Just thought of this tonight. It took me 34 years to come up with sure, but I did it.
I have the 5 times tables memorized up to about five. Once I'm past 5 I tend to resort to adding and tricks meaning 5 x 7 isn't 35 but actually it's 5 x 6 and then 30 + 5 and then finally it's 35. Slow but it gets done.
It struck me tonight however that there's a much easier way. Make the 5 a .5 and then it's .5 x 7, right? That's 3.5. Then move the decimal point one space to the right. It's 35! But it's even simpler than that. When you multiply by .5 you're simply splitting the the number you're multiplying in half. So anytime you need to multiply by 5 just split the number in half and move your decimal point over one.
5 x 6493? Easy. Half of 6493 I can do in my head, it's 3246.5. Move the decimal and the answer to the original question is 32,465. Whoo hoo! Thrilling stuff! And never mind the implications for multiplying by 50, 500, 5000...
I know those people who've got the tables memorized will be slapping their foreheads over the awkwardness of this (trust me, compared to some of the gymnastics I go through to multiply things this is elegantly simple) but those who, like me, have never really memorized the times tables will thank me.
If they hadn't already figured this trick out that is. But it did take me 34 years and I am unusually bright and clever so I'm betting they didn't.