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GERMAN LANGUAGE

7 ways to talk about money in German

With many of us having to tighten our belts at the moment, here are some uniquely ways to talk about the hot topic of money in German.

1. Geld wie Heu haben

If you’re lucky enough to be extremely wealthy, you may be able to say “Ich habe Geld wie Heu”, though it won’t make you very popular.

The English translation of this widely used phrase is “to have money like hay” –  in other words, to have so much money that it’s barely countable.

As most people don’t have huge hay reserves these days, the phrase likely dates back to the Middle Ages, when the gap between rich and poor, namely between the rural population and the nobility, was particularly stark.

Example:

Seine Eltern haben Geld wie Heu!

His parents have got money to burn!

2. Wer den Pfennig nicht ehrt, ist den Talers nicht wert

This thrifty phrase translates as “he who does not honour the penny is not worth the taler” – taler being an old silver coin. It’s similar in meaning to the phrase “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” in that it reminds us to appreciate even the small things, and that many small coins add up to a large sum.

(Photo by Philippe HUGUEN / AFP)

The origin of this phrase goes all the way back to the time of Martin Luther in the 15th century, who is said to have written the older version of the phrase Wer den Pfennig nicht achtet, der wird keines Guldens Herr (“He who does not respect the penny will not be the master of a Gulden”) above his kitchen stove in chalk.

3. Geld zum Fenster hinaus werfen

This expression is about wastefulness, and means “throwing money out of the window”.

The phrase is said to have originated in the Middle Ages in Regensburg, where the ruler would stand at the town hall window and throw money to his subjects.

But, since it was their tax money he was throwing, the citizens coined the phrase: “Throwing our money out the window” to describe wastefulness.

Examples:

Du hast schon immer das Geld zum Fenster hinausgeworfen.

You have always thrown the money out the window.

Statt das Geld zum Fenster hinauszuwerfen, sollte er besser mal sparen.

Instead of throwing money down the drain, he’d be better off saving it.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get free vouchers to learn German in Vienna

4. Geld auf die hohe Kante legen

This phrase goes back to a time when banks were seen as untrustworthy and people preferred to save their money in a hidden place in their homes.

(Photo by Andre Taissin on Unsplash)

The phrase meaning, “to place money on the high ledge” is still widely used today, as a way of saying “put a bit of money aside” and to save.

Example:

Die Deutschen legen immer einen Teil ihrer Einkommen auf die hohe Kante.

Austrians always put some of their income on the side.

5. Zeit ist Geld

Ok, so this one doesn’t originate from Austria or Germany, but it’s certainly widely-used in the German language.

The expression comes from Benjamin Franklin, the American scientist and politician who wrote it in his “Advice to Young Merchants” in 1748.

READ ALSO: TEST: Is your German good enough for Austrian citizenship?

It since found its way into the German language, which is hardly surprising. And the Germanic famous punctuality fits well with the idea that wasted time is costly.

Example:

In dieser Situation gilt: Zeit ist Geld.

In a situation like this, time is money.

6. das Geld aus der Tasche ziehen

This unpleasant phrase means “to pull something out of someone’s pocket” and is mostly used to refer to scamming, rather than theft.

It usually means to induce someone, in a cunning or fraudulent way, to spend money, or to take financial advantage of someone.

Examples:

Wolltest du mir das Geld aus der Tasche ziehen?

Were you trying to con me out of my money?

Trickbetrüger zeigen sich immer kreativer, wenn es darum geht, ihren Opfern Geld aus der Tasche zu ziehen.

Con artists are becoming increasingly creative when it comes to taking money out of their victims’ pockets.

7. Blank sein

Blank sein – meaning to “be broke”, is a situation most of us have probably found ourselves at one point or another.

The term blank originally meant “bright” or “shiny”, but later, the word came to mean “free of” or “stripped of”, eventually leading to this expression, meaning to be “free of money”.

Example:

Ich würde dir eins abkaufen, aber ich bin blank.

I would buy one from you, but I’m broke.

READ ALSO: 8 TV shows you should watch to learn about Austrian culture

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MONEY

Reader question: What should I do if I haven’t received Austrian government’s €500 payment?

People in Austria have faced a rising cost of living but should now be getting a €500 payment from the government. What if yours hasn't arrived yet?

Austria is facing increasing inflation, brought mainly by the rising energy and fuel costs, and people have also felt it as even essential goods such as food have become more expensive.

The federal government announced several measures to try and cushion or contain the rising prices, from bonus payments to a cap on electricity prices, as The Local reported. One of the most significant measures for the population is the one-off €500 payment known as the “climate and anti-inflation bonus”, or Klimabonus, for short.

Every single person who has legally lived in Austria for at least 183 days in the year is entitled to it – people under 18 years old qualify for a €250 payment.

READ ALSO: When will Austria make the €500 anti-inflation payment and how do I get it?

The government has said that payments would be paid “from the beginning of September”. Still, two weeks into the month, many people still haven’t gotten it.

What should I do if I haven’t received it yet?

The short answer is: wait a while. Payments were meant to start from the beginning of the month, but that doesn’t mean everyone would receive them on September 1st.

In fact, hundreds of thousands will have to wait until the end of the first week of October, public broadcaster ORF reported.

According to the Linz IT company Programmierfabrik, which programmed the database behind the system, the payments are ongoing. Managing director Wilfried Seyruck said: “We have been making 300,000 transfers every day since September 5th.

READ ALSO: How could Austria’s new electricity price brake benefit you?

“Therefore, it will take us 25 days until all 7.4 million claimants have received the transfer. We should be finished by the end of the first week of October.”

So, if you are getting your payment through a wire transfer to your bank account, it might take a bit longer. However, it might take even longer if you don’t have your updated information with Austria’s FinanzOnline authorities.

As the government stated when they announced the bonus, those who don’t have their bank accounts up to date will receive a voucher instead. There are about 1.2 million people in Austria in that situation.

READ ALSO: ‘I feel ripped off’: What it’s really like living in Austria right now

In these cases, it can take until the end of October to arrive by secure mail – and then people will have to trade the voucher for cash.

What if my partner has received it and I haven’t?

The payment is individual regardless of whether you and your partner or other family members share a bank account. This means that you, your partner, and your child might share a bank account and receive the payments on different dates.

Even if someone you know has received it already on the same bank account you are supposed to receive yours, you might still get it in early October.

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