Math: The Common Denominator for Saving Money
Alex_160
Meet Alex, 11

Most kids think math isn't very useful in everyday life.

With smart phones and computers in the palms of their hands, kids think they won't use math once they finish school.

But, everyone is looking to save money.

You can use math in your everyday life to save money—and there are lots of ways to do it!

And you didn't even know it

Most people use math without knowing it, although some people don't use it as often as they should, and miss many money-saving opportunities.

For example, when my parents and I were deciding on whether to buy a semester bus pass or a 10-ride card, we used math.

5560_bus_160$90 or $150? You do the math.

A semester in my school has 90 school days. A semester bus pass costs $150. That means for 90 trips (I don't take the bus in the morning) it costs $1.67 one way.

A 10-ride bus pass costs $10. That means I have to buy nine passes for $90.

Ninety dollars or $150? We obviously bought the 10-ride passes. If I hadn't used math we might have wasted $60.

Ready for more?

There are other ways to save money with math. Another example is to compare prices with different unit costs.

Let's say there is a store with a package of six pairs of socks for $12, and a different store with the same socks for $18 with a "buy-one, get one 50% off" sale.

So, for the $12 socks, the unit price is $2 a pair. For the $18 socks it's $27 for 12 pairs socks. Twenty-seven dollars divided by 12 is $2.25 a pair. What's the best deal?

5560_socks_640

Although it's not a significant difference, it can add up over time. The most common way unit prices are important is when you're buying large quantities of things. It can get tricky to know which is better just by looking at it.

As my mother says, "I use math to see if buying bulk items at my local discount store is cheaper than in the grocery stores. I need to divide the price by the number of ounces or packets...

"Then I can do the same at a regular grocery store and I know which is the better option."

Do you have a plan?

Using math also can help develop savings and spending plans. For example, if you want to buy a Play Station 4, which costs roughly $400, you can figure out how much allowance money to save every week or month.

If you have a year to save, you would have to set aside $7.70 a week. Let's say you only get $5 a week in allowance. You could save an additional $140 from Christmas, birthday money, and other odd jobs. Doing the math helps you set realistic goals for saving...

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Credit Union National Association, Inc.

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Credit Union National Association, Inc.


This space is for each subscribing credit union's unique invitation to elementary, middle, and high school students.
If no text is added by the subscriber, CUNA displays default text describing why credit unions are important to their members.