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4 Ways to Calculate a Discount

Mar. 07, 2024
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This article was reviewed by Grace Imson, MA . Grace Imson is a math teacher with over 40 years of teaching experience. Grace is currently a math instructor at the City College of San Francisco and was previously in the Math Department at Saint Louis University. She has taught math at the elementary, middle, high school, and college levels. She has an MA in Education, specializing in Administration and Supervision from Saint Louis University. This article has been viewed 1,419,380 times.

Article Summary


To calculate a discount, start by converting the discount percentage to a decimal. Think of the percent number with a decimal to the right of the last digit, then move the decimal point two places to the left to convert it. Next, multiply the original price by the decimal either by hand or by using a calculator. This gives you the discount amount, or what value is being taken off the original price. Then, subtract the discount amount from the original price to figure out the discounted price. If you want to learn how to quickly estimate the discounted price for an item, keep reading the article!

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Use this percent off calculator to easily calculate the final price you need to pay after applying a percent off discount for products on sale or by using a percent off coupon.


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How to calculate percent off?

Percent off calculations are usually needed when there is an item or service on sale, or when you have a percent off coupon and you want to know how much that would save you in absolute terms, or how much you would need to pay in the end, after the discount has been applied. That is, if there is a 20% sale of an item that costs $100 (or €100), how much is that in USD/EUR, etc. In this case those 20 percent off means 20 bucks will remain in your pocket when you purchase.

The calculation of a percentage price decrease is really straightforward:

Final price = Original Price x ((100 - %Off) / 100)

To calculate what is X% off a given price using our percent off calculator, enter the original price (base price) in the "Original price" field. Then enter the discount as percentage in the "Percent off" field, and click "Calculate".

The calculator will output the final price you need to pay and the savings you are making in absolute terms (in USD, EUR, etc.).

In many countries and jurisdictions, it is mandatory to display the original price, the discount percent and the final price, but that is not always the case, meaning that the result from a percent off calculator might not give you the final price in all cases. You should be mindful of the local or regional jurisdiction when using our tool. A full reference list of U.S. state regulations is available on the NIST website under the title "U.S. Retail Pricing Laws and Regulations by State".


How much is X% of $Y (example calculation)

Let's say there is a flat screen TV you want to buy, and it is on sale with a discount of 25% off the original price of $2,000, due to a promotion or a coupon that you have. Plugging the numbers into the above formula we can calculate how much is 25% off $2000. Doing so, we get:

$2000 x ((100 - 25) / 100) = $2000 x (75 / 100) = $2000 x 0.75 = $1500 final price.

The savings of such a price reduction are then $2000 - $1500 = $500, so with a discount of 25% you save $500 on a $2,000 TV. Here is a brief table showing how much you would save on that same TV with different levels of discounts.

Comparison of discount levels Original PricePercent OffFinal PriceYou Save $2,000 5% $1,900 $100 $2,000 10% $1,800 $200 $2,000 20% $1,600 $400 $2,000 30% $1,400 $600 $2,000 40% $1,200 $800 $2,000 50% $1,000 $1,000 $2,000 60% $800 $1,200 $2,000 70% $600 $1,400 $2,000 80% $400 $1,600 $2,000 90% $200 $1,800

All numbers in the table are computed using this calculator. To calculate other percentages off (e.g. to know what is 20% off 200, 20% off 1400, 20% off 599, 30% off 25 etc.) other sums and arrive at the final price simply use the tool above.

How to calculate 20% percent off

Consider a second example in which we have to calculate 20% off a 5000 price tag in some currency. Using the same equation as above, we get:

$5000 x ((100 - 20) / 100) = $5000 x (80 / 100) = $5000 x 0.80 = $4000 which is the final price one would have to pay at the cashier.


Percent-Off vs Discount

Usually there is no difference between being given a discount of 30% and having 30% off a price, except that you can have a certain percentage off as a part of a sale or liquidation, and not a single product discount, but this is a minor point. In both cases the final price you pay is 30% off the initial one. For most practical purposes the two are exactly the same so the calculator can be used for both a discount and a coupon. In all cases, consider carefully whether you need the item, before purchasing it - you don't have to buy it just because it is some percentage off a higher price, it might still be overpriced, or it might simply not be the best fit for your needs. It will be healthy for your finances.

Some consumer laws require retailers and other merchants that the item was sold at the original price for some minimum amount of time, for example 2-4 weeks, before a discount can be announced on it. For example, in the UK there was a 28-day price establishment recommendation, but it was recently dropped [1]. In other countries there are no such laws and regulations meaning that an item advertised as being sold at a given percentage off, might not actually be any cheaper than usual. Again, staying vigilant and minding the local regulatory framework will make sure the percent off you calculate represents an actual discount rather than an imaginary advertising trick.



1 Vickery K., Williams A. (2017) "No more "28 day" rule – pricing and promotions under the spotlight", [online] Available at:

4 Ways to Calculate a Discount

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