IELTS Speaking topic - Money and shopping #3 -
IELTS Speaking topic - money and shopping 3 sample questions with model answers and useful vocabulary. Can be downloaded as PDF.

IELTS Speaking topic – Money and shopping #3

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a shop that you come to often
You should say:

  • how you found out about it
  • what the shop sells
  • what kind of people go there

and say what makes you choose this particular shop.

Model answer

I am not to keen on shopping to be honest, so I’ll just talk about a grocery shop I frequent. It’s a chain store, I’m pretty sure similar ones are all over our country. The way I found it was quite straightforward – I can see it from the living room in my flat. The day we moved in I saw it there and since then it has been my go-to place for my grocery needs. The place has a nice choice of ready-made meals, bread, cheese – the works. The prices are reasonable, I wouldn’t call it an upmarket place.

The people that shop there are nothing out of the ordinary. I am pretty sure most choose that shop because they either live nearby or it is on their way to work or place of study. Because it’s a chain store, there is nothing really impressive or otherwise special that would attract customers from other areas of our city. It is just a conveniently placed corner shop that has it’s client base mostly consisting of people from neighbouring apartment blocks. It is true for me as well – the reason I go there is simply because it’s located just next door.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Money and family

In your opinion, should parents give their children pocket money? Why/why not?
It is probably a good practice to give one’s kids pocket money. Moderation here is very important. As long as keep their allowance at a reasonable level it should be fine. Giving them just enough money to buy lunch at school or an occasional treat from some shop will help them become more financially literate. However, giving them access to excessive amount of money will very likely spoil them. The reason for that is that children usually have poor restraint and impulse control, so they are more than likely to go binge spending as soon as they have access to extra cash. So instead of teaching them how to deal with money you will only encourage materialism and conspicuous consumption. Therefore maintaining balance when it comes to pocket money is crucial, otherwise it will just backfire. As they say, no good deed comes unpunished.

What influence can money have on relationships within a family?
Financial situation within a family can put a lot of strain on the relationship dynamics within it. It doesn’t even matter much whether the family struggles financially or, on the other hand, are quite comfortable money-wise. The first scenario usually means that family has to carefully plan their spending and it often comes at the expense of certain members. For instance, the children might expect to get a mobile phone or a gaming console for their birthdays, but the parents might simply not be able to afford that. This could alienate kids from their parents as they are likely to mix up financial difficulties with parental negligence.

With richer families the situation is not necessarily better. While such families can comfortably cover most expenses they might have, they also tend to have much higher financial expectations. Exotic holiday destinations, extravagant celebrations and splashing out on gifts are all very common to them. People quickly get used to such spending habits. This might put undue stress on the providers in these families who have to maintain their income level to afford all the luxuries they came to like so much. As a result, constant worry and materialism might test the relationships within said family.

How can parents teach their children about the value of money?
I think a good way to gradually introduce your children to the ruthless world of money and finance is through inclusion. You might want to take them shopping with you and point out that, for instance, price of an item is not always directly proportional to its value or quality. The parents could show their kids utility bills which would help them understand how heating, water and electricity they use daily come at a price. This in turn could make them more mindful when using these amenities.

Nowadays, you don’t even have to be so involved in the process to give your young basic understanding of money. You always have YouTube and other resources at your disposal. There are hundreds of videos available for free, all of which can break down the idea of value and money even for the youngest of kids. There are also economics textbooks written with younger readers in mind – to keep them both entertained and educated. All in all, giving your kids basic idea of money is not difficult at all – all it takes is a little bit of involvement on your part.

Money and income

Do you think it’s fair that some people earn significantly more money than others?
Answer to this question ultimately depends on how much value people with higher income create. I’d say it is fair for a well-run, profitable business to flourish and pay dividends to its founder. The person in charge proved a lot of value to the community as indicated by the profit margins and how in-demand his establishment is. However, many people might get unreasonably jealous of such success, possibly attributing it to nepotism or bribery. Crabs in a bucket mentality is very common in environment with noticeable financial disparity. It seems easier for people to assume that others are more successful because they cheated, rather than because they worked hard to get where they are.

Of course, the opposite situation is very common. A hard-working, low-skilled specialist might often find himself working for pittance simply because they either made poor career choices or never had any choice to begin with. This might make others think that this person is lazy, lacks ambition and is generally unmotivated. Such false assumption can further demoralise this person, making them even less likely to improve their financial standing.

What influence does income inequality have on society?
I believe that disparity in income levels has a number of negative consequences. First of all, it leads to stratification of society – that is, people get pigeonholed into different groups based on their wealth status and they mostly interact with others from the same group. It is of course very reasonable – people of the same financial standing tend to relate to each other. Second issue is increased difference in opportunities – richer people have access to better health and education, which in turn exacerbate the gap ever further. Meanwhile, the less financially stable groups spiral down, burdened by debt and other financial liabilities.

There is also the issue of the relationship between the rich and the poor. People from lower income bracket seem to feel taken advantage off and tend to blame the richer populace for the situation they are in. In turn, richer individuals mostly feel contempt for less fortunate citizens, probably believing that they are poor by choice rather than for any other reason. All in all, there is a lot of misunderstanding between these two groups, ultimately leading to atomisation of the society.

Money and shopping vocabulary

Frequent (v) – used as a verb, this word means to go somewhere often and regularly. Note that the stress is on the last syllable – frequent. I used to frequent this cozy restaurant, but eventually the owner ran out of money and they had to close down.
Upmarket (adj) – of higher quality and price that comes with it. If you’re shopping for upmarket real estate, be ready to either spend twice the money or spend much more time looking for a bargain.
Chain store – a store that can be found in many areas, cities or even countries. They usually offer the same lineup of product everywhere.
Allowance (n) – (here) the amount of money parents give their children for various expenses.
Financially literate – having good understanding of finance basics.
Excessive (adj) – more than enough, allowed or needed. Do not put your car’s engine under excessive loads or it might blow up.
Binge spending – a state when you make a series of costly purchases and are unable to stop. Her main method of coping with stress was binge spending at local high street.
Conspicuous consumption – a practice of buying very expensive things to show that you have money to buy them rather than because you want or need them.
Come at the expense of – if something is done at the expense of somebody, it means the latter suffer or lose from it. It is important understand that the nature of investing means that the winner’s wealth comes at the expense of the loser’s.
Splash out on smth (phr v) – to spend a large some of money on one thing. We’ve always been sensible with money, but just this once we decided to splash out on our wedding anniversary and ordered a live band to perform at the party.
Flourish (v) – (here) to be successful and developed. Entrepreneurs tend to flourish in low tax countries.
Pay dividends – (here) to bring money as a part of successful operation. After three years of building up client base my shop is finally paying serious dividends.
Founder (n) – the person who originally created something, i.e. a business, a shop or a company. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is one of the richest people living today.
Establishment (n) – (here) business. Our humble establishment wasn’t bringing much profit, but it felt nice to have a thing you could call your own.
Nepotism (n) – showing preference and giving favourable treatment to your friends, relatives and family in situations when such behaviour is unacceptable, especially if you have considerable power in the situation.  Examples include government appointments, elections and others.
Bribery (n) – an illegal act that involves giving money to a person or a governing body to have something ruled in your favour. Bribery was rampant last century, it would often be the only way to get all the necessary licenses and permissions to open your own business.
Disparity (n) – noticeable difference or inequality, especially in situations where it is not supposed to exist.
For pittance – for very little money. Working for pittance is fine when you are in college to get some experience. After that you should be more respectful of yourself and your time.
Liability (n) – (here) responsibilities such as debts, people that you have to support financially and so on. With so many financial liabilities I hardly had a chance to pay off the house this decade.

General vocabulary

Keen on smth – to be interested in something or enthusiastic about it.
Go-to – proven, working, or favourite. This is my go-to restaurant if I want to eat till I drop!
Ready-made meals – processed meals sold at shops that you can either eat right away or after pre-heating them in over or microwave.
The works – everything that can be had, the entire list. This bar had many drinks to offer – whiskey, vodka, vermouth, beer – the works.
Moderation (n) – having or doing not too much or too little of something; restraint. Alcohol taken in moderation is said to be virtually harmless.
Restraint (n) – stopping or limiting yourself when it comes to something that can be harmful to you.
Impulse control – ability to give yourself time to think and decide whether you want to act in a particular way, even when it seems that you really want to do it. It takes a lot of impulse control to quit drinking.
Backfire (v) – to turn against you, to happen in a way you didn’t expect. Our plan to take Josh’s car backfired when we ran out of gas two miles away from the destination.
No good deed comes unpunished – an idiomatic expressions which shows that people are usually ungrateful and might act entitled if you try to help them.
Put a lot of strain on – to expose something to a lot of stress, to use something long and hard. Don’t put too much strain on this tool – it looks very fragile.
Wise (as a part of word) – use this to show relation to something, see example. Health-wise, he is in perfect order. Money-wise, he is a total mess.
Alienate (v) – to distance in terms of culture or relationships. You really alienated your parents because of your decision never to have kids.
Negligence (n) – not paying enough attention to something, especially something important such as your duties. Professional negligence is a serious offence, in some cases you can go to prison for that.
Undue (adj) – unnecessary or inappropriate. Your undue comment on Kate’s looks broke her heart.
Come to like smth/smb – to slowly grow more fond of it. I eventually came to like pistachio ice cream, even though at first I believed the flavour to be too exotic.
Ruthless (adj) – cruel and unforgiving.
Inclusion (n) – (here) making somebody a part of something.
Point out (phr v) – draw somebody’s attention to something. I would like to point out that David here has done the majority of work on the project and that he should be rewarded for that.
Directly proportional to something – has immediate connection to something. In an ideal world your salary would be directly proportional to the effort you put in your work.
Utility bills – heating, water and electricity bills apartment owners have to pay.
Mindful (adj) – (here) aware, knowing, informed. Be mindful of possible complications during the surgery.
Amenities (n) – (here) something that makes your life more comfortable, i.e. running water, bathroom and so on.
At your disposal – something that you have and have freedom to use the way you like.
Break down (phr v) – to explain something in detail.
Have somebody in mind – for somebody in particular. When designing these houses we had young families with one or two kids in mind.
On your part – from you or something you are responsible for. Make sure to do everything on your part and we will make sure to do our job well.
Attribute something to something – to see something as a result or in connection with something else. Suzie’s parents attribute her impressive academic performance to good parenting on their part.
Crabs in a bucket mentality – a way of thinking that if you do not succeed then nobody should. Used negatively to talk about people jealous of other’s achievement and success and who would rather see everybody fail, projecting their own failures on others.
Assumption (n) – (here) an opinion not based on any facts.
Stratification (n) – division into different layers (strata plural, stratum singular (Latin).
Pigeonhole (v) – to put into a category, especially one that is too general. To pigeonhole all people as ‘smart’ and ‘stupid’ is very restrictive and does not give any idea about the society as a whole.
Exacerbate (v) – to make a bad thing worse. Financial crisis exacerbated unemployment and product deficit even further.
Spiral down (phr v) – to go lower rapidly, to decrease quickly. Sales spiraled down because people no longer had any spare money to spend on non-essential things.
Burdened (adj) – weighed down, slowed down by something.
Contempt (n) – if you feel contempt for something, you dislike them and do not think highly of them.
Atomisation – (here) isolation of individual members from one another. Used negatively.

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