Maths. Just hearing the word can bring back memories of hard math problems, strange words like "hypotenuse", and the stressful GCSE exams. But what if I told you that maths isn't just a subject to endure in school, but is in fact a life hack? That's right - maths is for life, not just for school.

Around 175,000 young people leave school every year without a Level 2 in maths. That’s a maths GCSE or O level at a C grade in plain English.

Many people will say “I’m not good with numbers”, but it's time to subtract those negative feelings about maths (pun intended). Maths isn't always about complicated sums or knowing your times tables by heart. Confidence with numbers is about problem-solving and making informed decisions. These skills are invaluable in our daily lives.

Here's some ways that maths skills help us every day.

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1. Budgeting and money management:

Whether you're managing household expenses, planning for a holiday, or comparing loan options, maths plays a crucial role. Knowing percentages, interest rates, and monthly spending helps you make smart personal finance choices and avoid debt.

I use a spreadsheet to keep track of my income and bills. This helps me to always know how much money I have left each month.

2. Shopping smart:

Do you ever worry that the supermarket is ripping you off with "special deals"? Maths makes you into a savvy shopper. Knowing how to calculate unit prices and discounts can help you save money and avoid overspending.

For example, is it better to buy a 40 pack of cat food sachets or 3 packs of 12 on special offer? Being able to work this out by yourself can help you make the most cost-effective choices.

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3. Cooking and baking:

Many people view cooking as a household task, but it is also a science. Basic math skills are important in the kitchen.

You need maths skills to adjust recipes, change portion sizes, and convert measurements from imperial to metric. You use timings, measurements, even geometry and fractions when you are cutting up a pizza. Mastering number skills in the kitchen helps you reduce waste and make tasty meals.

4. Planning and time management:

Whether it's booking appointments, estimating travel times, or planning a holiday, maths helps you manage your time effectively. It allows you to work out how to plan your day, make your journey time shorter and allow enough time to do lots of things in one day. We’re all busy people, so using maths to plan your schedules helps you make the most of the time you do have.

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5. Art and creativity:

Yes, you read that right. Maths and creativity go hand in hand. If you enjoy photography, sewing, or playing music, you'll need to understand numbers. Don’t believe me:

  • Artists use maths for proportion and scale, shapes and patterns.
  • Dressmakers use symmetry, geometry and measurements to make patterns and work out the right amount of material to buy.
  • Photographers use maths in composing a photograph, choosing their lens and working out exposure.
  • Musicians use maths for rhythm and timing. In fact, reading music is essentially reading a language written in maths. Musical chords and harmonies rely on the mathematical relationships between notes.
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6. Problem-solving in daily life:

Life is full of problems to solve, both big and small. Maths provides you with the tools to tackle everyday challenges with confidence. From figuring out how much paint you need to cover a wall to calculating the optimal route for your morning commute.

So as you can see, maths is not just a subject confined to the walls of a classroom. Math is a powerful tool that helps you make smart decisions, solve problems, and unleash your creativity.

You don’t have to master number skills alone. The WEA helps you learn maths through cooking, sewing, budgeting, digital skills and, of course, maths courses. Are you ready to boost your number skills and unleash the power in everyday life? Find a course today to get number confident.

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About the author

Jessica Holloway Swift

Employability & Skills Marketing Manager

Jess is an experienced marketing manager with a special interest in employability marketing and learner engagement.