A recent study by the Learning and Skills Council for their Get On campaign has suggested that some shoppers are actually failing to take advantage of the advertised high-street bargains because their poor maths is letting them down. The government campaign highlights the number of people that are struggling to work out the most basic of discounts displayed in store windows. The survey went further, suggesting that those people who had not understood the calculations would actually have been convinced to buy more discounted goods had their maths not let them down. In response to this, the government has begun to offer free classes at local collages to adults who struggle with mathematics.

A study was carried out with a little over 1,000 adults. The group were given a series of hypothetical offers and the results tallied. One of the example questions was about bars of chocolate which cost £1.99 each, or two for £3.45. The Learning and Skills Council stated that, of those adults who were asked, 87% were unable to work out how much they would be saving if they bought two bars. Similarly, over half of the group could not work out the cost of a packet of sausages that was on sale with a third off.

These results may point to a far greater problem than an extra couple of pounds on the weekly shop. When considering the number of loans and credit agreements that are sold with inviting offers of 0% finance and low introductory rates of interest, it points to a worrying trend in the number of vulnerable people being sold finance without fully understanding the fees involved. The lesson to be learned here is to read all of the small print and large print very carefully. Ask for all rates to be properly explained and make sure that the repayments are going to remain affordable, even after the introductory has finished. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Call a specialist debt advisor like Harrington Brooks and they’ll be happy to go through your finances with you.