“Money is not the most important thing in the world. Love is. Fortunately, I love money.”

Jackie Mason (1928 – 2021), American comedian and actor
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This free ESL lesson plan on money has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Most people will tell you money can’t buy happiness. After thinking about it for a while, these people will probably conclude that it can certainly help you find happiness. We need money for most things in life, whether it’s going out for drinks with your friends, travelling to visit your family, or for the most basic things we need to survive like food and paying the bills. Unfortunately, most people in the world don’t have enough money to even meet these basic needs, while a tiny group of people have more money than they could ever know what to do with it. In this ESL lesson plan on money, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the importance of money, what is more important than money and how money affects society.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Savings Day, which takes place in October. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

INC | 10 Things Better Than Money

The article suggests 10 things that could be considered more important than money, including love, health and laughter. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of anything they would add to the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “What gives a dollar bill its value?” by TED Ed which explains what money is and how its value is determined.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including how important money is in the students’ lives, what they could do with no money, and their thoughts on saving money.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with money such as broke/skint, to cost an arm and a leg and pocket money. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about money. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as whether people are too obsessed with money, whether money is the root of all evil, and how the world would be if everyone had the same amount of money.


After the class, students will write about their opinion of money. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.


Did you find this lesson plan useful?

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2 thoughts on “Money”

    1. Hi Catherine. Sorry for the late reply (I just got back from my hols!). Can you tell me if you are using a computer or your mobile? I don’t see any problem on my computer, but I have noticed on my mobile that it won’t open a new tab to download the PDF if you just click it. Try holding down on the PDF then select “open in new tab” and I think that should download it.

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