Cheap or Frugal?

Theresa Dash - reviewer of the lesson   Theresa I February 13, 2023
General English, Speaking Lessons
B2 Upper-Intermediate, C1 Advanced
Mixed Grammar
Speaking, Vocabulary, Listening
Lesson ID
Lesson Time
30 minutes
American English lesson plan

Lesson Overview

Make it rain! In this lesson, students will discuss money and their spending character. They will talk about the factors that might influence a buyer’s decision in certain situations. This lesson features a video that explains the difference between being frugal and cheap. Students will learn and practice vocabulary and idioms relating to the topic. The lesson includes plenty of engaging discussion activities and worksheets that have been developed for adult and teenage learners.

Lesson Objectives

Listening: Participants will sharpen their listening skills through a video that discusses the characteristics of being frugal versus cheap.

Speaking: Students will participate in role-playing exercises to simulate real-life scenarios involving financial decisions. They'll practice using newly learned vocabulary to express their thoughts on spending behaviors, enhancing their conversational skills in English.

Vocabulary: Key vocabulary and idioms such as "pinch pennies," "tight-fisted," and "spendthrift" will be introduced. Students will learn to use these terms effectively in sentences and discussions, deepening their understanding of language related to money management.

Cultural Awareness: Learners will explore cultural attitudes towards money, discussing how perceptions of being cheap or frugal can differ globally. They'll examine how cultural background can influence spending habits and societal judgments.

Homework: Students will be tasked with exercises that reinforce their understanding of the session's vocabulary and grammar. Activities will include matching idioms to their meanings, filling in blanks with the correct form of modal verbs, and distinguishing between cheap and frugal behaviors through scenario-based questions.


Is being cheap and frugal the same thing? Do you look for discounts and sales on everything you buy? Watch this video to learn about the different spending behaviors between a cheap person and a frugal person.

Video Transcript

Vocabulary and Pronunciation

make it rain [idiom]: to freely give out cash or other items or make a lot of money
money can’t buy happiness [idiom]: true happiness comes from within, not from things that can be bought
money doesn’t grow on trees [idiom]: said to warn someone to be careful how much money they spend, because there is only a limited amount
the best things in life are free [idiom]: the most valuable things don't cost any money
a fool and his money are soon parted [idiom]: a foolish person spends money carelessly and will soon be penniless
frugal [adjective]: sparing or economical about money or food; being careful with what one spends their money on
cheap [adjective]: inexpensive, poor-quality, or economical
tight-fisted [adjective]: not willing to spend or give much money; stingy
break the bank [idiom]: to be very expensive and causes you lose too much money
a thin line [idiom]: a very small difference between two things that may seem different
save for a rainy day [idiom]: to save money for a time when it might be needed, especially in a bad or dire situation like an emergency
pay in full [phrasal verb]: to pay all of the money owed (for a bill or debt)
pay in installments [phrasal verb]: to pay for purchases over time by dividing the purchase amount into smaller equal payments
buy on impulse [phrasal verb]: to suddenly and immediately purchase a product without any previous plan or intention
prohibitive cost [noun phrase]: a price or something that most people cannot afford because it is too expensive or costly
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