Percentages in Real Life

As you learn about using percentages in real life examples are available to show you precisely how they are used in everyday settings, from sales tax to more.

Sales tax

Depending on where you live, you might pay a sales tax on the things you buy. A sales tax is an extra charge added to the price of an item. The amount you pay in tax is almost always a percentage of that price.

Suppose you buy a $50 coffeemaker in an area where the sales tax is 8%. When you check out, 8% of $50 would be added to your total price. How much would you pay total?

Click through the slideshow to learn how to calculate sales tax.

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Find the total cost of each item after sales tax. Be sure to round your answer to the nearest cent. For example, $64.24305 would become $64.24.

You buy a pair of sunglasses for $49.00. The sales tax is 7%.

You need to purchase $326.00 worth of vinyl siding. The sales tax is 4%.

You buy $32.19 worth of groceries. The sales tax is 5.7%.

Curious about the sales tax where you live?

You can use this list of State and Local Sales Tax Rates from the Tax Foundation to look up the sales tax rate where you live.

Discounts, markdowns, and sales

Have you ever bought something on sale marked down by twenty percent? Or used a coupon to take 30% off? If so, you've used a discount. A discount is usually a percentage of the original price. The percentage is subtracted from the original price to determine the sale price.

Let's say a shirt costs $8, but it's been marked down by 50%. When you check out, 50% of $8 will be subtracted from the original price. How much would the shirt cost after the discount?

Click through the slideshow to learn how to calculate discounts.

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Find the final cost for each item.

You find a pair of shoes on sale for 35% off. They originally cost $90.00. What will they cost on sale?

You spend $42.00 on groceries, but you have a coupon for 10% off. What is the final price of your bill?

A bookstore is going out of business, so all books are 60% off. How much would you spend on a book that originally cost $12.95?

Calculating tips

If you've eaten at a restaurant, you've probably left a tip for your server. A tip is a small amount of money that you add to your bill when someone gives you service. The amount of a tip is usually a percentage of the total cost. For example, you might leave a fifteen percent tip at a restaurant for average service.

Let's say you eat at a restaurant with some friends. The bill comes to $12.04, and you'd like to leave a 15% tip. This means you'd like to leave 15% of $12.04. How much money should you leave total?

Click through the slideshow to learn how to calculate tips.

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Find the final price for each item, including the tip.

You have a pizza delivered to your house. It costs $19. You want to leave the delivery driver a 15% tip. What's the total?

You eat out at a restaurant with some friends. The bill comes to $47.50. If you leave a 20% tip, what is the total cost of your bill?

Your cab fare from home to the airport is $35. You'd like to give your driver an 18% tip. What's the total?


Want even more practice? Try out a short assessment to test your skills by clicking the link below:

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