Solving Word Problems with Money

Instructor: Dana Sparkman
Using money is an important skill that you'll use your whole life. Nearly every transaction that you do that involves money can be thought of as a word problem. In this lesson, you'll learn how to solve word problems that involve money.

Questions & Skills for Working with Money

Have you ever wanted to buy a few things at a store, and you wondered if you had enough money to buy all of them? If you did have enough money, would you have any left? How much would be left over?

When you ask yourself these important questions, you are 'applying' some important math skills. You might estimate, or find an answer that is close enough to the correct one. You will most likely do at least one operation (add, subtract, multiply, or divide). You will use many of these skills in solving problems with money.

Steps to Solving Word Problems

When you solve word problems, work slowly and ask yourself lots of questions.

Step 1: Ask yourself: What is the problem asking me to find out? Are there any clues?

Step 2: Ask yourself: What are the most important words and information? Circle or underline these. Is there information that is not needed? Cross it out lightly.

Step 3: Set up the problem. Will you need to estimate? Add? Subtract? Multiply? Divide? Do more than one of these?

Step 4: Solve the problem.

Step 5: Ask yourself: Does my answer make sense? Is it reasonable? If it is not, first check your math. Did you make any errors? If you didn't, think: Did I do the right operation?

Now, let's put these steps into action.

Example 1

Tony had $15.35 in his bank at home. For his birthday, his grandparents gave him $20.00. His uncle gave him the change in his pocket, which totaled $1.58. How much money does Tony have now?

Step 1: What is the problem asking me to find out?

The problem is asking me how much money Tony has all together.

Step 2: What are the most important words and information? Is there any information that is not needed?

The money amounts are important, so underline those. All of the money amounts are needed.

Step 3: Set up the problem.

Since you are trying to find a total amount, you will need to add what Tony has now with what he received from his grandparents and his uncle.

Step 4: Solve the problem.

$15.35 + $20.00 + $1.58 = $36.93

Step 5: Does the answer make sense?

Yes. Tony should have more money now than when he started, so the answer makes sense.

Example 2

Tanya is 15 years old and babysits to earn money. She makes $9.00 per hour. On Saturday, she babysat for 7 hours. How much did she earn?

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