Colloquial expressions about moneyLa campaña de la declaración de la renta (tax return campaign) has started in Spain and we’ll finally be proud of ourselves because of our contribution to our country. However, this self-satisfaction will fade away or shine brighter depending on the symbol (+ or -) in front of the final sum. On our Spanish for Business Course you can find all the vocabulary you need to understand taxation in Spain.

As the poet said, ‘Poderoso caballero es don Dinero’ (Mr Money is a powerful gentleman) and the proverb reminds us, ‘dinero llama dinero(money calls money), because of that, from we feel compelled to pay homage to don Dinero.

7 Colloquial Expressions About Money

Money is one of the pillars of our welfare together with love, health, learning Spanish… All these key concepts of our society have left a mark on languages. Today, we’ll learn the origin and meaning of 7 colloquial expressions that use the concept of ‘money’ as the main ingredient.

1. Estar sin blanca

To have no money. Blanca (white) was the name of a Spanish coin at the end of 14th century. Its color was milky and it was made of silver and copper. Eventually it was devalued. So, have no blanca, means you are totally ruined.

2. Estar a dos velas

Similar to the previous one: to go bankrupt. In ancient illegal card games, the ‘banker’, the person who had to count the money and share it out among the gamblers, used to do his work in the light of two velas (candles). If one of the gamblers won all the money, the banker had nothing but two candles to count.

3. Ser una ganga

To be a bargain. Actually, ganga, is a bird, similar to pigeons. They were hunted and sold cheaply. Its tough meat was less valued than chickens’ or turkeys’. The meaning evolved and now it refers to a quality product at a low price.

4.Estar forrado

To have too much money. Forrar is to cover something with cloth, plastic or other materials in order to protect it. Imagine if you were covered with money…

5. Ser un agarrado / Ser más agarrado que un chotis

To be stingy. El chotis is a typical dance from Madrid. Traditionally, a man and a woman dance agarrados (cheek-to-cheek). Literally, agarrar means ‘to grab’. Chotis dancers grab their partner as strong as stingy people grab money.

6. Tener pasta gansa

To earn much money easily. Pasta (wheat dough) is slang for money. It comes from the numerous uses of this foodstuff and the importance of it throughout the ages. Ganso (goose) is slang for lazy and stupid people. Earning money from this kind of people is easy as pie.

7. Tirar la casa por la ventana

To spend a lot of money. The first winners of the lottey in Spain, at the end of 18th century, used to spend their new money on remodeling their houses. The first resolution would be to get rid of old furniture, clothes and other belongings, as if they throw the whole house through the window.


Hacienda (IRS in Spain) reminds us every year that Hacienda somos todos (we all are the IRS). On we want you to know that we all are the Spanish language, not only native speakers but also students. We all contribute to Spanish evolution. If you want to be part of this evolution, learn Spanish via Skype; don’t hesitate and reserve a free trial lesson here.