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Know your onions

Today is National Numeracy Day.

One of the main themes of the Day this year is Number Blunders, as the fear of making a mistake with maths is one of the things that puts people off numbers.

But everybody makes mistakes.

One of mine was an online supermarket shop when instead of ordering three onions I ordered three kilograms of onions. I haven’t eaten onion soup since.

Just the thought of dealing with numbers can trigger strong feelings in lots of people.

The anxiety from school maths classes, the fear of getting things wrong, or the frustration that you just don’t “get it” can put people off engaging whenever numbers appear.

This is incredibly common across the UK.

But a lack of number confidence can affect people’s lives in more serious ways than a few more onions.
For example, number anxiety can be a barrier to people managing their money, whether that is budgeting or building an emergency savings pot, and could lead them into financial difficulties.

Improving your confidence with numbers can lead to a greater sense of control, which feeds back into even more confidence and less anxiety so that it becomes a virtuous circle. In terms of money, it can help you break down your spending, plan ahead and get good deals.

National Numeracy has lots of tips and advice relating to numbers and your money. For example:

  • You can learn the skills you need, so don’t write yourself off.
  • If you don’t understand something, ask questions – you won’t be alone.
  • Take your time, and don’t put yourself under pressure.
  • Don’t be put off if you do make a mistake. Everybody does, and it’s all part of learning.
  • There are lots of budgeting tools and calculators that can help.

Take the National Numeracy Challenge and see how you might boost your confidence with numbers and money.