This guest post is by our friend Laura Laing, author of the new book “Math for Grownups.” You can read more from Laura at her blog, Math for Grownups.
Saving some bucks can be a thrill and also a big boost to the bottom line. But did you know that a little bit of math can help you save even more? Take a look:
For the Day or the Year?
Your kids LOVE Disney World. Your family visits at least four times a year and more often if you have company. You spot an online deal: 10% off each child’s ticket.
Can you do better? Here’s where looking at an annual pass might be a better deal. If a Florida resident three-day pass is $138 for each person 10 and older, and you want to visit four times, that’s $552 per person. With the discount, each Florida resident three-day ticket will be $138 minus $13.80, or $124.20. But if an annual pass costs $414.29, you’ll save cash without the reduced ticket price. (Editor: You can spend all day doing math comparing the various theme park ticket combinations and deals.)
Fly Me to the Moon—with My Luggage, Please
You found a great deal on plane tickets online, but is the best deal? To find out, check the additional fees.
Most airlines today are charging for each bag of checked luggage. So, if your discounted ticket costs $250, but you need to check two bags (at $20 to $25 each), you could be paying up to $300 for the ticket, not including airport taxes and security fees. Another airline, without checked bag fees, could cost you less in the long run.
BOGO May Be a No-Go
By one, get one (BOGO) is always a good deal, right? Not so fast. You’ve found an online coupon for orange juice. If you buy a 64-ounce container, you can get a second one at half the price. Take a look at the other options when you get the store – before you buy.
At your local Publix, you notice that the BOGO orange juice is $3.48. But there’s another brand on sale for $5.53 per 128-ounce container. First off, the second brand is twice as large as the first. So, whether you use your coupon or not, you’re getting the same amount of juice. But how much would you pay, if you use the coupon? Half of $3.48 is $1.74. (Use a calculator, if you want!) And $3.48 + $1.74 is $5.22. Turns out, BOGO is the better deal.
You may not want to do any math, but if you’re looking for the best deal, a few calculations — and some creative thinking and common sense — can mean the difference between saving and spending.