AE 488 – Expression: Bang For Your Buck

Learn Australian English in this expression episode of The Aussie English Podcast where I teach you to use the expression BANG FOR YOUR BUCK.

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AE 488 – Expression: Bang for Your Buck

Well, Aussies have long had love affairs with their cars, right, in particular, the big V8 or the muscle car.

Well, as Mike Dalton reports, recently, there was a battle to find the best.

It’s a question of honour for local motoring enthusiasts, who makes the best V8s, the locals or the septics? And so, Unique Car Magazine’s drawn together two generations of V8s from either side to duke it out in the battle of the donk.


G’day… Oh! Wait a second, guys! Wait a second. Sorry, I’ve just realised. window’s open. Window’s open. All right. So, let’s try that again.

G’day, guys, and welcome to this episode of Aussie English. The number one Aussie… the number one Aussie English Podcast?! The number one podcast for anyone and everyone or wanting to learn Australian English or English in general, guys. This is an intermediate to advanced English speakers’ podcast for anyone who’s really trying to get to native-like level of comprehension when they’re speaking or just trying to understand English, and specifically, Australian English. Obviously, that is the accent that I have.

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With that out of the way, the movie scene from the start there today guys it was a story from Channel 9, which is one of the 4 or 5 channels that we have free-to-air on Australian TV, although, free-to-air TV seems to be in its death throes at the moment and dying off as the Internet and media on the Internet becomes more and more consumed by people, right. I don’t think… I can’t even remember the last time I was watching normal TV. Anyway.

The story was from Channel 9 and it was on muscle cars. So, we’re going to tackle that in the fact about Australia today, and we’re also going to talk about it in one of the examples today. But if you would like to watch that entire story on muscle cars from Channel Nine, you can check out the link in the transcript, okay, to check it out.

Aside from that, let’s just get into it, guys. To start with, an Aussie joke, an Aussie joke. They’re all pearlers. They’re all rippers. They’re all beauties. I know you guys have a love for his jokes so I’m going to keep them coming. Alright, so here we go. Here we go. Today’s joke.

A guy walks into a mechanic shop and he says, I need a petrol cap for my Holden Commodore. The mechanic looks over to him and says, yeah, okay. Sounds like a fair trade! Sounds like a fair trade!

Do you get it? Do you get it, guys? Alright, so a guy walks into a mechanic shop, somewhere that some mechanic works who repairs cars, and he says to the mechanic, I need a petrol cap, as in the cap that goes on the petrol tank where you obviously fill up the car with petrol, I need a petrol cap for my Holden Commodore. Holden Commodores are a kind of car in Australia that are ubiquitous, they are everywhere, they are a dime a dozen, they are all over the shop. You will see them as far as the eye can see in Australia. So, he asked for a petrol cap for his Holden vehicles, as a result of Holden cars being cheap, common, the mechanic says, yeah, okay, sounds like a fair trade.

So, the joke there is that the mechanic thinks that this guy wants to trade his Holden Commodore for a petrol cap, right. That’s how cheap and bad those cars are in the mind of the mechanic. Whereas, the guy just wants a new petrol cap for his Holden Commodore. Anyway. That’s the joke. Okay? That’s the joke.

So, today’s expression is ‘bang for your buck’ and this is from Esmaeil. He suggested this in the private Facebook group for members of The Aussie English Classroom. Remember, if you want to sign up there and be a part of selecting these expressions, posting videos, hanging out with the community, then sign up at Good job, Esmaeil. This was an amazing suggestion, as it’s an expression that I use quite often.

You might hear this as ‘get more bang for your buck’, ‘to get the best bang for your buck’, ‘to get better bang for your buck’. So, it can be in different variations, but it is relatively common all over Australia and in America, and maybe even Britain as well, although, they may say ‘pound’ instead of ‘buck’, I am not sure.

Also, I want to give an honourable mention to Emma. She came equal first with Esmaeil and she had suggested the expression ‘to put the mockers on someone’, although, I’d never heard this expression before, and that’s why I said, you know what, I’m going to let Esmaeil have this one as I do use ‘bang for your buck’.

So, let’s go through and define the words in the expression ‘bang for your buck’, right. Okay?

So, ‘bang’. ‘A bang’. You know, ‘boom!’. ‘A bang’ is literally the sound of an explosion. You know? If a nuclear bomb goes off, I am certain it goes off with a bang. If you shoot a gun, it makes a bang. If a car breaks down, the engine quite often goes bang, right. But in this sense, when they’re saying ‘bang’, they mean ‘value’, the value of something. Okay? We’ll get to that when we talk about the definition.

‘A buck’. ‘A buck’, I’m sure you guys have heard of if you’ve been listening to this podcast for quite a while. I often say ‘a buck’ when I’m talking about ‘a dollar’, right. So, how much was the coffee? Four bucks. How much was the car? A few thousand bucks. How much was the camera? Two thousand bucks. So, you’ll often hear ‘a buck’ or ‘bucks’ used in Australia is also used in America. And again, I’m not sure, I don’t think it’s used in Britain, because they don’t use the dollar, they use pounds.

So, that’s it for the definitions in the expression ‘bang for your buck’, right. You guys all know what the word ‘for’ and the word ‘your’ mean already.

Expression definition wise, though, this is a simple expression. If you get good bang for your buck, the idea here is that ‘bang’ is value, so you get good value for your buck, you get good value for your dollar. So, it just means to get your money’s worth or to get incredibly good value for the money that you have spent on something, right?

So, I went and tried to find the expression origin for ‘bang for your buck’ and there was an early citation of this expression, ‘more bang for your buck’, that was placed in an advert in a publication called Metals and Plastics Publications all the way back in 1940. So, I assume the ad referred to a product that was low cost, but really high value. Hence, being ‘good bang for your buck’ or ‘being the best bang for your buck’, compared to other competitors. Right?

But then, I was also further reading about this on a blog post and they were talking about the origin being related to nuclear weapons. Okay? Hear me out. Hear me out. Okay? So, I’m going to read out a little bit of this article for you guys, because I thought it was really interesting. Okay?

So, you can imagine that generals and political leaders have argued over the costs of military since the beginning of time. Their conversations have probably not changed much from the general saying, we need more cannons, nuclear weapons, and soldiers, and the country’s leader, the Emperor, the President, the king, saying, well, the people need food. Can’t you manage with what you’ve got? Right? So, there has been that push and pull throughout history.

So, American president Dwight Eisenhower faced something of a dilemma in 1953. He was a military man to his socks and was inclined to augment defense in the face of the perceived ‘reds under the bed threat’, right, the Communists being a threat there, but he was also a Republican US President and, as such, politically wedded to cutting state spending. So, his solution was simple, increase the armed forces by decreasing their budget.

In ordinary circumstances, that circle would be difficult to square. The solution that the US Joint Chiefs of Staff came up with, which they titled ‘The New Look’ was a policy of using nuclear weapons in any conflict bigger than what they called ‘a brush fire war’–I would take it a very small war, something that’s not very important–and that allowed them to radically reduce the numbers of servicemen and replace those servicemen with comparatively inexpensive atomic bombs.

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You may have seen those videos online sometimes where you see a nuclear bomb go off in the distance and soldiers start walking towards it. 1950s, guys, the 1950s.

So, this was described in a story in the Winona Republican Herald in December of 1953, and the story also reported that Admiral Arthur Radford as describing the policy as the ‘more bang for your buck theory’. Okay?

So, that’s where this idea really comes from and I think it climbed to popularity after the 1950s. Alright.

So, let’s go through some examples now of how you could use this expression, ‘bang for your buck’, ‘to get bang for your buck’, ‘to get more or better bang for your buck’ like a native speaker.

So, example number one. Imagine that you want to buy a muscle car. Right? So, you’re a bit of a rev head, you love your cars, and you want something with a lot of power. So, you’re probably after something with a bit of umph, probably a V8 of some kind, something with a lot of horsepower, a lot of kilowatts. So, you go to your local car dealership and check out the second-hand cars that he has for sale, and after looking for a few minutes the car salesman comes up and he says, well, what can I help you with? What would you like? And you might say, I want as much power as I can get for the best price. And he says, you know, not to worry! I’ve got the perfect car for you. And he goes off and finds you this beautiful second-hand V8 Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon, right. These are two very popular V8 sort of muscle cars in Australia. So, he finds this car and he says to you, this is going to give you a lot of bang for your buck. It’s going to give you the best bang for your buck. They’re cheap as chips to repair, and as well, Holdens and Fords are a dime a dozen in Australia. They are everywhere. So, they’re cheap to buy.

Example number two. You’ve decided that your house is old and needs renovating. And so, you’ve decided to bite the bullet and finally get around to beginning a reno on your house. ‘A reno’ being the slang term for ‘a renovation’. So, you’re trying to pinch pennies, you try to save as much money as possible, hence, doing the reno yourself or with your wife, family, friends, instead of hiring some professional tradies to do it for you, right? That would be a cheaper way of doing it if you had the knowhow and you could do it yourself. So, you hit up the local Bunnings Warehouse, a household hardware chain of stores in Australia. If you guys live here, you’ll know those huge factories that are green and red called Bunnings, Bunnings Warehouse. So, you go and chat to the people that work there and tell them that you are doing a reno at home, and you give them a list of things that you require. You give them a list to sink their teeth into and go and find all this stuff that you need. If you want to ask them to give you the best value for money possible so that the items you buy are of the highest quality possible that you can afford, you might ask them, how can I get the best bang for my buck? What should I buy if I’m trying to get more bang for my buck, if I’m trying to get my money’s worth, if I’m trying to get the best value, right? The worker might say to you, not to worry, I’ll search through every nook and cranny in this store, in this huge warehouse, and sort you out with all the gear that you need, all the supplies that you need, to renovate your house like a pro. And then Bob’s your uncle, he goes off, finds the stuff, comes back, kits you out with everything you need, and gives you great value for money. He gives you the best bang for your buck.

Example number three. Imagine that you are a gun enthusiast. Although, I don’t think there’s many of these in Australia, but for the sake of this example, imagine that you love guns. You are a responsible gun owner. You have a gun safe that you keep your guns in, and you have another safe that you keep your ammunition in, and you keep both of them safely under lock and key so that no family members or kids can get their hands on these weapons. So, maybe you loved hunting and that’s why you’ve got the guns. You like game hunting, maybe feral animals like deer or pigs or camels. You love hunting them in Australia. Or maybe even native animals. You can hunt kangaroos in Australia. You usually catch up with your mates on weekends and you guys kit yourselves out with your guns, with scopes, with the camo gear–meaning ‘camouflage gear’, the stuff that you wear to blend in with the surroundings–and all of the rest of it, and then you go bush, meaning you go into the bush, you go into the forest or into the isolated areas to go hunting. So, one day your mate shows up and he has a huge new gun of some kind, right? Maybe a rifle of some huge caliber. You know… I don’t know, a 50-caliber gun, right? This huge weapon. You might say to him, Wow, man! That’s a big gun. I hope you haven’t bitten off more than you can chew, I hope your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach, and I hope you can handle that gun as it looks like it’s a bit much for you. He might reply, no stress, mate. It’s fine and works well and I can handle it. I went to the gun store, told them that I wanted as much bang for my buck as possible, so they gave me this little beauty. And considering the value, she’s definitely the best bang for my buck that I could find. And figuratively, that’s true, but also literally, it’s probably also the loudest bang for his buck too. Right?

So, there you go, guys. That is the expression, ‘bang for your buck’. I hope you understand it now and it means to have value for your money, to get value for your dollar, to get your money’s worth when you purchase something.

So, as usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys. Today’s is a bit more of an advanced one. Okay? So, we’ll go through it. We’ll go through the expression ‘to get the best bang for your buck’ first, and then, I want to go through using the expression ‘to be after something’, ‘to be after something’. And in English this means, ‘to want something’. I’m after some food. I’m after a drink. I’m after a few friends in Australia. I’m after something. I want something. Okay, guys? So, listen and repeat after me, and remember if you would like to practice this lesson as well as all the previous expression lessons in more detail, sign up at Anyway. Listen and repeat after me.

To get
To get the
To get the best
To get the best bang
To get the best bang for
To get the best bang for your
To get the best bang for your buck x 5

Alright. Good job. Now let’s go through the phrase ‘to be after the best bang for your buck’. Okay, we’ll conjugate through each pronoun here in the present tense. Let’s go.

I’m after the best bang for my buck.
You’re after the best bang for your buck.
He’s after the best bang for his buck.
She’s after the best bang for her buck.
We’re after the best bang for our buck.
They’re after the best bang for their buck.
It’s after the best bang for its buck.

Good job, guys. Good job. Let’s just dive straight into the Aussie fact today.

So, today I wanted to talk about racing in Australia, because it’s related to muscle cars and I thought, okay, muscle cars and racing in Australia, Bathurst, the Bathurst races that occur every year are always with muscle cars, with Holdens and Fords. Alright.

So, let’s talk about some motor racing history in Australia, specifically, I want to tackle the races that occur in Bathurst at Mount Panorama. Okay.

So, the Mount Panorama Circuit is a motor racing track located in Bathurst in New South Wales and Australia. This is the South East Coast, Central Coast of Australia. It’s situated on a hill with dual official names of ‘Mount Panorama’ and ‘Wahluu’. And it’s world-renowned for being the home of two annual races in Australia. Number one the Bathurst 1000 motor race, which is held every October each year, and number two, the Bathurst 12-hour event, which is held every February.

The track is approximately 6.2 kilometers long, which is exactly 4 miles long, and is technically considered a street circuit as it is on a public road, which has normal speed restrictions when no racing events are being held, and, as a result, there are numerous residences that live around this track where they can actually only get access on the circuit. So, that must be a real pain in the arse when these events are held, because they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get to their houses. So, they must have to stock up on food and stuff during those days.

So, from the start-finish line, the track can be divided up into three main sections. Number one: the short pit straight and then a tight left turn into a long steep mountain straight as the road climbs up the hill. Number two: the tight narrow section across the top of the mountain itself. And then, number three: the long downhill section of Conrod Straight with the very fast chase and the turn back on to pit straight to complete the lap.

Throughout its history, the race track has been used for a large variety of different racing categories including everything from motorbikes to open-wheel racers. However, due to the fact that the race track is considered somewhat unusual in its layout and because of tighter modern safety standards for racing, it’s unlikely that major race meetings in those categories will be held on the track again in the future. As a result, the race track has become the near-exclusive territory of close-bodied cars, specifically, Holdens and Fords, the V8s.

If you a bit of a rev head yourself or you’re just interested in checking out Mount Panorama and Bathurst itself, the Mount Panorama Circuit is open to the public as a public road on non-race days when it isn’t closed off due to an event. And if obviously, you want to check it out too, because you’re a rev head and love races, then obviously, go and check out the Bathurst 1000 in October or the Bathurst 12-hour event in February. So, I guess the next one coming is in October.

On your average day, cars can drive in both directions around this circuit for free. However, you will have to adhere to a snail-pace speed limit of 60 kilometers an hour unless you want to risk receiving a speeding fine from the local cops, the local police.

Anyway, guys, I hope you enjoy this episode. I hope you guys like cars as well. I’m sort of a rev head, I guess, kind of, I kind of like cars. I’m not obsessed, though. Though, I do love cars. I do love a good V8. Anyway, I hope you have an amazing weekend, guys, and I’ll see you soon. Catch ya!

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