BEP 224 – Financial English: Discussing a Budget (2)

In this Business English Pod lesson, we continue our look at vocabulary and collocations for discussing a budget.

A budget is a plan for spending money. And you’ll often hear the word “budget” used as a noun. But “budget” is also a verb. We can budget carefully or poorly. We can budget not only money but also time. And how we budget can help or harm our business. If we spend too much money, we may decrease profits. But if we don’t spend enough money, the business may not grow or thrive. It’s all about balance.

A typical budget includes a long list of items that we need to spend money on. And in a budget meeting, you’ll hear people talk, or argue, about where to spend more and where to spend less. So, how do we do this? Well, in today’s dialog, we’ll learn some of the common expressions we use when we discuss budgets.

Before we listen, let’s talk a little about English collocations. A collocation is a group of words that native speakers often use together. A correct collocation sounds natural, while an incorrect collocation sounds unnatural. For example, in English we say “budget cuts” to talk about lower spending. But we can’t say “budget slices” or “budget chops,” even though “slice” and “chop” mean “cut.” Those simply aren’t natural expressions.

You’ll hear many useful collocations in today’s dialog. As you listen, try to pick out these natural combinations of words. Then we’ll explain what they mean and how to use them in the debrief.

Today we’ll rejoin Kate, Harry, and Linda as they discuss the budget for their IT department. Kate and Harry are managers, and Linda is their supervisor. Last time, they talked about the past year’s budget. Today, you’ll hear them making a plan for the upcoming year.

Listening Questions

1. What does Kate say the finance department wants to focus on?
2. What is Harry’s concern about replacing the workstations?
3. What does Kate think can be changed to save money?

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