Practical Applications of Math You May Not Be Aware of

So, occasionally, a parent or a teacher will be faced with a child asking that chilling question; “When am I going to use this?” We use math in everyday life, whether we are aware of it or not. Here are just a few areas where we need math skills.

Money Management

This is a pretty broad topic, but it is true – everything related to your finances is governed by math. Take the money you earn, subtract the taxes, then the expenses, and revel at what you have left each month. Now see how many months it will take before you can afford a two-week vacation.

Additionally, if you take out a loan, or you invest in a project, you can calculate the amount of money that needs to be repaid and judge whether it is worth it or not.

Saving money, spending it, investing it, exchanging it in order to save it – you need math skills for each and every one of these.


Without math, you would not be able to calculate the time of day you have just to yourself without any obligations. You wouldn’t be able to calculate how many hours you would have to dedicate to a project in order for it to work.

Now, let take a step back. Without math, you would not be able to make good seating arrangements at your wedding. Think about it: if Aunty Carol can’t stand cousin Bob and his kids, but still wants to be close to your table, how can you find her a seat, while making sure she has someone to talk to and she is close to the family? That’s right, math. If it seems like a stretch, imagine a Venn diagram between sets of tables. In this case, you would need a spot where “People Carol Likes” overlaps with “Family”, but does not include “Bob and Kids”.


If you want to know how we use math in cooking, we urge you to read a recipe from a cookbook (not the one Mom wrote down, with measurements like “I don’t know, you’ll feel how much”. The ingredients are calculated down to an ounce (or to a gram, depending on where you cook). This is also where we use the ratio. For example, some people make pancakes (or thicker crepes) by using equal parts of water and flour. Or you may need one egg per 5 slices of French toast.

Another subcategory of cooking where we use mathematics is counting calories. It is because of math that Jake, who is trying to lose weight, is managing to do it, even though he eats ice-cream. When counting calories, you also find out how many you need to burn in order to make a difference, pun intended.

Logic and Getting Scammed

Without at least a basic knowledge of math, we are subject to fraud. People can, and often will, take advantage of our lack of knowledge to misrepresent the facts and figures. Sometimes, they will give you a believable presentation about an unsustainable idea.

Consider Multi-Level Marketing. It always starts with a success story – earning money in your spare time, being your own boss, etc. After a while. They let you in on the ‘real’ trade secret – get other people to work for you. John Oliver in Last Week Tonight explained why it doesn’t work using math.