Some say that if you want the best, you have to “pay top dollar.” But if you talk to an American, he or she might tell you that the best — or most satisfying — things in life are indeed free. Learning a language can be one of them.

Below are five money-related expressions you’re likely to hear from an American:

Cash cow


What it means: Someone or something that provides a steady profit and makes a lot of money for a business, organization, etc.
In conversation: “The popular actor was a cash cow for the movie studio.”

Cut your losses

What it means: To stop doing something in order to avoid losing any more money than you have already lost.
In conversation: “You’ve lost a lot of money. It’s time to cut your losses and move on.”

Foot the bill


What it means: To pay for something; to pay a bill for someone.
In conversation: “My boss will foot the bill for our holiday party. It will cost a lot of money!”

Money to burn

What it means: Extra money; money to spend however one likes.
In conversation: “John always eats at expensive restaurants. He must have money to burn.”

Make a killing


What it means: To earn a lot of money; to have great financial success.
In conversation: “I made a killing in the stock market this year, so I bought a car.”

Learn more

Other idioms common in everyday American speech include those derived from trees, colors and the word “free.”

ShareAmerica offers a series of everyday conversations that include audio clips to help practice English. The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily.