Web DebtSmart.com
Friday, July 12, 2024  
Printable Format   

Household Math: What Happened to the Other Dollar?

Scott Bilker Scott Bilker is the founder of DebtSmart.com and author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card DebtCredit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. Receive the 5-Year Loan Spreadsheet when you subscribe to his email newsletter.

Three men checked into a hotel room and were charged $30 for which they paid $10 each. The next day, the manager realized that the men had been overcharged since the real price is $25 for the room. The manager gave the bellhop $5 to return to the three men. On the way to their room the bellhop decided to keep $2 for himself so he wouldn’t have to make change. The bellhop gave $1 to each man. The three men had now paid $9 each, or a total of $27. This, plus the $2 the bellhop kept for himself, makes a total of $29. What happened to the other dollar?


Nothing happened to the dollar. All the money is still there. Yes, they each ended up paying $9 each for a total of $27. Plus the $3 they got back is a total of $30–it’s all there. They were supposed to pay $25 but they paid $27, which makes sense because the bellhop kept $2.

$25 for the room + $2 for the bellhop=$27
$30 initial charge – $3 refund = $27
Each paid $9 and $9 x 3 = $27

The trick is in the statement, “The three men had now paid $9 each, or a total of $27. This plus the $2 the bellhop kept for himself makes a total of $29.”

The $27 is the total payment and $2 is a cost, not a payment! It just happens to add up to $29 giving the illusion of a missing dollar.

This entry was posted in Household Math, Math and Money. Bookmark the permalink. Read more articles by Scott Bilker. (Also see articles by all authors and articles in all categories.)

Facebook Comments


Subscribe FREE and start finding new ways to save money and pay off your debt.

"The DebtSmart Email Newsletter is packed with cutting-edge strategies for solving credit problems. I highly recommend it."--Gerri Detweiler, radio host and author of The Ultimate Credit Handbook

NBC 10 News:
Money King Secrets
<Photos and Video>
Art Fennell Reports
<Photos and Video>
CNN: CNN Newsroom
<Photos and Video>
CNN: American Morning
<Photos and Video>
ABC: Action News
<Photos and Video>
CNN/fn: Your Money
<Photos and Video>
<See all Television Interviews>

Subscribe to the DebtSmart® RSS Feed
   Add to Google