- Plan and Budget
*navigate_next* - Lesson 1: Make a Long-Term Spending Decision

# 5. Research Costs

## Transcript

In this video, you will collect data about the costs involved with your purchase and calculate the total costs for the full length of the contract.

Collect data for the example you chose and the associated costs.

Most cell phone contracts last two years, but you may find some for one or three years.

If you are evaluating media streaming services or internet providers, you will include different attributes and contract terms.

Your spreadsheet should fit your research, not match this example exactly.

Keep in mind that websites change frequently too, so what you see on your screen may not match what you see in this video.

Add a column for purchase price, or the price you’ll pay for the product itself.

Next, add what the service plan will cost per month.

You may have to explore the website to find this cost.

There are lots of options.

Some carriers provide more information to help you decide how many minutes or how much data you will need.

Add additional rows to your spreadsheet to compare different plans if you’d like, or add a column to keep track of the data limit for one plan.

This example uses only one data plan.

Add this information to your spreadsheet.

As you explore, you may run into additional or “hidden” fees.

Sometimes these are written in smaller print, and can be easy to miss.

It is important to know all of the costs, so you can make an informed choice about the best plan for you.

Read the fine print!

Look out for activation fees, roaming charges, cancellation fees, and fees for exceeding a plan’s data limit.

Create columns and add these fees to your spreadsheet.

Add a column for the number of months in the contract.

In this case, that’s 24 because the contract term is for two years.

The contract term in your project may be different.

Next, calculate the cost of the plan for one month.

To do this, create a formula to add the total monthly charges, such as the plan charge plus the access fee.

Add a new column called “Total Monthly Charges,” and select the cell beneath it.

This is where the total will go.

All formulas begin with “equals.”

Type an equals sign in this cell.

Then, select the cell that contains the monthly plan charge.

Your columns and numbers will look different than this example.

That is okay.

Select the corresponding cell on your spreadsheet.

The highlighted cell reference appears in the formula.

Type a plus sign.

Then, select the cell with the monthly access fee.

This cell reference also appears in the formula, in a different color.

Press “Enter.”

This calculates the total monthly costs.

Great!

Next, create a formula to calculate the total plan cost.

To do this, multiply the monthly cost of the plan by the number of months in the contract term.

In this case, the contract term is two years, but for your project the term may be different.

Create another column for “Total Plan Cost.”

In the next cell below, type an equals sign to start the formula.

Then, select the cell with the total monthly cost--the formula you just typed.

Type an asterisk, or a multiplication sign.

Then, select the cell with the number of months.

Press “Enter.”

Now, you have the total cost of just the plan for two years.

Finally, add a column labeled “Total Cost.”

Type a formula to add the one-time charges and the total plan cost.

Type equals and select all the cells with one-time costs, adding plus signs in between.

In this example, the formula reads: “Phone Cost plus Total Monthly Charges plus Activation Fee."

One of the benefits of formulas is that you can check your work.

After you’ve found the total cost of your phone and data plan, select the “Total Cost” cell and look at the contents of the formula bar.

Each cell you selected appears in the formula in a different color.

The formula performs the calculation using the values you place in the cells.

It automatically updates when you change one of those values.

Check to ensure you have highlighted the correct cells.

In the next video, you will copy this formula to different areas of the spreadsheet, so be sure everything is accurate.

Now, it’s your turn: Collect data on the cost of your product.

Add columns for purchase price, service plans, hidden fees, and other financial information.

Make sure to read the fine print!

Use a formula to calculate the cost of your plan for one month; and Create a formula to find the Total Plan Cost.

Then, move on to the next video.

## Instructions

- Collect data on the cost of your product.
- Add columns for purchase price, service plans, hidden fees, and other financial information you find. Make sure to read the fine print!
- Use a formula to calculate the cost of your plan for one month.
- Create a formula to find the Total Plan Cost.