Hi Marcee,
I let f be the amount of money in the first purse, s the amount of money in the second purse and t the amount of money in the third purse. I am going to keep track of the three steps in this procedure using a table

Purse one 
Purse two 
Purse three 
Start 
$f 
$s 
$t 
Step 1 
$f  $20 
$s + $20 
$t 
Step 2 
$f  $20 
$s + $20  $60 
$t + $60 
Step 3 
$f  $20 + $40 
$s + $20  $60 
$t + $60  $40 
The instructions say that after the first step "the second would then contain 4 times as much as remains in the first". Thus
$s + $20 = 4 ($f  $20)
After the second step "the third will contain twice what is in the first and second together". Thus
$t + $60 = 2( $f  $20 + $s + $20  $60)
After the third step "there will be half as much (in the first purse) as in the third".
Write the equation fir this step and then solve the three equations for $f, $s and $t
Penny
