Consumer math comprises practical mathematical techniques used in commerce and everyday life. In schools, these techniques are often taught to students who are not planning a university education. In the United States, consumer math is typically offered in high schools, some elementary schools, or in some colleges which grant associate's degrees.
A U.S. consumer math course might include a review of elementary arithmetic, including fractions, decimals, and percentages. Elementary algebra is often included as well, in the context of solving practical business problems. The practical applications typically include: changing money, checking accounts, budgeting, price discounts, markups and markdowns, payroll calculations, investing (simple and compound interest), taxes, consumer and business credit, and mortgages.
The emphasis in these courses is on computational skills and their practical application, with practical application being predominant. For instance, while computational formulas are covered in the material on interest and mortgages, the use of prepared tables based on those formulas is also presented and emphasized.
Some consumer math courses are designed to simulate a real life environment. At ConsumerMath.org, high school students are able to "purchase" their grades instead of working for points. Students earn money by completing assignments, and paying their bills. Students must learn to stay out of debt as they buy cars, pay for insurance, and learn about credit cards. Success is determined by the student successfully staying out of debt during the course.
- Brechner, Robert. (2006). Contemporary Mathematics for Business and Consumers, Thomson South-Western. ISBN 0-324-30455-2
- T. R. Ittelson, (2009), "Financial Statements", Career Press, 2009.