The ability to picture numbers via the phonetic alphabet, plus the ability to use the Substitute Word system of memory is all that’s necessary to help you remember style numbers, prices, and telephone numbers.

To remember a style number, associate the number to the product; it’s that simple. If the style number of a typewriter is 691, associate chopped or chipped to typewriter. If you’re in the typewriter business, then you’d have to associate the style number to the distinctive features of each machine, since you’d have many styles of typewriters. (Some style numbers include letters; you’ll learn how to handle that, too.)

The same approach works for prices. Here are a few examples of different items and prices. Form the suggested ridiculous associations, or use your own, then you can test yourself and see if it works.

A lamp sells for $40.11; picture a rested or roasted lamp. See that picture.

A camera sells for $19.18; picture a gigantic camera being tipped off a table, or a camera taking a picture of taped ivy.

Television set, $142.05; see a gigantic television set riding the tracks like a train; it has a sail on it (train sail = $142.05).

Toaster, $34.95; see a gigantic marble toasting bread, or a toaster popping up millions of marbles.

Car, $3,102.86; you might see a car taking a dose of medicine from a fish.

If you’ve tried to see these silly pictures, now try to fill in the correct prices.

When it comes to telephone numbers, there’s no question that remembering them must save you a lot of time and aggravation over a long period. All you need do is calculate the minutes it takes to look up a number or dial the information operator, redial because you dialed the wrong number first, etc., to be convinced.

mnemonics tips to memorize numbers

To remember a telephone number you simply associate a word or phrase that tells you the number (phonetically) to the person or company, or to a Substitute Word for the person or company. Eventually, the phone company will be using the ANC, All Number Code, and there will be no exchange names. At the present time, some exchange names are still in use.

Remembering an all-digit phone number is the same as remembering any number. If your doctor’s number is 940 8212, associate doctor (stethoscope, perhaps) to press fountain, or brass fountain, or price fountain. If you’d rather, you can associate the number to his name.

If you’d like to have your electrician’s number at your fingertips, associate his number to electric. If the number is 862-9421, you might see an electric plug fishin’ and drinking brandy, or you could use fashion brand. There’s no rule that says your words must cover the first three digits and then the last four digits. Use any words to cover any of the digits; it doesn’t matter. If a word that contains all the necessary sounds comes to mind—use it. For 720-5127, you might think of cans looting, which is one, but consulting also would tell you the number.

As for exchange-name telephone numbers, there’s a simple way to handle them. The first word in your association must tell you both the two exchange letters and the exchange number. You then use any word or phrase to tell you the remaining digits.

If the number you want to remember is RA 3-9110, the phrase ram potatoes would do it. The word ram begins with ra, and the very next consonant sound is m, for 3; RA 3. This becomes even easier when you realize that that first word needn’t contain only the two letters and the one consonant sound. It must begin with that—then all following sounds are disregarded. So, you could have used rampart potatoes for this number, because rampart would still represent RA 3.

memory techniques to memorize numbers, prices and digits

The word, or picture, burn would represent BU 4; cigarette would represent CI 7, plan or plant would represent PL 2, and so on. For exchanges like TN and LW (New York exchanges), with which it is impossible to form words, make up a standard. Ton could represent TN, and low could represent LW. For those, you’d know that a picture like ton cow marked represents TN 7-3471. Later on, when you learn how to picture individual letters of the alphabet, you’ll see how that would also help to solve this problem.

This example brings us to two points. First, when you use two words for the last four digits, using the basic Peg Words, it may cause a slight confusion. If we had used coin file, how would we know, at a future time, that it was coin file, and not file coin? It doesn’t matter that much—after you’ve dialed a number a few times, the picture you originally made isn’t necessary anyway, you’ll know the number. But, you can solve this minor problem by using any word but a basic Peg Word for the second word. If you make a habit of doing that, you’ll know that the basic Peg Word always comes first. So, for the four digits 5230, you wouldn’t use lion mouse, you’d use lion mess, moss, or moose.

The second point is that you can eliminate the necessity for forming words to cover the exchange name by eliminating the exchange name. You can look at a telephone dial and transpose the letters to digits, and the problem is solved. Since a telephone dial isn’t always handy, the best thing to do would be to memorize it. Once you’ve done that, you can instantly transpose any exchange name or letters to digits.

Make up a word or phrase that reminds you of the three letters at each digit on a dial, and associate that to the digit (Peg Word). Here are some suggestions; really see the pictures, and you’ll have memorized the dial in no time.

2—ABC: Picture Noah learning his ABC’s.
3—DEF: Picture your Ma being deaf.
4—GHI: See a GI drinking rye, or you’re drinking rye and getting high.
5—JKL: Picture a jackal being a policeman (law).
6—MNO: Picture a shoe saying, “Me? No”; or a shoe being mean to an O.
7—PRS: See a cow carrying a gigantic purse.
8—TUV: Picture ivy being tough (enough to remind you of TUV).
9—WXY: A bee is waxy.

All that remain to be discussed are area codes. The area code simply changes a seven digit phone number to a ten-digit number. Make up a word to represent the area code, put it into your original association, and you’ve got it. If Mr. Smith’s telephone number is (201) 648-9470, you might see a picture of yourself smashing a nest (201) with a blacksmith’s hammer; a sheriff (648) breaks (9470) your hammer.

Stein and Day’s main offices are located in Westchester County (area code 914). The telephone number is 762-2151. A picture of a large slab of butter on a cushion that is nettled (or not light) would do it.

If you make many out-of-area calls, you might want to memorize some area codes; just associate area code to place. Then you’ll have them all ready when you need them. You can memorize the codes for major cities only, if you like. It’s easy enough.

The area code for Manhattan is 212; that’s almost readymade for you because Indian represents 212 phonetically, and everyone knows that we bought Manhattan from the Indians. Or, you could associate Indian to man hat.

Associate no time to lost angels in order to remember that the area code for Los Angeles is 213.

The area code for all of Wyoming is 307; associate Y roaming to mask.

All of Delaware is 302; associate Della wear to mason.

Nevada is 702; associate never there or gambling to cousin.

West Virginia is 304; associate a bottle of gin, wearing a western hat, to misery or miser.

Cleveland is 216; associate cleave land to no touch.

Chicago is 312; associate chick (car go) to my tan, median, or mutton.

Again, you’ll need the silly pictures only until the numbers become knowledge. Best of all, you’ll have liberated yourself from misdialed calls, telephone books, and telephone operators!