Coins Speak: A Guide on Discussing Money in Spanish

Bodhi Ramos7 min
Created: Apr 26, 2024Last updated: May 1, 2024
Money in Spanish

Money is a universal language spoken by everyone. From the peso to the euro, the terms used to refer to currency vary – and this diversity is evident in Spanish-speaking countries. Saying money in Spanish isn’t as simple as translating the word. The term you use can vary based on country, context, and connotation. With this guide, you will learn Spanish money vocabulary, slang expressions used in daily conversations, and regional variants.

Dinero and Others: The Basic Spanish Money Vocabulary

Money is one of the Spanish words for beginners crucial for basic transactions and interactions. You will use it every time you go shopping or pay a bill. Here are the key expressions:

  • Dinero [diˈne.ɾo] – Money. The general term for money.

¿Cuánto dinero necesitas? [ˈkwanto diˈneɾo neˈsesitas] (How much money do you need?)

  • Moneda [moˈne.ða] – Coin. Specifically refers to metal money.

Por favor, dame una moneda para el parquímetro. [poɾ faˈβoɾ ˈdame ˈuna moˈneða paɾa el paɾkiˈmetɾo] (Please, give me a coin for the parking meter.)

  • Billete [biˈʎete] – Bill/Note. Used to denote paper money.

Solo tengo un billete de veinte. [ˈsolo ˈtengo un biˈʎete ðe ˈβeinte] (I only have a twenty bill.)

  • Efectivo [efeˈktiβo] – Cash. This word in Spanish for money refers to its physical forms, such as bills and coins.

¿Puedo pagar en efectivo? [ˈpwedo paˈɣaɾ en efeˈktiβo] (Can I pay in cash?)

  • Cambio [ˈkambjo] – Change. The money received back when you overpay for something.

¿Me puede dar cambio de cincuenta? [me ˈpweðe ðaɾ ˈkambjo ðe ˈθin.kwenta] (Can you give me change for fifty?)

  • Divisa [diˈβisa] – Currency. Used when talking about foreign money.

Necesito cambiar mi dinero a la divisa local. [neˈsesito kamˈbjaɾ mi ðiˈneɾo a la ðiˈβisa loˈkal] (I need to exchange my money into the local currency.)

  • Fondos [ˈfondos] – Funds. General term for sums of money available or saved.

Tengo suficientes fondos para invertir. [ˈteŋɡo sufiˈθjentes ˈfondos paɾa inˈβeɾtiɾ] (I have enough funds to invest.)

  • Real [reˈal] – Money (formal). In contexts related to historical or formal usage, especially in Spain and its former colonies, real refers to a former currency but can metaphorically mean money.

En tiempos del rey, los reales circulaban como principal moneda. [en ˈtʝempos ðel ˈrej los reˈales siɾkuˈlaβan komo pɾinθiˈpal moˈneða] (In the king’s times, reals circulated as the main currency.)

Money Slang in Spanish Everyday Speech

In Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, slang is part of the daily conversation. It is used among peers, friends, and in informal settings. Such monetary lingo is also quite common, and it adds a new dimension to the language. Below is slang for money in Spanish you can incorporate:

  • Pasta [ˈpasta] – Money. A very casual term used widely in Spain to refer to money in general.

¿Tienes pasta para ir al cine? [ˈtjenes ˈpasta paɾa iɾ al ˈθine] (Do you have money to go to the cinema?)

  • Plata [ˈplata] – Money. Common in many Latin American countries, it literally means ‘silver.’

No me queda plata para la gasolina. [no me ˈkeða ˈplata paɾa la gasoˈlina] (I don’t have money left for gasoline.)

  • Luca [ˈluka] – Thousand (currency). In some parts of Latin America, luca commonly refers to a thousand units of currency.

Esta computadora me costó cinco lucas. [ˈesta kompuˈtaðoɾa me kosˈto ˈθiŋko ˈlukas] (This computer cost me five thousand.)

  • Mango [ˈmaŋɡo] – Money. Used informally in parts of Latin America to mean a unit of currency, typically a peso.

Me deben diez mangos del otro día. [me ˈðeβen ˈdjeθ ˈmaŋɡos ðel ˈotɾo ˈði.a] (They owe me ten pesos from the other day.)

  • Pavo [ˈpaβo] – MoneyPavo is often used colloquially for cash in Spanish slang, though it literally means ‘turkey.’

No tengo ni un pavo para salir hoy. [no ˈteŋɡo ni un ˈpaβo paɾa saˈliɾ oi] (I don’t even have a dime to go out today.)

  • Guita [ˈɡita] – Money. A widespread term in Argentina and Uruguay.

Necesito guita para pagar el alquiler. [neˈθesito ˈɡita paɾa paˈɣaɾ el alˈki.leɾ] (I need money to pay the rent.)

  • Cobre [ˈkoβɾe] – Money. Cobre, which literally means copper, is a word for money in Spanish slang.

No me queda cobre para el taxi. [no me ˈkeða ˈkoβɾe paɾa el ˈtaksi] (I don’t have money left for the taxi.)

  • Pela [ˈpela] – Money. Often used informally to refer to small amounts of money.

Solo tengo una pela en mi bolsillo. [ˈsolo ˈtengo ˈuna ˈpela en mi bolˈsiʎo] (I only have a little money in my pocket.)

  • Morlaco [moɾˈlako] – Money. Used in Ecuador, particularly for higher amounts of money.

Esa casa vale un montón de morlacos. [ˈesa ˈkasa ˈβale un monˈton de moɾˈlakos] (That house is worth a lot of money.)


Other Spanish Words for Money

Just like knowing different ways to say ‘no,’ familiarity with financial terms can benefit those studying Spanish. They are fundamental in business, transactions, and a lot of news reports in the Spanish-speaking world. Below is a collection of additional terms related to money in Spanish:

  • Costo [ˈkosto] – Cost. Refers to the price of an item or service.

¿Cuál es el costo de este libro? [ˈkwal es el ˈkosto de ˈeste ˈliβɾo] (What is the cost of this book?)

  • Precio [ˈpɾeθjo] – Price. The amount of money expected, required, or given in payment for something.

El precio de la gasolina sigue subiendo. [el ˈpɾeθjo ðe la ɡasoˈlina ˈsiɣe suˈβjendo] (The price of gasoline keeps going up.)

  • Valor [baˈloɾ] – Value. Refers to the worth of something in terms of money.

El valor del euro está fluctuando. [el baˈloɾ ðel ˈewɾo ˈesta fluˈktwando] (The value of the euro is fluctuating.)

  • Tarifa [taˈɾifa] – Tariff/Fee. Used for specific charges, often in services or public utilities.

La tarifa del taxi en esta ciudad es alta. [la taˈɾifa ðel ˈtaksi en ˈesta θjuˈðað es ˈalta] (The taxi fare in this city is high.)

  • Ingreso [inˈɡɾeso] – Income. The money received, especially on a regular basis, for work or through investments.

Mis ingresos este mes fueron menores que lo esperado. [mis inˈɡɾesos ˈeste mes ˈfweɾon meˈnoɾes ke lo espeˈɾaðo] (My income this month was less than expected.)

  • Gasto [ˈɡasto] – Expense. Money spent on something.

El gasto en alimentación es considerable. [el ˈɡasto en alimenˈtaθjon es konsiðeˈɾaβle] (The expense on food is considerable.)

  • Inversión [inβeɾˈsjon] – Investment. Money committed or property acquired for future income.

Hicimos una buena inversión en bienes raíces. [iˈθimos ˈuna ˈbwena inβeɾˈsjon en ˈβjenes ˈra.iθes] (We made a good investment in real estate.)

  • Saldo [ˈsaldo] – Balance. The amount of money in a financial repository.

¿Puedes verificar el saldo de la cuenta? [ˈpwedes βeɾifiˈkaɾ el ˈsaldo ðe la ˈkwenta] (Can you check the account balance?)

  • Banco [ˈban.ko] – Bank. Where money is deposited, withdrawn, or managed.

Voy al banco a abrir una cuenta. [ˈboj al ˈban.ko a aˈβɾiɾ ˈ ˈkwen.ta] (I am going to the bank to open an account.)

  • Cajero [kaˈxe.ɾo] – Cashier/ATM. Refers to both the person handling transactions and automated machines.

Necesito ir al cajero automático. [neˈθ iɾ al kaˈxe.ɾo aw.toˈma.ti.ko] (I need to go to the ATM.)

  • Cartera [karˈte.ɾa] – Wallet. Where personal money is typically kept.

He perdido mi cartera con todo mi dinero. [e perˈdi.ðo mi karˈte.ɾa kon ˈto.ðo mi ðiˈne.ɾo] (I have lost my wallet with all my money.)

  • Ahorros [aˈo.ros] – Savings. A Spanish word for money that is saved, typically in a bank.

Mis ahorros están en una cuenta de alto interés. [mis aˈo.ros esˈtan en ˈ ˈkwen.ta ðe ˈ in.teˈɾes] (My savings are in a high-interest account.)

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Knowing how do you say money in Spanish is among the most practical language skills you can acquire. It’s not just dinero [diˈne.ɾo] – there are dozens of terms we have shared. Be it for shopping, asking about prices, or discussing finances, the coin indeed speaks. Learn these words, pay attention to the context they’re used in, and you’ll be able to handle money conversations in Spanish soon.


How to practice the pronunciation of Spanish currency terms?

Tune into radio channels or join podcast talks about the topic. These sources provide different ways to say money in Spanish and give you a real-life situation to learn the right pronunciation.

What are common mistakes related to money words?

Learners can confuse billete [biˈʎete] (a bill or banknote) with boleto [boˈleto] (a ticket) or moneda [moˈneða] (coin) with dinero [diˈneɾo] (money in general).

Are there idioms related to money?

Ser más rico que Craso [sɛɾ ˈmas ˈriko ke ˈkraso] (to be richer than Crassus) indicates great wealth, while no llegar a fin de mes [no ʝe’ɣaɾ a fin de mes] (not making it to the end of the month) refers to struggling financially. 

Where can I learn other Spanish vocabulary online?

Real Academia Española gives clear explanations and examples of Spanish terms. You can also explore BBC Languages. It has tools to learn a language and gives lists of words and tests.