AE 429 – Expression: Right on the Money

Learn Australian English in this expression episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use the expression RIGHT ON THE MONEY like a native English speaker and with everyday english examples.

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AE 429 – Expression: Right on the Money

You may have seen some videos doing the rounds online. The new British £5 banknote and the new Australian $5 note being used as the needle for a record player.

It’s pretty cool. They actually play music. Oh! That’s so cool!

G’day you mob! How’s it going?

Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I’m your host Pete and this is the Aussie English Podcast. So, if it’s your first time listening, thanks for joining us, and if you have been listening for a while now, big thanks for coming back.

So, this is the Aussie English Podcast, guys, and the main aim of this podcast is to teach Australian English, whether you want to sound like an Australian when you speak English or whether you just want to understand how we speak, the different kinds of slang that we use, the expressions we use, and the various accents, this is the podcast for you guys, so welcome.

Intro Scene:

So, that intro scene there, guys, that was a really nifty little video that I found on a YouTube channel called BrainCraft where an Australian named Vanessa Hill talks about things such as science, psychology, neuroscience, and more.

So, I stumbled upon that when I came up with the Australian fact for today’s episode, which is going to be talking about Australian banknotes, the Australian money. And yes, our notes are pretty epic. They’re pretty cool. I’m sure that if you’ve lived in Australia you’ve seen them, and if you’re overseas and haven’t been here yet you may have still seen these online on TV somewhere, and our notes are so epic that they can play music on a record, but we’ll get to that in the end, guys.


So, a few quick announcements. I’ve been working my butt off, I’ve been working my arse off, trying to put together some new vlog videos for you guys up on the YouTube channel. Those will be linked in the transcript, and you can also obviously go to Aussie English on YouTube and just search for the word ‘vlog’, V-L-O-G.

So, these are where I go around Australia, I go around with friends, I see people, and I do daily life kind of stuff, and I’m giving you access to everyday kind of English. The way that I interact with strangers, when I order coffee, when I order food, how I speak to my friends. So, this is all in an effort to show you the real English spoken by a native speaker.

And also recently, my girlfriend was kind enough to buy me a GoPro, and I’ve been strapping this GoPro to my chest and walking around places like malls and shopping centres and just shops when I buy things, and again, I’m going to create videos that show you how I interact with people when I purchase things, when I ask for directions, when I ask where something is in a supermarket. So, make sure that you go over to Aussie English on YouTube, check out those most recent videos, and please leave a comment, let me know what you think, and also, if you have any suggestions for things you would like me to vlog about, make sure that you mention those in the comment.

Obviously, some more quick announcements, guys. The Aussie English Podcast is completely funded by you guys through your donations via my Patreon page, where you can sign up to donate as little as a dollar a month. You can donate more if you would like, but this is what helps me do what I do. And also, obviously, The Aussie English Classroom. So, you can sign up there to get all the bonus content, the videos, the quizzes, the MP3s, accent training staff, everything extra is in the Aussie English Classroom, the website online. And because I’m so proud of this product and I want it to help you as much as possible, the first 30 days are just one dollar. So, make use of that deal, guys. When you sign up you pay just a single dollar for your first 30 days before you have to pay the monthly fee, and you can thoroughly test out the Aussie English Classroom.

Anyway, that was a big intro, guys, but let’s get into today’s Aussie English joke. Okay, so this one as well is related to money. So, see if you get it. Okay? Here we go.

Aussie Joke:

Why don’t cows have any money? So, why don’t cows, you know, those animals that go ‘Mooooo’, on farmland. Why don’t cows have any money? Because farmers milk them dry. A bit of a dad joke, but it’s a good one. Because farmers milk them dry.

So, I like this for several reasons. It obviously is talking about money, and then its talking about cows and farmers, but also, it uses the really cool expression ‘to milk someone dry’. And in this case, if you’re milked dry by someone or something, it’s that they have taken a resource from you. So, they’ve taken money from you and you have nothing left. So, it’s a joke. Why don’t cows have any money? Because they get milked dry. So, quite literally the farmers take milk from them, and then figuratively, they’re taking their money, right? Because they’re getting milked dry.


Anyway, today’s expression is ‘on the money’ and this was suggested by Emma. It was a great suggestion in the Aussie English Classroom private Facebook group where we all hang out, all the students in the Aussie English Classroom are always in their posting videos, and we choose the expressions for each week’s episode in there.

So, ‘on the money’ or ‘right on the money’. You can use either of these. I wonder if you guys know what this expression is, or have you heard it before? ‘Right on the money’ or ‘on the money’.

It’s a bit of a simple one, but we’ll define that after we define the words in the expression, okay?


So, ‘right’. ‘Right’, can mean a few things, right? I can use it like that to clarify whether or not you think I’m correct, whether or not you agree with me, right? You can use it to mean the opposite of left, you know if I turn to the left, while I’m driving, that’s the opposite of turning to the right. But we can also use it when something is exact, something is accurate, something is precise, okay? So, if I say that you are exactly right, you are correct, you are exact, okay?

‘On’. ‘On’ is a very common preposition that I am sure that you know. It means to be above a surface and touching it, resting on that surface. Okay? ‘On’. Right on something, exactly above and touching the surface of something.

And the last word, ‘money’. Again, I’m sure you know this one, guys. Coins, banknotes, things that are used as a medium of exchange. So, in order to exchange goods, you often use money, as opposed to just trading.

Expression Definition & Origin:

Alright, so the expression ‘on the money’, or ‘right on the money’, it just means that you are exactly correct, that you are accurate. So, if you’re right on the money, you are exactly correct, you are exactly accurate. You’re right.

So, I looked into the origin of this and there were a few different ones, but the one that I like the most that I thought that sounds about right was a story from a guy called Brad Friesen. So, he said he was a kid working as a surveyor’s assistant it was explained to him that when the earliest surveyors do their work they install what are called ‘benchmarks’, a 1-inch by 1-inch steel rod hammered into the ground at a known location and elevation. Over time, the top of these rods tarnishes as it rusts and it becomes hard to see in the viewfinder of a surveyor’s transit. So, putting a shiny coin on the top would render them more visible when the transit was setting level precisely above it. So, you’d be right on the money when you set that transit to be focusing on the coin.

So, there you go. That could be the origin, who knows, but it was an interesting explanation.

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So, as usual guys, let’s go through some examples of how I would use the expression ‘to be on the money’ or ‘to be right on the money’.


Alright so, example number one. You could imagine that you are a teacher in a classroom full of high school students. You’re teaching something like biology, maybe physics, chemistry, could even be English, and you ask a question to the classroom. So, maybe your writing on the board, you ask a question, you turn around, and you’re like, “Who knows the answer to this question?”. The students put their hands up. You pick one of these students, and he or she answers exactly correctly. They answer with 100 percent accuracy. They’re 100 percent correct. They are right on the money, and their answer is right on the money as well.


So, example number two. Maybe you like to gamble on animals. So, you like betting, so horse racing or dog racing. We have the greyhounds racing in Australia, where they use greyhound dogs that chase, like, a fake rabbit around a track. So, if you get a hot tip, like a really good tip, about an animal that you really should bet on, a mate of you maybe he tells you, “Oh, man, you definitely have to put money on this horse or on that dog”, and you do, and he ends up being correct and you win a lot of money based on his tip. You might go back to him and say, “Dude, that hot tip, that suggestion, was right on the money! I put money on it, I won, and I made a heap of money, because your suggestion was on the money.”.


Example number three, guys. Okay. So, now imagine that you are the CEO of a company, big or small, whether it’s Facebook or Google, or maybe some kind of small company that’s from your local area, you’re the one who makes all the decisions. So, maybe you’ve got to make a decision this week about hiring a new employee, or maybe opening a new store or branch of your business somewhere, or maybe even moving into a new area of business. If you make that decision and it pays off, meaning that it was successful, it was the right decision, it was a great idea, everyone in that company might tell you, “Dude, that was right on the money!”. Although, they probably wouldn’t say “Dude” to the CEO. They’d probably say Mr or Mrs or whoever, but probably a little bit more politely than ‘dude’, but they would say, “That decision was right on the money. It was a perfect choice. It was on the money!”.

Alright, guys, good job. So, we’ll go through a listen and repeat exercise. This is your chance to practice your Aussie English pronunciation. If you’re practicing any other accent too, that is fine. I know there are plenty of listeners from other countries around the world whether it’s England, Canada, or America, and they don’t necessarily want an Australian accent. All I would recommend is using your normal accent and still saying these sentences, and the good thing about this expression is that it is used everywhere, guys, all around the world. Okay. So, listen and repeat after me and practice your pronunciation. Let’s go.

Listen & Repeat:

Right on
Right on the
Right on the money x 5

I was right on the money
You were right on the money
He was right on the money
She was right on the money
We were right on the money
They were right on the money
It was right on the money

Good job, guys. Remember, if you would like access to the video and the exercises and everything else that will more thoroughly go through the connected speech in these exercises, make sure that you enroll in the Aussie English Classroom. Remember, it’s just one buck, one dollar, for the first month. You can get in there and you can learn to speak better Australian English, and English in general, through the use of these pronunciation materials.

Okay, anyway, let’s get into the Aussie fact for today, guys, and then we’ll finish up.

Aussie Fact:

So, today I wanted to talk to you all about Australian money, but more specifically, I guess, Australian banknotes. So, we’ll leave the coins for another day.

So, Australian banknotes are often touted as the world’s best banknotes. They are definitely very pretty. Now I wonder if you guys have seen these before. So, I was watching a video by a YouTube channel called StandUpMaths, this is definitely one worth checking out and I will link it in the transcript, and he was talking about how cool the maths is behind these notes. So, these notes are based on a log scale where the width doesn’t increase with value, but the length increases in a linear fashion with value, and according to the Australian Mint, even the thickness increases as well based on the value of the note. So, I thought that was very cool and it is something that is very unique to money in the world. I think only Australia does it. But if you want to learn more about the maths behind this, check out the video at StandUpMaths’ YouTube channel.

So, the notes that we have in Australia come in five sizes or five values. We have the five-dollar note, the ten-dollar note, the twenty-dollar note, the fifty-dollar note, and the hundred-dollar note, and they get larger or thicker, longer or thicker, as they increase in value.

So, these are brightly coloured and look like Monopoly money, as many people say, and the colours are pink for the five-dollar note, blue for the ten-dollar note, red or orange for the twenty-dollar note, yellow for the fifty-dollar note, and green for the hundred-dollar note.

And some cool stuff for you guys that I thought I would mention is that I’ve heard slang terms from time to time regarding the twenty, fifty, and hundred-dollar notes. So, I wonder if you can guess, if I said I wanted ‘a lobster’. What colour’s are lobster, specially, when it’s cooked? It’s orange. So, I’d be talking about the twenty-dollar note. I’ve got a couple of lobsters in my wallet.

If I said I wanted ‘a pineapple’, what colour’s a pineapple? It’s yellow. So, I’d be talking about a fifty-dollar note.

And then, I have also heard ‘a green tree frog’. Can I have a green tree frog? Oh man, he’s got a few green tree frogs in his wallet. And that would be talking about the green hundred-dollar note.

Now these aren’t necessarily things that all Australians use, but I thought it was a cool anecdote to mention as I’ve heard friends use those slang terms or, I guess, euphemisms in the past to talk about these.

So, why is Australian money so unique aside from the colour and the size? Another thing, another aspect, of money, the Australian banknote and why it’s so unique, is that it is made of polymers. And these are completely waterproof notes. They’re tear resistant notes. So, you can put them in water. They won’t get wet. And if you’re tried tearing them, they’re not going to tear. So, that’s pretty unique as well. So, they’re incredibly durable and they don’t really wear out unlike money from say, America.

So, Australia got its own currency separate from that of Britain in 1966, and after a nationwide competition to name our notes, we settled on the decimal dollar instead of the UK pound. Other submissions included names such as Austral, Boomer, Kwid, and Ming.

So, these were paper notes until 1988, when the Reserve Bank of Australia and the CSIRO, sort of a science company in Australia, teamed up to create the polymer banknote. So, I didn’t realise it was that long ago in 1988. Since then, the polymer bank note technology has been improving and has culminated in the series of beautiful polymer Australian banknotes that we have today that I hope you guys have seen. And if you haven’t, make sure that you give it a quick google after this. They’re beautiful.

So, there’s plenty of cool anti-counterfeiting science and features behind these banknotes, which you can check out via the videos I’ll link in the transcript, guys. Check out BrainCraft’s video, the one that the intro was from at the start of this episode, if you want to know more about the anti-counterfeiting science and if you want to see this banknote being used to play music.

So, that was the other thing about our banknotes. So, because they’re so resistant to wear and tear the edges of these notes stay incredibly rigid and sharp, and you can actually hold the note down onto the top of a record, as it’s spinning on a record player, and it will play the music. It’ll vibrate and you can hear the music. That’s pretty epic.

So, our unique polymer bank note technology has been licensed to at least 24 other countries all around the world from Canada to Romania and even Mexico.

So, who’s on the banknotes of Australia? I might go more into depth with this in another episode, ’cause there’s quite a few people. There’s two people on every single note, on the obverse side, the front side, and on the reverse side, except for the five-dollar note, which only has the British Queen Elizabeth II on it.

So, I’ll go through these another time, but specifically, but why do we have Queen Elizabeth on our notes still of where Australia and not Britain? Well, we’re still part of the Commonwealth of Nations, or what was previously known as the British Commonwealth. So, we were obviously a colony of Britain. So, besides Britain and many other countries, too, have the Queen’s face on their currency, including places like Canada, New Zealand, Mauritius, Fiji, and even Jamaica.

Anyway, that’s it. I hope you enjoy today’s episode, guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode on cash, on dough, on moolah, on money, and don’t forget to download the free MP3 and the free transcript for this episode that you can study anywhere anytime via the link below.

I’ll chat to you soon, guys. Have a good one.

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