Bunuel wrote:

Diana bought a stereo for $530, which was the retail price plus a 6 percent sales tax. How much money could she have saved if she had bought the stereo at the same retail price in a neighboring state where she would have paid a sales tax of 5 percent?

(A) $1.00

(B) $2.65

(C) $4.30

(D) $5.00

(E) $5.30

One approach is to apply a bit of

number sense.

The question asks us to determine how much Diana would have saved if the sales tax were decreased 1% (from 6% to 5%)

Keep in mind that the $530

includes the price of the stereo AND the sales tax. So, taking 1% of $530 (

$5.30) would be incorrect, because the stereo itself costs LESS THAN $530. So, the savings must be LESS THAN

$5.30, which means we can

eliminate answer choice E.

Now, those people who have real-life experience with 5% or 6% (or 8 or 9% even) sales tax know that the tax doesn't increase the final price by a whole lot. So, we should have a

gut feeling that the price of the stereo is a little bit less than $530. How much less?

Well, without performing any calculations (i.e., using only your experience with 5% or 6% sales tax), do you think the pre-tax price of the stereo is $430? If so, then 1% of $430 = $4.30 in which case the correct answer is C

ORRRRRR, do you think the pre-tax price of the stereo is $500? If so, then 1% of $500 = $5.00 in which case the correct answer is D

Our experience and number sense should tell us that the pre-tax price of the stereo is a lot closer to $500 than to $430. So, the correct answer MUST be

DCheers,

Brent

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