, Andrew $200 is a ton of money.” But yeah, but here in Korea, where things are expensive, it’s not really that much money, there’s not much you can do with it. So, yes, I live very humbly these days and trying to save more than spend.

Anna: Yeah, and I think there’s something very satisfying about saving money. And I think once you get into the habit of it, it’s very satisfying to see it increasing a little bit. Every time you look in your account, you know, you can see the number going up and you think, OK, that makes me—that makes me feel—feel better. And I think once you start saving, it becomes like a bit of an addiction. And also, once you start building up a little bit of money or whatever, it’s like it hurts… to, like, use it.

It’s like, I really don’t want to see those numbers go down, you know? You kind of think about it and you go over it in your head about whether, “Do I really need to spend this money, or not?” The reason why I started saving more deliberately a few years ago is because we have an expression in English which is, “save for a rainy day”, which is basically, like, you never know what’s going to happen. Life happens and sometimes you have to spend money. I don’t know.

Maybe you have to move back home or—and I think this was more important for me because I live in another country that I thought I need to have a bit of a cushion. We say “cushion” in English to mean like a financial buffer.

Andrew: Kind of like a safety net almost, right? If you get into a problem, then you have some money to make it through the problem without running into bigger problems.

Anna: And that gives me a bit of peace of mind about what I’m doing. Just knowing that I have a little bit of money that I just keep safe locked away, I don’t touch it. I don’t—I don’t use that money ever. And I just know that if I have a really urgent problem or something that happens, then I can use that money. But as you mentioned—you touched on it very briefly there—some people, for some people, it’s just not possible to do that.

Maybe they don’t have the means to save at that time. And I’ve been in that position as well, where I haven’t had the money to save something. So, I mean, it’s almost like a luxury to be able to save money as well. And I think it’s important to say that not everybody’s in a position.

Andrew: 100%. 100%.

Anna: Yeah, not everybody’s in the position to be able to do that. And I wish everyone had that kind of peace of mind as well, because it does make you feel more, a little bit more relaxed about things. But equally, some people, like, have the perspective of why save? Like, just spend all the money that you have, you know, some people are very open about it. They’re like, “Yeah, no, I just spend all the money that I have, I go and do things. I use that money to live in the moment and do whatever.”

So, some people have a very, very different outlook on saving. I think most people would probably think that saving was a good thing. But some people are really on the opposite hand. They’re like, “No, I’m just going to spend the money that I have, save? Save for what?”

Andrew: Or even spend money that they don’t have, as well.

Anna: Exactly, exactly. Oh, that’s a good point. I’ve always been worried about having a credit card, because I worry—I don’t know if I fully trust myself to have a credit card. So, I’ve never had a credit card.

Andrew: Oh, interesting.

Anna: I’ve always—yeah, never had a credit card. I’ve just never delved into that zone. Even though it would probably be great for me to get a credit score and whatever. But I’ve never had a credit card, because honestly, I don’t trust myself with it. And I think people need more education about personal finances when they’re younger, like, when you’re, like, I don’t know, in your teenage years, to know about this kind of thing with credit cards, because I know some people that have gotten some really difficult situations with credit cards, spending money, you know, to do things or whatever.

And I understand why people use them, I’m not criticizing people that do. But I know people that have got into some really stressful situations with credit cards. And I think that people need to be educated a bit more about personal finance when they’re younger. I would have loved to have a bit more education about that, saving money, why it’s good to save money. If you don’t save money, this is what might happen.

Or if you get a lot of credit cards, you could be in this situation in the future. This is how credit cards work, it’s not actually your money.

Andrew: Right.

Anna: Right? Do you know what I mean? Like you have to pay it back. I think there needs to be a bit more of that around personal finances and education around that, definitely.

Andrew: I absolutely agree with you. When I was a high school student, I took accounting classes. So, I learned about, you know, how to do bookkeeping for small businesses, but we never had any personal finance classes. We didn’t learn about investing. We didn’t learn about credit. We didn’t learn about student loans and mortgages and different savings strategies. I think that’s really important to have a society that’s financially literate. Can’t be a bad thing. Can’t be a bad thing.

So, I don’t know why Canadian schools don’t offer that. It would be interesting to hear from our listeners and to see if their countries do offer a kind of personal finance class in high school for students. I’m sure that there are some countries around the world that do. Unfortunately, Canada isn’t one of them and it sounds like the UK isn’t one either.

Anna: No, I’ve never had anything like that. And also, I would say as well, obviously, in my position, I’m one person, OK, so I know that this is a very different situation when we’re talking about people that have families or, you know, it’s—you know, credit cards can be really useful as well because, you know, you need to put expenses or things that you want to do and it’s not all bad, but obviously, I’m looking at it from a perspective of one person—I’m only responsible for myself.

So, really, I know that the situation is different if you’ve got four children that you have to pay for and, you know, it’s like a different—a different conversation. But I like saving I think saving is important, but I’m not obsessive about it. Maybe I should be? Maybe I need to take a bit of a leaf out of you and your wife’s book and try and just not spend too much in things like supermarkets. I feel like I spend too much money in supermarkets. I’m terrible. Because I go when I’m hungry.

I always make that mistake. I go when I’m hungry. I spend a lot of money and you know, I’m just I don’t look at the receipt and I’m just like, yeah, whatever. It’s just supermarket, it’s food. I have to buy food. But those little things add up. Those little things add up.

Andrew: Yeah, I think that is probably an area that we could reduce our spending in as well as our food budget because my wife and I both work a lot. And at the end of the day, you’re hungry. And there are so many restaurants just within walking distance and food delivery in Korea, it’s so easy. And you can just open your app and they’ll deliver it right to your door. And sometimes if you’re tired and hungry at the end of the day, it’s really easy to do that.

So maybe we could be more disciplined in that regard. But Anna, before we wrap up, because I know we’re getting a little long here, but I do want to share some tips, because we did say that we’re going to give some tips.

Anna: Yes.

Andrew: So, I wrote down how many… I have five tips that I wrote down here on a little post it and maybe I’ll share one of them because I think it’s funny because we already talked about this at the start of the episode. And my tip is, get older because that has been the best thing for me for saving money is aging. I don’t care so much about looking cool and having like the coolest fashion. So, I don’t need to stress out about buying fashionable clothes and spending money on fashionable clothes.

I’m also busier now that I’m older. I can’t see my friends, three or four times a week like I could when I was younger, and I’d spend money every time I went out with my friends. So, that’s actually one of the tips that I wrote down is just like age, get older, it has helped me save money.

Anna: Uhuh. Yeah, yeah, age, yeah. Get older, that’s a good one. I’ve—I’ll just do five quick ones. So, don’t buy things straight away if you want them, leave it a bit of time. I would also say keep one account with money in that you don’t touch. So, one account where there’s no transactions, you just put money in it and that helps save because you don’t have to kind of mix it up with other money. Give yourself treats, I think is a good way to manage, like, your spending.

So, if you do something well, like—when in my case, give yourself treats. And also, this is a good one, spend your money. If you’re thinking about what—how to spend your money. I’ve always—I always think about it like this. Spend your money on experiences rather than things. So, if you’re thinking about, “How can I spend money?” I always prefer to spend money doing things rather than getting things. And that’s always how I prioritize my spending.

And also, if you want to learn a bit more about personal finance, or the way you think about money, I definitely recommend reading that book, The Abundance Code. It changed the way that I thought about money and personal finance. So, those are my mini tips, don’t know if they’re useful, but that’s what works for me.

Andrew: I like it. I mean, all of these tips, everybody’s financial situation is so different from person to person to person. It’s impossible to say, like, you should do this, because of course, we all have different backgrounds, and everybody is different. But it’s always interesting to hear other people’s perspectives. And there is a little bit of a taboo in Western culture around talking about money and talking about finance.

And sometimes it’s something that people are not too open about, so it is fascinating to have conversations like this. I’ll share my tips that I wrote down on my post it note here. Of course, getting older, that was my kind of joke. The next tip is buy in bulk, buy in bulk. So, for example, I always have my eyes open for a good sale. I was at the supermarket today and it’s kind of a new trend, I don’t know if this is a worldwide trend. I kind of feel like it’s a worldwide trend.

I’ll have to do more research into it. I don’t know in Spain, maybe you could chip in with your perspective in Spain, but here in Korea, suddenly there’s a lot of non-alcoholic beer that’s for sale. And I have a feeling like non-alcoholic drinks are becoming kind of trendy and popular.

Anna: Very trendy, very trendy. Yeah.

Andrew: Yeah, I mean, this is—also ties into getting older. I like beer, but I don’t want to drink a lot of alcohol as I get older. So, non-alcoholic beer is like the perfect fit for me. And it’s kind of expensive, like one can here in Korea of the type that I like, is around $3.80 American. $3.80.

Anna: Wow.

Andrew: So, it’s expensive, yeah. But today, just this morning, when I was in the supermarket, there was a sale, and it was 90 cents a can. So, it’s much, much cheaper. And so, my wife and I saw this and we’re like, “Let’s buy a ton.” So, we bought, like, as much as we could load into our little shopping basket that we had brought with us because it was just such a huge discount. So, taking advantage of those opportunities when you see something.

Another example is, I saw there was a fantastic sale like 80% off sale on iron free dress shirts. And I hate ironing, I hate wrinkles, I hate anything to do with having to get wrinkles out of clothing. So, I always try and wear iron free dress shirts. And when I saw that they were on sale, I bought, like 10 or 15 of them. I bought a bunch because they’re in bulk. And I knew that I’m going to wear these all the time for going to work, any kind of professional situation where I need to wear a dress shirt. It was a fantastic sale. So, I bought them like two years ago. And just this week I opened one, you know, it’s still in its packaging, I opened it up and put it on. So, I needed, I needed a shirt to wear.

So, I think when there are opportunities like that, you should jump on them, buy in bulk and you can save. So, that’s my one tip. My other tip is, have inexpensive hobbies. So, I’m very lucky that the things that I love to do, like playing chess, running, these are really inexpensive hobbies, I don’t have to spend—you know, for playing chess, it’s like, I do have a membership, but it’s very small monthly fee.

And running is free, except for shoes, but I buy a new pair of running shoes like once a year or so. So, yeah, inexpensive hobbies, if you can find something that you enjoy that’s rather cheap to do. You can spend your time, have a high quality of life and also save money.

Anna: Oh, that’s a good one. I like that one, that’s good. I think with a—just to make a note about the discount one and finding things on discount. I’m terrible at that because I’m like, “No, I’ll just buy it now, I don’t, I’m not going to wait until there’s a discount. I want it now.” And my partner’s like “No, no, no, wait until there’s a deal, like don’t buy it. Like don’t be stupid, like wait until there’s a deal because there’s going to be a deal in like one month or two months.”

And I’m like, “But I want it now.” So, I’m terrible. I don’t buy things on deals but I’m learning to do that a little bit more, I’m learning to be a bit more smart about that as well. So, that’s their influence rubbing off on me.

Andrew: Patience is a virtue, for sure. And my final tip, my final tip is, again, this is one that was only recently available to me for, you know, most of my life, I just never had enough money to do this. So, yeah, it might not be applicable for everybody’s situation, but is to buy one thing that is higher quality rather than to buy several things that are lower quality. So, although you have to pay more money upfront, if that is something that you’re going to wear or use for a long time.

And you know that… just buying one, you know, you have to pay more money for it upfront, but it’s high quality, it’s going to last a long time. It’s—at the end of the day actually cheaper than having to replace it several times. So, if you can afford to buy something that’s higher quality, that has helped me a little bit.

Anna: Oh, good tips. OK, I like your tips more than mine actually, Andrew, you’re obviously much better at this than I am. I think everyone should listen to Andrew. So, it was a little bit more than mine, but.

Andrew: You had good tips as well. That brings us to the end of this lesson. Talk to you next time. Bye.

To have a handle on [something] (Idiom, informal)

To have a handle on [something] means to be able to understand something fully or to be able to control something. A handle is the part of something that we hold in our hand when we use it, for example, a knife or a cup. When you have a handle on [something], you have a good understanding of how it works and how it is used.

In this episode, Anna says that she likes to have a handle on how much she is saving. This means she likes to have control over her savings, as in, she likes to have a clear understanding of how much money she has.

You will also hear people say to get a handle on [something]. To get a handle on [something] means to start to understand it better or to learn how to deal with it.

Here are a couple more examples with to have a handle on [something]:

Lucy:  My screen just turned white, and I have no idea how to fix it. Can you help?
Ryan:  Let me see. Oh, there’re a lot of cables here. Okay, let’s try this one. Did it work?
Lucy:  No. Are you sure it’s a good idea to move the cables around? I don’t want to make it worse.
Ryan:  You’re right. We need someone who has a handle on how these things work. I’m going to call our tech support department.

Paul:  I got another F on my math test. I just don’t understand how to solve these problems! What do I do?
Teresa:  You just need some more practice. Don’t worry, you’ll get a handle on it. Just be patient. I can help you if you want.
Paul:  That’d be great! Thank you.

Night and day (Idiom)

The idiomatic expression night and day is used to show contrast between two things or people. If two things (or people) are night and day, they are completely different. This expression is popular because night and day are two opposites in the 24-hour day that everyone is familiar with.

Night and day is also used to talk about a positive change that happens over time. In this episode, Andrew uses this expression when comparing the way that he used to treat his finances to the way he does now. He means the way he deals with his finances has changed a lot by improving over the years. It went from bad (night) to good (day).

You might hear people say it’s like night and day or it’s a night and day difference. For example, if you compare two things and one is much better than the other, you can say it’s like night and day.

Here are a couple more examples with night and day:

Susan:  I heard you found a new job. Is that true?
Tom:  Yeah, it is. I work as a personal assistant now.
Susan:  So, how is it going? Do you like it better than your old job?
Tom:  It’s so much better! It’s like night and day, you know. It’s completely different, and I actually enjoy working now.
Susan:  That’s great! I’m really happy for you.

Jason:  Have you seen Phillip? He came back yesterday, right?
Alexandra:  Yes, we had a history class together.
Jason:  So how is he? It’s been so long since I’ve seen him!
Alexandra:  You should hear his French! It’s improved so much after a year spent in France. It’s a night and day difference!
Jason:  I’m not surprised, he must have had a lot of practice there!

To kick the bucket (Idiom, informal)

To kick the bucket is an informal idiomatic expression that means to die. This slang expression is a euphemism that we use to replace the word die when we don’t want to be too serious talking about such an upsetting thing. To kick the bucket is also a more humorous way to say that someone has died or that something has stopped working.

In this episode Andrew says that his coffee machine kicked the bucket. He means that it died, as in, it stopped working. We can use this expression when talking about non-living things as well, just like Andrew did.

You should be very careful using this expression as it would be inappropriate to use it in a formal situation, or if you talk to somebody who has just lost a loved one. A more polite and respectful expression to use when someone has died would be pass away.

Here are a couple more examples with to kick the bucket:

Natalie:  My brother just called.
Rory:  Oh, how is he doing?
Natalie:  He was just telling me that he went parachuting again. And he’s planning to go rafting next week. He’s been doing all sorts of extreme sports lately.
Rory:  His life sounds amazing. I hope I get to do something adventurous before I kick the bucket.
Natalie:  I don’t know. I’m not really a big fan of that kind of stuff, to be honest.

Jake:  I’m going to the mall tomorrow. Do you want to join me?
Sandra:  What do you need to buy?
Jake:  I need new earphones. My old ones kicked the bucket.
Sandra:  That’s because you bought them without even reading any reviews! I guess I’d better come with you and help you choose a pair of good earphones that will serve you well this time.

To push the boat out (Idiom)

To push the boat out means to spend a lot of money, more than you’d normally spend, on something. This expression is often used to talk about spending a big amount of money on a celebration. When you push the boat out, you splurge, you treat yourself and spend money generously.

In this episode, Andrew talks about impulse buys and mentions that he would sometimes buy a hamburger to treat himself. In response to that, Anna says, “Push the boat out!” She says it jokingly, and you can hear her laugh as she says that, because buying a hamburger isn’t exactly spending a lot of money.

It’s important to note that to push the boat out is a British expression and it’s not commonly used in North American English.

Here are a couple more examples with to push the boat out:

Ethan:  How was the wedding?
Christy:  It was quite impressive! There was a buffet, a lot of flowers and decorations, and even fireworks! It must have cost them a fortune.
Ethan:  Wow. They really pushed the boat out.
Christy:  Yeah. But I don’t think I’d like a wedding like that. I’d rather have a small celebration or maybe even elope.

Roxanne:  So, did you get the promotion?
Harry:  I did!
Roxanne:  Congratulations! We have to celebrate! How about I cook your favorite casserole and we open a bottle of wine?
Harry:  Let’s eat out instead. I want to push the boat out! I’ve been working so hard to get that promotion, I deserve a proper celebration!

Peace of mind (Phrase)

In this episode, Anna talks about saving money. She says that having some money saved for an emergency gives her a bit of peace of mind. When something gives you peace of mind, it helps you feel more calm and secure. In this example, having some money saved helps Anna feel safer and less worried about her finances.

This phrase is usually used with the verbs to give or to have. You can say you have peace of mind, or something gives you peace of mind. It’s also common to use this expression with the preposition for. For example, you can do something for peace of mind. Another example would be if you felt unsafe in a big crowd, you would put your wallet in your inside pocket for peace of mind.

Here are a couple more examples with peace of mind:

Laura:  I’m so nervous about my interview tomorrow.
David:  Come on. You have nothing to worry about. You got this.
Laura:  Let’s go over the main points again.
David:  But we’ve already done it twice!
Laura:  I know. But I feel like I need to do it one more time, just for peace of mind, you know. Please? It’d make me feel better.
David:  Okay.

Patrick:  I’m so happy you made it to my party! So, you managed to find a babysitter for your daughter in the end?
Gill:  It wasn’t easy, but I did. She seemed like a nice person. Plus, I can check in on them at any time. We had some cameras installed in our house.
Patrick:  You don’t trust that babysitter, do you?
Gill:  Well, I do. But it just gives me peace of mind to know that I can see if my kid is safe.

To delve into [something] (Phrasal verb)

To delve into [something] literally means to put your hand(s) deep into it in order to find something. For example, you would be delving into a backpack when searching for something in it. However, you can also use to delve into [something] when talking about finding more information about something. If you delve into a subject, you are researching and exploring it more thoroughly it in order to learn more about it.

In this episode, Anna mentions that she’s never had a credit card. She says that she’s never delved into that zone. That means she’s never explored this issue. She’s never looked into getting a credit card and never searched for information about credit cards.

Here are a couple more examples with to delve into [something]:

Samantha:  What is it you’re listening to?
Arthur:  It’s a rewatch podcast.
Samantha:  What is it exactly?
Arthur:  The hosts rewatch old TV-series’ and then discuss them and how they were made. They really delve into all the details of things like the background scenes and the scripts. It’s so fascinating!
Samantha:  I see. I don’t really listen to podcasts, but that sounds interesting.

Clara:  That’s it for today. Do you have any questions? Bryce?
Bryce:  I was just wondering if we could discuss the marketing plan as well. I have a couple of suggestions.
Clara:  Sure, I was planning on doing it as soon as we get the contract signed. I don’t really want to delve into it right now. I hope you don’t mind.
Bryce:  Of course. You’re right, it’s best we do it then.

Chatterbox #297 – Personal finance


  1. How would you compare your experience of handling finances to Andrew’s and Anna’s?
  2. What do you think of the tips that Andrew and Anna share in this episode? Which of those tips would you follow? Why?
  3. What is something you would like to get a handle on?
  4. Describe a time when you pushed the boat out. What happened?
  5. When was the last time you delved into something? What was it?

Hosts: Andrew Bates and Anna Connelly
Music: Opening music from
Episode preparation/research: Andrew Bates
Audio editor: Kevin Moorehouse
Transcriptionist: Heather Bates
Study guide writer: Alina Morozova
English editor: Edden Yohanes
Operations: Tsuyoshi Kaneshima
Image: Karolina Grabowska (

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