How to talk about prices

How to talk about prices

How to talk about prices
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What's happening in this picture? How does this woman feel? Does shopping evoke such strong feelings in you too?

warm up

Let’s go Dutch

Answer these questions. Move your mouse over the words to see the Polish translations.

  • Have you ever bought anything that cost an arm and a leg?
  • Do you like hunting for bargains?
  • Do you usually go Dutch or foot the bill when you eat out with friends?

kosztować majątek

polować na okazje

każdy płaci za siebie

pokryć rachunek

It’s Black Friday this week

Read a dialogue between two friends. They are discussing the topic of Black Friday. After you read it discuss how you feel about hunting for Black Friday deals.

Jamie: Hey Alex, are you excited about Black Friday?

Alex: Honestly, not really. I think it’s more of a scam. They just mark up prices before lowering them.

Jamie: I see your point, but I believe it’s a great opportunity to snag some real bargains. Last year, I got an amazing deal on a laptop.

Alex: Really? But don’t you think the crowds and chaos are a bit too much?

Jamie: It can be overwhelming, but with online shopping, it’s much easier now. Plus, you can compare prices from different stores.

Alex: True, online does make it more convenient. I just worry about impulse buying and overspending.

Jamie: That’s a valid concern. It’s important to plan and set a budget. By the way, did you know Black Friday originated in the 1950s in Philadelphia?

Alex: Really? I didn’t know that.

Jamie: Yes, it was used to describe the heavy traffic after Thanksgiving. Retailers started using the term in the 1960s to mark the start of the holiday shopping season.

Alex: That’s interesting! So, it has a long history.

Jamie: Exactly. And while it’s true that some deals aren’t as good as they seem, with a bit of research, you can find genuine discounts.

Alex: I guess you’re right. Maybe I’ll give it a try this year, but I’ll be cautious and do my research first.

Jamie: That sounds like a plan! It’s all about being a smart shopper.



Words for talking about cheap

Study the language for talking about cheap prices. Listen to examples and repeat them.

Dirt cheap – This shirt was dirt cheap. It only cost me $10.
Be a snip – The new computer package is a snip at only £599 plus tax.
At rock-bottom prices – In our summer sale, we have clothes from top designers at rock-bottom prices.
Value for money – There’s a special ticket that means you can see six concerts, which is definitely good value for money.​
Be a good buy – The Brazilian white wine is a good buy at only $2.99 a bottle.
Bargain – I got this shirt when I was in Turkey. It was a real bargain.
Inexpensive – The furniture is inexpensive but well-made.
Economical – This is a well designed car that is also very economical to run.
Affordable – We have a vast range of cars to choose from at affordable prices.
Reasonable – Only £15 a night? That sounds reasonable.
Competitive – I am confident you’ll find our prices are extremely competitive.
Competitively priced – Call this number for our free catalogue of competitively priced cosmetics.


Read this dialogue. Notice how these women are using the language of prices from this section.

Emma: Hi Sarah! I heard there’s a big sale at the mall. Everything is at rock-bottom prices!

Sarah: Really? I’m on the lookout for some affordable winter clothes. Last year’s jacket isn’t warm enough anymore.

Emma: You should definitely check it out then. I got a jacket there last week, and it was dirt cheap!

Sarah: That sounds great. I love finding things that are value for money. How’s the quality of the jacket?

Emma: It’s really good! It’s definitely a good buy, especially considering how much I saved.

Sarah: Nice! I also need some new shoes. Do you think I’ll find a bargain there?

Emma: Absolutely! Their shoe section is known for being economical without compromising on style or comfort.

Sarah: Perfect! Oh, and do you remember that boutique we visited last month? I heard they’re offering some items that are a snip now.

Emma: A snip? That’s hard to believe for that boutique; their stuff is usually pricey. But if it’s true, I might pick up a few things myself.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s a rare opportunity. I’m thinking of getting that handbag I saw. It would be affordable now.

Emma: Sounds like a plan. Let’s make a day of it and hunt for the best deals!

Sarah: I’m in! Shopping is always more fun with a friend, especially when there are so many good deals to find.



I can’t afford it

Stidy the language of talking about expensive prices. Listen to and read the examples.

Costly – The finance committee rejected their plan because they said it was too costly.
It’s going to cost you – There are some places that can mend the suit in a couple of hours, but it’s going to cost you.
Not come cheap – Gibson guitars sound great, but they don’t come cheap.
Cost a fortune – What a beautiful car – it must have cost a fortune.
Cost the Earth – Good shoes needn’t cost the earth.
Cost an arm and a leg – Getting good health insurance these days costs an arm and a leg.
Luxurious – Atlantis is one of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships.
Fancy – We stayed in a fancy Victorian hotel in San Francisco.
Upmarket – New upmarket shops are driving some of the older businesses out of the neighbourhood.
Can’t afford – I really need a new coat, but I can’t afford it before I get paid.
Be a rip-off – Eighty dollars for a pair of jeans? What a rip-off!
Steep – It’s hard to find an apartment around here, and when you do the rents are pretty steep.

Buying a new car

Read another dialogue. This time it’s between two friends who are talking about cars. They are using the language from this section.

Dave: Hey John, I see you’re in the market for a new car?

John: Yeah, Dave, but it’s a bit overwhelming. Everything seems so costly these days.

Dave: Tell me about it. Remember, buying the car isn’t the end of it. It’s going to cost you a lot in upkeep and other expenses.

John: I know. I’ve been checking out some new models, and they certainly do not come cheap. It’s like every feature adds thousands to the price.

Dave: And if you’re eyeing luxury cars, they can cost a fortune. Have you thought about second-hand cars?

John: I’ve looked into that, but good ones still cost the Earth. It seems like a decent car is a luxury.

Dave: It’s a big investment for sure. Anything reliable nowadays costs an arm and a leg. What’s your budget?

John: I’ve got a figure in mind, but to be honest, I can’t afford the cars I really like without stretching my finances too thin.

Dave: You’ve got to watch out for those seemingly great deals, too. Some of them are just rip-offs.

John: Oh yeah, I’ve seen a few. The prices are steep, especially for cars with high mileage or out-of-warranty.

Dave: It’s a tricky situation. Sometimes, it’s better to pay a bit more initially than deal with endless repairs later.

John: Agreed. I guess it’s about finding something that’s worth the investment.

Dave: Exactly. Take your time to find the right car. It’s a big decision, after all.




Play this Multidecker game. Decide if the word or phrase means cheap or expensive.

matching game

Play this Quizlet game. Make everything disappear! Drag corresponding items onto each other to them disappear. Do it quickly!



Smart shopper

Read the article below. It discusses the idea of a smart shopper. Are you one?

Being a Smart Shopper

Being a smart shopper is about making informed and thoughtful decisions while shopping, aiming to get the best value for your money. It’s not just about finding the lowest prices, but understanding the quality, necessity, and long-term value of the items you buy.

Firstly, a smart shopper does thorough research. This means comparing prices and reading reviews before making a purchase. For example, if you’re buying a smartphone, look at different models, check their features, and read customer feedback. This way, you avoid impulse buys and ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Secondly, it’s crucial to distinguish between ‘wants’ and ‘needs.’ Smart shoppers prioritize items they actually need over those they simply desire. For instance, buying a warm winter coat is a need if you live in a cold climate, whereas the latest fashion trend might be a whim.

Budgeting is another key aspect. Setting a budget and sticking to it helps in avoiding overspending. Smart shoppers often use lists and set spending limits for themselves to stay on track.

Taking advantage of sales and discounts is also a smart strategy. However, it’s important not to be swayed by sales alone. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it’s a worthwhile purchase. A smart shopper evaluates whether the discounted item is something they really need or will use.

Lastly, considering the longevity and quality of a product is vital. Sometimes, investing in a more expensive item that will last longer is more economical in the long run than buying a cheaper, lower-quality alternative.

In conclusion, being a smart shopper means being informed, discerning, and mindful about your purchases. It involves doing your homework, understanding your needs, budgeting wisely, and thinking about the long-term value of the items you buy. This approach not only saves money but also leads to more satisfying and responsible shopping experiences.

przemyślane decyzje

dogłębne badanie

dokonaniem zakupu

impulsywne zakupy

upewnić się, zdobyć pewność

rozróżnić pomiędzy


Ustanawiać budżet

nie zbaczać z obranego kursu

dać się przekonać czemuś

wartościowy zakup

ocenić, oszacować


istotny, bardzo ważny

w dalszej perspektywie, na dłuższą metę

rozeznanie, mądrość

Are you a smart shopper?

Discuss these questions. Use the information from the article and your own experience.

  • Personal Experiences:
    Have you ever made a purchase that you later regretted?
    What would you do differently now to be a smarter shopper in a similar situation?
  • Needs vs. Wants:
    How do you differentiate between what you need and what you want when shopping?
    Can you give an example of a time when this distinction was particularly challenging?
  • Budgeting Strategies:
    What strategies do you use to stick to a budget while shopping?
    Share an experience where maintaining your budget helped you make a smarter shopping decision.
  • Research Importance:
    How important do you think research is before making a purchase?
    Can you describe a time when doing research (or not doing it) significantly impacted your shopping experience?
  • Sales and Discounts:
    Do sales and discounts influence your shopping decisions?
    Discuss a time when a sale led you to a good or bad purchase.
    How do you decide if a sale is actually worth it?
  • Long-term Value:
    Share an example of a time when you chose to spend more on a high-quality item rather than going for a cheaper alternative.
    Do you think it was a smart decision in the long run?


Do you remember the exact words used in the examples above? Complete these sentences below with the same words which were used in the examples.



In our summer sale, we have clothes from top designers at prices.


There’s a special ticket that means you can see six concerts, which is definitely good for money.


We have a vast range of cars to choose from at prices.

Well done! You are doing great! Keep up the good work!


A: How much is a single room for one night?
B: It's £15 a night.
A: Only £15 a night? That sounds .


A: No way! I ruined my new suit.
B: There are some places that can mend your suit in a couple of hours, but it’s going to you.


Getting good health insurance these days costs an and a leg.

Well done! You're almost there!


A: Where did you stay on your honeymoon?
B: We stayed in a Victorian hotel in San Francisco.


A: It's $80 dollars. Would you like to pay cash or by credit card?
B: Eighty dollars for a pair of jeans? What a -off!



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How to talk about prices



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