Last week as my husband and I were returning home from meeting with his retirement specialist (yes, he is retiring and I have many years of work left). On our trip home we drove past the outlet mall. Thinking about being on his retirement income, I wondered if I should even ask him to stop and go shopping. I asked, he accepted.
We went in to my favorite store at that mall, Ann Taylor. Lucky for us (well...me), they had just started the "70% off the lowest price" sale! YIPPEE!
As I started going through the racks and racks of sale items, I noticed the signs. You know the ones. The signs that tell you if the item is this much, the sale price is this much. They always have them at Kohl's too. That got me thinking....Do they think we need the signs? Can we not figure out 70% off an item without help? I suppose that is the case sometimes. In an "I love math generation" all people will be able to figure 70% off mentally. Without the signs.
NOTE: Perhaps the way we learned to do this in school is part of the reason why we don't do this in our head. See an example here. But hang on to your hats if you decide to watch this video. It will take you back in time to "Algebra" class!
I picked up a pair of dress pants, checked the tag....$59.99. Wow.....$18. I found the coordinating suit jacket, in my size, checked the tag...$49.99. REALLY?!? A suit jacket for $15? That's an entire dress suit, light wool and lined, for $33. That's a steal.
Then it got me thinking about that math. For the jacket, I estimated quickly by taking 5 x 3 or $15. Well, not exactly 5 x 3, but that was my shortcut for finding 70% off of $49.99. I rounded the cost to $50. Then I took that $50 times 30% (because if it is 70% off, I am only paying for 30% of the cost of the item). Then because I love math, I know I can translate that into 5 x 3. (I hope that makes sense...)
But why is it that I know that works mathematically? It is called FLUENCY with numbers. In school we tend to think fluency was knowing your math facts. You know...flash cards...timed tests. But fluency is more than that. Fluency is about having strategies (mathematically correct strategies) that help you quickly find answers.
When I was telling my son about my adventure, he laughed at me and told me his much quicker way to think about this. (He thought my way was longer and harder than his.) He said, duh mom. If the item is $50, just double it. That is 100. If you are only paying 30%, you would pay $30. But because it was only $50, you divide the $30 by 2. Ending up with $15.
Well, he is correct. But I like my method better because if the original price isn't 50, or something that easy, the problem is a lot harder. So there, Ronny!
Having more than one strategy or learning from others helps build FLEXIBILITY and FLUENCY. It is important that all of us build strategies and recognize when they work and when they don't (because that happens). For instance, what if the sale was for 65% off. I'd likely use a different strategy than the one above to help me figure out my costs. Not impossible.....but I'll leave that for another blog entry.
Enough for now but stay turned for part two...how I impressed my husband with how much I saved!!!!!!