As a driving force behind the record industry, money is an ever-present topic in lyrics across genres. Most of the time, lyrics about money are the artist’s chance to brag about how much of it they have and spend. Sometimes, however, songs about money can provide some thought-provoking insight to how we interact with and manage our money.
Here are our top picks of song lyrics that teach valuable money lessons.
Songs About Money
1. Look for Bargains: “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz
I’m gonna pop some tags
Only got $20 in my pocket
I’m hunting, looking for a come-up
This is .. awesome.
Savin’ my money and I’m hella happy that’s a bargain
Among all the rap songs about droppin’ hundies at a strip club, it’s refreshing to hear one that actually focuses on how fun and awesome it is to be frugal. While the lyrics are about looking for deals in a thrift shop, there are tons of other great ways to save money. Whatever you are shopping for, from a new car to groceries, it always pays off to find a bargain.
2. Keep Spending Habits in Check
They be like, “Oh, that’s Gucci — that’s hella tight.”
I’m like, “Yo, that’s fifty dollars for a T-shirt.” …
I call that getting tricked by a business.
The lyrics in “Thrift Shop” also poke some fun at the consumerist mindset that can trap shoppers, the need to have the latest and great or the biggest name brands. But as the lyrics point out, that need is falsely created through marketing and branding messages.
3. Be Generous & Give Back: “Billionaire” by Travie McCory ft. Bruno Mars
I wanna be a billionaire so frickin’ bad,
Buy all of the things I never had…
I’ll probably take whatever’s left and just split it up
So everybody that I love can have a couple bucks…
And not a single tummy around me
Would know what hungry was
Eating good, sleeping soundly
“What would you do with a billion dollars?” That’s the question this song is all about, and it’s surprising to see that among fun suggestions like “Play ball with the president,” McCoy also has some more altruistic urges.
This song is the embodiment of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 7, Build Wealth & Give Back. The focus on generosity allows givers to find happiness and satisfaction in their success. And even if you aren’t a billionaire, you can still find simple ways to make the world a better place, either through charitable giving or volunteering.
4. Choose a Financially Compatible Partner: “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child
Now you been maxing out my card,
Give me bad credit,
Buying gifts with my own ends
Haven’t paid the first bill.
But you steady heading to the mall
Going on shopping sprees,
Perpetratin’ to your friends that you be ballin.’
The scenarios in this song can sound familiar to many out there, as finances is one of the topics couples fight about the most. Though financial habits and attitudes can have a huge impact on a relationship, they can be difficult to talk about with your significant other and often get glossed over in the early stages.
5. Balance Spending & Saving Money: “Hit the Lights” by Selena Gomez & The Scene
It’s all the money that you’re saving,
While the good life passes by.
There is smart money management and frugal living — and then there is the point where the quest crosses the line into sheerly ridiculous ways to save money. As Selena’s lyrics point out, what good does a pile of money do you “While the good life passes by”? You can balance money and life goals by keeping the end in sight, whether it’s an annual vacation or a child’s college fund. Plus, holding onto how you plan to enjoy your savings can be a great motivator when things get tight.
6. Plan for Retirement: “Cha Ching (Till We Grow Older)” by Imagine Dragons
You’ve got to life your life while your blood is boiling
These doors won’t open while you stand and watch them
We are all living till we grow older
You’ll be the worker I’ll be the soldier
These lyrics remind us that we are all growing older and moving on a steady march towards retirement, and now is the time to prepare for it while you are still young and able to work! No matter what age you are at, it’s never too early or late to start saving for retirement. It may mean making it on a little less now, but with social security on the rocks, a solid retirement plan is a must these days.
7. Don’t Mix Finances with Family & Friends: “If I Had” by Eminem
What is money?
Money is what makes a man act funny
Money is the root of all evil
Money’ll make them same friends come back around
Swearing that they was always down
If you’re in a good financial position — or at least, a better one than your friends or family — you may find them asking you for a bit of help. It’s hard say no to such a plea, but as Eminem’s lyrics point out, mixing finances with friendships or family is not a good idea, because inevitable “Money is what makes a man act funny,” and strains relationships.
But there are other ways to help out besides lending money to family or friends. Try helping them sort through their problems and find a solution, or be willing to pick up the tab here and there so you can still spend time together.
8. Money Isn’t Everything: “Price Tag” by Jessie J ft. B.o.B.
Why is everybody so obsessed?
Money can’t buy us happiness
Can we all slow down and enjoy right now
Guarantee we’ll be feelin’ alright
It’s like this man, you can’t put a price on life
Money is important and it may, indeed, make the “world go around.” It can be easy to get so wrapped up in your finances that you forget to stop and simply live, be happy and enjoy life! Smart money management takes time, but it shouldn’t be all-consuming, and neither should the quest to earn or get more money. Jessie J’s right: “Money can’t buy us happiness.”