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Money Words


Techniques > Use of language > Persuasive language > Money Words

Cash | Dough | Money | Reduced | Save | Pay | Price | Gold | See also


One of the best class of power words is money. Or cash, or savings or return or one of the many other words that refer to money. So which should you use where?


Cash is what you have in your hand (hence 'cash in hand') or wallet. It is the money you use every day. It usually refers to smaller amounts of money and hence appeals well to poorer audiences.

'Cash' specifically refers to the coins and notes of physical money. This gives it an immediacy that appeals directly to greed. The word works well with pictures of cash, which may be in piles or held in a hand.

Cash is a single syllable word with a hard 'a' sound that can be barked loudly, followed by sibilant 'sh' that can be extended alluringly. These make it a powerful spoken word and is often used in pushy retail promotions.

In business, cash is the money that is directly available as opposed to that which is tied up in material or assets. Cash flow is about income and paying bills. Growing companies can fail if they spend so much on growth there is insufficient cash left to pay creditors.


Cash prizes! Get your tickets here.

15% cash back on all purchases.

Dough, dosh, bucks, etc.

There are many slang and colloquial words for money and variants can be found in many cultures. This means you should take great care when using such words, although if your audience knows the word it can help you quickly get closer to them.

The 'unofficial' nature of slang words can be used to suggest this is somehow outside the law, that its source should not be questioned and it should not be declared for taxation. This 'ask no questions' framing also implies that no legitimate questions can be asked and the target person should act quickly.


You want more dough? Sell your stuff at Jimmy's.

Big bucks savings on cars this weekend!


'Money' is more general word than 'cash' and can refer to money in the bank, the economy or elsewhere in the virtual world. It is still a very direct word that grabs attention and can be used in a wide variety of settings.

'Money' is a softer sound and hence may be used in more subtly seduction than the harder 'cash'. It works easily with other money words such as 'save money', 'borrow money' and so on.


Frankly, the charity needs more money to extend its good work.

You'll be in the money when you invest with Alexa.


Reducing the price of what you are selling is intended as a temptation and is often found in sales headlines.

Reduction rewards the person for not buying earlier by letting them pay less than others have already paid. This lets them feel clever and superior to those earlier buyers.

In negotiations you may reduce your price (or even just talk about it) in an attempts to oblige the other person to increase their offer as a reciprocal gesture.

Similar words to 'reduce' include 'cut', 'slash', 'off', 'less' and so in.


Everything reduced! This weekend only.

I'll reduce my price if you increase your offer. So how much will you give, then?


Saving your money for future security is a good idea which banks and others show with images of security and fair interest. Even riskier investments may be promoted with the idea of saving, even though it may be more like gambling.

A common use of 'save' is in sales and other price reductions. The idea here is to take attention off the actual and focus it on the money saved. This makes purchases seem better than free and the message reversal encourages people to buy goods that they do not really need (this is often encouraged by indicating limited stocks or duration).


Save with the safe bank. Williams. Interested in the future.

Save 50% on all marked goods! Limited offer only.


If there is one thing few people like doing it is paying. Paying means giving your money to others, even if you get something in return. It means you will be poorer and closer to the pain of being broke.

'Pay' is at least a small word that can be glossed over quickly. It can also help to mitigate the pain of payment with financial arrangements or emphasizing how small it is.

A reversal is to use the discomfort of the word in talking about what you will 'pay' them, such as in discounts and non-charges such as in free delivery ('we pay for shipping'). This sets up an exchange where your offer of payment obliges them to pay their share. This form of 'going first' can also be used in social settings ('I'll pay half').

Similar words to 'pay' include 'spend', 'give' and 'contribute.'


Take it home today. Pay next year.

You pay only fifty. That's a bargain!


When you have to talk about payment, 'price' is often a better word than 'pay' as paying leads to images of the person giving away money, while the price is attached to the goods, not the person. This separation is more comfortable, although it can open the gap between the costomer and the product. To

'Paying' is an active verb while 'price' is a static noun. This can make 'price' seem fixed and not open to negotiation (which may or may not be what you intend). You can use this effect to emphasize the special nature of price reductions.


Come to B&S where the price is always right.

The normal price is ten, but I'll do it for eight, just for you.


Sometimes rather than talk directly about money, you can refer to things of obvious value, and the most obvious term here is gold (which is the international base for money).

'Gold' implies 'expensive' and pumps up the apparent price of goods with which the words is assciated. It also suggests quality as good reason for a higher price. Calling something 'gold' that is clearly worth little loses credibility, but for better or more opaque products it can add sparkle.

You can similarly use words such as 'diamond', 'platinum' and so on.


This product is pure gold. You can't get better.

Let me show you our platinum range. This is special.


The thought of owing money to others is uncomfortable for many people. It conjures up images of struggling to make payments and easily leads to a hasty retreat.

A way of mitigating debt is to push it out into the future. When people think about money in the future it seems smaller or irrelevant to current decisions. Another common method is to break it up into small payments (that cloak interest additions).


Buy now and you won't owe a thing for six months.

You owe me ten. I need it now.

See also

Power Words


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