Activity 3: Calculating Cost of Living's photo

Download the “No Place Like Home Expense Template" (Excel file)

 1. Learning About Templates

What is a Template?

This template was developed in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel, Appleworks, StarOffice Calc or Open Office and already has the formulas in place to calculate the numbers you have gathered and entered on the “No Place Like Home” worksheet.

Complete the “Expenses Template” by carefully entering your data in the white boxes. By hoovering over the red arrow you will receive helps as to what goes in a particular cell.

Saving Your Template: You may save your “Expenses Template” on your computer by placing your name in the file name for future reference.


2. Learning About Spreadsheets

What is a spreadsheet? A spreadsheet is a mathematical tool that consists of rows (numbered) and columns (lettered). Where a row and column intersect is a cell. Each cell on a spreadsheet has an address made up of the column and row names. Example addresses would be: B16, A5, AA34, etc. Bingo! Spreadsheets can have around 256 columns and 16,000 rows!

Three types of data can be entered into a cell in a spreadsheet: numbers, text (alphabetic information), and formulas. Numbers typed into a cell will format to the right, text will format to the left in a cell. Formulas need to be preceded with an equals = sign. Cell addresses and numbers can be used in formulas. An example of a formula might look like this: =A12+4*5. The symbol for multiplication is: * (the asterisk) . The division symbol is: / (the slash).

A spreadsheet will follow the rules of mathematical priority: 1-any operations in parentheses ( ), 2-exponents, 3-multiplication/division, and then 4-addition/subtraction. When entering currency, it is important to enter the number without the dollar sign or comma. You will need to ask the computer to format the number for currency. In Excel, this can be done under Format—Cells—Currency. Make sure you highlight all the cells you wish to have this format first.
Percentages need to be typed in as decimals and then formatted for percents. Example: if the federal tax rate is 25%, it would be entered in the spreadsheet as .25. The consumer price index numbers can be entered the way they are found: 101.7, 123.4, 95.6, etc. Any number inside parentheses indicates a negative number: (205.48).
To enter data into a spreadsheet, you must first click on the cell where you want that data or formula to be placed. Type in your text, numbers, or formula. When you press return, your data will be moved to the highlighted cell.

Computer software that has spreadsheets are: Microsoft Office—Excel, AppleWorks—Spreadsheet or StarOffice--Calc. If you do not have a spreadsheet available, this unit could be done with paper and pencil or a calculator.


Extended Activity: re-create the spreadsheet, filling in all the data and creating the formulas needed from scratch.


What Did I Learn?

  1. Do you see how useful a spreadsheet can be to analyze data?
  2. Did you learn that by calculating data you can get a better information in making a decision on where to live and work?


Resource and Teaching Guide