Is Bad Maths Costing You Money?

Pocket electronic calculator

According to some stats published by the “Get On” numeracy campaign, when asked, nearly 90% of adults couldn’t do the maths behind a “typical” high-street offer.

The cunning offer used to catch out those asked?

“a bar of chocolate is priced at £1.99, you can get two for £3.45. How much do you save?”

Yep, hardly the most difficult of sums, yet 87% of the 1,025 adults questioned couldn’t answer it correctly. In further displays of numerical ineptitude, 57% couldn’t work out how much a pack of sausages would cost if they had a third off, and 43% admitted they often won’t pick up discounts because they don’t understand if they’re getting a good deal or not.

Makes you wonder how much money is being wasted through an inability to do some basic maths – both from those who aren’t picking up the discounts because they don’t understand whether they’re getting a good deal, and also from those whose dodgy maths leads them to buy stuff that really isn’t a great deal.

Of course, the bigger issue is that it highlights a serious issue with the level of maths in this country, something that the Get On campaign aims to correct:

  1. The Learning and Skills Council’s “Get On” campaign, which was first launched by the then Department for Education and Skills in 2001, is part of the Government’s Skills for Life strategy. The campaign encourages the
    millions of people in England who experience difficulties with literacy and numeracy skills, or would benefit from ‘brushing up’ on these skills, to enrol on a free course by calling 0800 66 0800.
  2. Help is at hand with free courses which offer an entirely different experience from school days, focus on helping adults improve their skills so they can deal with practical, everyday situations in life and work.  As an added
    incentive the courses can also lead to a nationally recognised qualification.
  3. It is estimated that an individual with good literacy and numeracy could earn around £50,000 more over a working life than someone with poorer skills. The increased self-confidence and motivation learners gain from
    completing a course is of huge personal value and helps them start the process of transforming their lives, both at home and at work.

If you’re interested in improving your maths, call free on 0800 66 0800 or go to to find out more about free maths or literacy courses in your local area.

Creative Commons License photo credit: treehouse1977

One thought on “Is Bad Maths Costing You Money?

  1. That’s really quite scary, actually. I’m a discount demon, and one of the requirements is on the spot math.

    I find it amusing Tesco try to catch you out in some ways. “5 for £5!” the offer proclaims, when they’re 90p if bought individually…

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