Decimals are also parts of 100, but they are expressed as "points" rather than "percent." Think of taking a child's temperature: 98.6—"ninety-eight point six"—is really 98 and six-tenths (a fraction—we'll get to those in a moment) or 98 and 60 percent.

Real Life, Real Money Use
To use decimals in real life, you need to be able to convert decimals to percentages. When you shop the sales, for instance, you'll see signs (particularly after the holidays) that say items are selling for 40%-off the original price. Suppose the original price of an item is $120. How can you find out how much 40 percent of $120 is?
  1. First, convert 40 percent into a decimal. To do that, start at the right-hand side of the number and put a period two digits to the left.
    40% becomes the decimal .40
    (7% would become the decimal .07)
  2. Then multiply the decimal by the original price to get the discount.
    $120 x .40 = $48)
  3. Finally, subtract the discount from the original price to get the new selling price.
    $120 – $48 = $72.
If you get in the habit of carrying a calculator, you can figure out what sort of prices you'll pay before you get to the checkout counter.

Math 101 continues...
Reprinted from Make Money, Not Excuses by Jean Chatzky with permission from Crown Business, a division of Random House, Inc. Copyright © 2006 by Jean Chatzky.
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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