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A phone company charges $19.95 per month plus $0.05 per minute for calls. If a family's monthly long distance bill is 23.74, how many minutes did they use?

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2 Answers

One approach to this type of word problem is to list the information you are given:
 
Step 1:
$19.95 = basic monthly charge
$0.05 = per minute charge$23.74 = total monthly billx = the number of minutes used
 
Step 2:
Next, put these things into an algebraic expression.
Total monthly bill = basic monthly charge + (per minute charge) * (number of minutes used)
 
Step 3:
Now, plug in the numbers for your first step and solve.
$23.74 = $19.95 + $0.05x
-19.95      -19.95
 
$3.79 = $0.05x
divide each side by 0.05 to find x
 
 
You could also rewrite the problem at step 2. It just depends if you like working with numbers (algebra, variables, etc.) or thinking about the problem in words (more a verbal style of learning).
 
Number of minutes used = cost for minutes / per minute charge
Number of minutes used = (Total monthly charge - basic monthly charge)  / per minute charge
This is actually quite simple. If the base amount is 19.95, you just subtract that from the total amount (23.74) then divide that answer by 0.05 (price per minute). Your result is how many minutes they used.