The Game of Life

Table of Contents

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1 I got bills

  • LunchMoney Lewis made a good point.
  • Some jobs pay weekly, but most pay you once a month. If you don't plan carefully with your expenditure, you'll find yourself in financial difficulty.
  • As people sometimes say, its easy to find that there's too much month left at the end of the money, and going overdrawn (i.e. having a negative bank balance) can become very expensive, very quickly.
  • Today, you'll learn about how much it actually costs to run a household, using a spreadsheet to help you model it.
  • Of everything you'll learn in your Computer Science lessons, this is one of the most useful skills (this is technically more ICT that CompSci though).
  • Some adults use a spreadsheet to help them keep track of their finances, to avoid going overdrawn before the next pay-day.

Download It

  • Download this file to your H: drive, and save it in a new folder.
  • Open the spreadsheet in Excel.

Learn It

  • Your household budget consists of several categories:
    • Income: Money coming in from your job,
    • Fixed outgoings: Bills that are predictable and regular, e.g. Rent,
    • One-off outgoings: Less regular bills, e.g. Annual TV licence,
    • Unexpected outgoings: Things you can't anticipate, e.g. car breakdown bills.
  • Think about the different bills that you might encounter in a real-life household, and note down how much you think they might be each month.
  • Once you've come up with a few, click here to see my list, and see how your list compares
  • Did you guess too low? Too high? About right?

Try It

  • In the outgoings section (Column F on the spreadsheet), write as many different types of bill that you can think of in the left column.
  • For each bill, guess at what you think the amount you pay for these things is every month. You'll be given example figures later on, but it'll be interesting to see how well your guesses line up with real life. Rent/mortage is already present to get you started off.
  • In the income section, write your monthly takehome pay amount that you calculated in the last lesson into cell D7. We'll change this later. If in doubt, write 1100.

Code It

  • We've got the elements of a spreadsheet here. We now need to add some formulae to get down to what really matters; how much disposable income you have each week.
  • This is the amount of money you have left each week once all your bills are paid that you can do whatever you want with; buy clothes, go to the cinema, order take-aways and so on. Either earning more money or reducing your bills will make this figure go up.
  • Write the following formulae:
    • In cell D10 we need a formula to calculate your total income. This will be your salary + your partner's salary + whatever you've already got in your bank account. The formula for this will be =D4+D7+D8
    • In cell G34 you'll need a formula to sum all the cells in your one-off outgoings column. Look at the formula used in G23 and see if you can write the right formula in here.
    • In L6, we want to be able to get the total of all your monthly bills. Can you write a formula to do that?
    • In L7 we will need a formula to calculate your overall balance: Your total money in - total money out. Write a formula to do this.
    • In L8, write a formula to take the answer from L7 and divide that by 4.5 to give your weekly disposable income.
    • Hopefully, this isn't a negative number. What would that mean if it was?

Try It

  • Because we've written formulae in all the different cells, you can now be able to change values in certain cells and see the effect this has on your weekly disposable income immediately.
  • Try doubling your monthly take-home pay. You should see the weekly disposable income increase.
  • Let's make this more realistic. Open this page in a new tab, and use these figures for your bills.
  • You should now have a complete spreadsheet model of a household budget.
  • If you're struggling, the video tutorial below will walk you through completing this task.

Badge It

  • Complete the formulae above.
  • Silver: Upload your budget.xls file for marking with all the formulae entered.
  • Gold: Answer the two questions starting at K28, writing your answers in the spaces provided.
  • Platinum: Answer the three questions starting at K34, writing your answers in the spaces provided.