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Sunday, September 20, 2020  
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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?

ANSWER

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.

Charges:
$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.)



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