How Coupons Teach Math in 12 Different Ways

Here’s a list of twelve ways coupons teach math. These math concepts can be better understood by learning how to use coupons. This math teacher uses coupons to teach students how to improve their math skills and live frugally at the same time with couponing.




One great way this works is how seeing how coupons teach math.


     because this is how coupons teach math!

(No, I am NOT going to explain in here how to actually do these.  That would take waaaayyyy too much time for one post, and I just don’t have that!  If you need to know how to do this before you help your kiddo figure it out, I highly recommend these free resources.)

How Coupons Teach Math

This is a list of 12 math concepts that can be taught by using coupons.  Make sure you also check out our post for a free unit lesson plan. And get a cool coupon organizer to help!


This is probably an obvious one, but as you add up your groceries, you’re performing addition!  When you subtract coupons and sales, you’re performing subtraction!  Who knew, right? This is an easy way how coupons teach math.

Addition/Subtraction with Decimals

Adding and subtracting with decimals is a bit trickier than you may thing.  However, when you’re doing it with money, it makes it easier to explain to the kiddos why the decimal point needs to line up!  It makes no sense for you to add $2.50 and $3 to get $2.53.


This is another easy way to see how coupons teach math!  If bags of potatoes cost $2 each, and you need to buy four bags, how much will you pay?  (Tip: the answer is $8.)


Division is best used in couponing to discover unit price and find out if you’re really getting a good deal or not.

how coupons teach math

Multiplication with Decimals

Just like addition and subtraction with decimals, this can be a tricky concept.  However, if your bag of grapes weighs 1.3 lbs, and it costs $.92 per lb, how much money will your grapes cost?  This is a perfect time demonstrate multiplication with decimals!

Division with Decimals

This is the same as regular division, although when you’re calculating unit price, you are most likely going to be working with decimals instead of whole numbers.

Metrics and Conversions

One of the “lucky” things about living in the United States is how we measure.  Not only do we have the most confusing methods of measurements (I mean, how do you find out how many tablespoons are in a cup without measuring?).

But we also interchange it with the metric system (especially with liters of soda pop!).  Being able to move in between the different measurements in order to compare prices is VERY important in couponing!


As you teach your kids about performing operations with decimals, it’s a great time to teach them about rounding numbers.  It’s much easier to multiple $3 by four items as opposed to $2.99 by 4! Rounding is one way how coupons teach math.

how coupons teach math

Fractions = Percents = Decimals

If kids can switch between decimals, fractions, and percents, it makes things go much more quickly if they’re trying to round numbers and do math in their head in the store.  For example, knowing that a 25% discount is taking off 1/4 of the price is useful!  Or that $.50 is half of a dollar, so if there are six bags, it will be $3.

Percents of a number

Almost any store sale is for a certain % off of a price.  Knowing how to calculate that will help you know just how much you’ll be paying at checkout. 

This is where knowing that 35% is the same thing as .35 is useful: your phone will most likely have a calculator, so you can put in a $15 shirt with a 35% discount as 15 x .35 = $5.25 discount.

Percents of a percent

Sometimes you have stacking deals (especially at Target).  If an item is 10% off, and you have a coupon that gets you 20% off, can you calculate that? This is a perfect example of how coupons teach math!

Addition/Subtraction/Multiplication/Division with Fractions

Fractions are probably everyone’s least favorite part of mathematics (other than introducing in algebra).  But sometimes it is important to know if you’re going to be shopping for a specific recipe.  If your cookie recipe calls for 1/3 cup of sugar and you are doubling it, then how much sugar will you need?

And if you found this post interesting, check out our post with fun activities to do on Pi Day!

An earlier version of this post written by Tiffany is on The Crazy Shopping Cart

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