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# The Use of Math in Everyday Life

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## Shop Smarter

• Practice simple math on something everyone needs to do---grocery shopping. We all have to shop, but some people save huge amounts on their grocery bills by using math to plan their shopping trips. A woman featured in Southern Living magazine drastically lowered her shopping bill by planning meals around which meats were on sale at the supermarket.

The most important mathematical concepts to use when shopping are ratios and percentages. If you are trying to cut back on your bills, take a couple of hours to compare the costs of some of your favorite meals. Add up the cost of the ingredients of a meal, then estimate how many servings you can get from the meal, and divide by that number. If, for example, lentil soup costs \$10 to make ten servings, you will spend \$1 per serving. Lasagna, on the other hand, might cost \$13 to make eight servings. Thirteen divided by eight is 1.625, which means that a serving of lasagna costs about \$1.63. Using simple math, you can easily compare different foods to determine how you can most economically serve your household meals. As you work on the best use of your money, take time each week to compare your grocery bills. Calculate the percentage you saved on groceries each week by using sales, coupons and strategic menu planning.

## Budget Your Travel

• Travel planning is another great use for mathematics in everyday life. Gasoline prices are a constant variable in modern travel, making it essential to estimate your gas costs before taking a big trip. Say, for example, that you plan to drive 1,000 miles over the weekend to visit family. If your car gets 27 miles per gallon of gas and you plan to travel 1,000 miles, divide 1,000 by 27 to get the number of gallons of gas you will need. In this case, you need 37 gallons. Multiply this by the price of gas to find out how much your trip will cost in gasoline.

## Streamline Your Work

• Math also comes in handy when trying to maximize your productivity at work. If you can easily measure the number of widgets or reports you produce per day, make a simple graph or chart to track your improvement. If your job is more difficult to quantify, calculate the amount of time it takes you to do certain tasks. Use percentages to chart your improvement as you streamline your processes.

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