Top 15 Blog Challenge: Chauny Barnes-Sailor

Editors note: We asked each of our Top 15 to tell us a story about a money-related blunder that they've made.

25% versus $100

ONCE UPON A TIME IN A LAND FAR FAR AWAY called Detroit lived a nice, cheerful young lady named Chauny. She was super excited to be purchasing a new laptop! Chauny already knew what accessories she was going to get and how they were all going to match. She thought, “The orange case would look cool when the light illuminates it & I’ll put butterfly stickers on it and get a grey carrier bag!” Chauny couldn’t wait to get to the computer store.

The store was so bright and welcoming, music was playing, everyone was smiling and all the products were shiny. On the first table sat this cute little laptop with awesome graphics and sound quality that drew Chauny right to it. She read all of the features and thought to herself, “SOLD!”

She skipped her way to the register with her student ID to make sure they applied the $100.00 off & gave her a free iPod too. New discounted Laptop and a free iPod; It was such a happy day for Chauny! Until, she suddenly grew confused. The cashier told her that if she purchases a printer she would get 25% off of her entire purchase. Chauny figured she already had a discount and there was no way that spending more money, even with 25% off could save her money. To do comparisons, she asked the cashier how much was the student discount and if she would still get the free iPod. She would still get the iPod so she tried to do some quick math but just couldn’t remember how to calculate percentages. In the heat of the moment and with a long line behind her, Chauny kindly declined the offer and just utilized her student discount with her current purchases.

Once at home with less pressure and resources, she realized that she could’ve saved between $40.00-$150.00! If only she knew how to do those calculations!

Our high school math teachers were right when they said we would need to use this math some day!

So 25% off OR $100 off: IT DEPENDS!

  • Ask about discounts prior to being at the register so you can make more informed decisions and with less pressure.
  • Read: sometimes it’s off each item, the total purchase or whichever is greater. There could even be a minimum or maximum value.  
  • Take your time at the register and don’t instantly give in. Tell them you need to step aside and do some calculations.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice! Do some brainteasers involving math, especially if you know you’re going to go shopping. Keep those skills sharp so you wont get duped!

& Be sure to call your high school math teacher and thank them, I DARE YOU!