If Alma wants to mail a package which requires $1.53 in postage, and has only 5-cent and 8-cent stamps, what is the smallest number of stamps she could use to total exactly $1.53?(a) 24 (b) 23 (c) 21 (d) 14 (e) none of these

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

 Let us say she uses x number of 5-cent and y number of 8-cent stamps.

`0.05x + 0.08y = 1.53`

`x + y = A ` (We want the minimum A)

`A = x + (1.53 – 0.05x) / 0.08 = (1.53 + 0.03x) / 0.08`

Put values for x (whole numbers) until we get a whole number to A

When x = 5 you get A=21.

This is the smallest number.

So the answer is (c)

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As we need the least number of stamps to make $1.53 and we need to be exact, calculate how many 8c stamps come closest to the value

`19 times 8c = $1.52` so we can conclude that there are less that 19 stamps of 8c each. 8c stamps < 19

We also need to find a value of 8c stamps that leaves a multiple of 5c stamps so that we can be exact.

So if we use 16 8c stamps, having calculated that neither 18 nor 17 8c stamps leave a multiple of 5

 `16 times 8c =$1.28`  the balance remaining is 25c and 

`5c times 5c = $0.25`   16 + 5 = 21. Option c) is correct.


Therefore c) is the correct answer. 21 stamps are the least number of stamps that can be used to total exactly $1.53

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial