Administrative Project #2: Track your expenses

Most teachers spend some of their own personal funds on their classroom. Music teachers are no exception. We have classroom supplies we need to buy, conferences we need to attend, and workshops to learn new skills, not to mention the money we spend on instruments, music, and equipment. So, keeping a detailed list of expenses can help you not only track how much you are spending, but help save money later on when it comes tax time. 

One of the great things about many spreadsheet programs is the ability to summarize information quickly and efficiently. Understanding some of these features is relatively simple, and can come in really handy if you are tasked with maintaining a budget.

Expense Summary Project Description:

This project focuses on taking a list of expenses that have been entered into a database and summarizing them by category, and by total, using the formula and summary functions in excel. By the end of this project, learners should have a clear grasp of the following concepts and skills:

  • Basic Formulas
    • Add
    • Subtract
    • Multiply
  • Summary Tools
    • Subtotals
    • Averages
    • Counts

In this this video, we will cover some of the ways you can summarize data and have excel do the math for you including how to generate formulas and use some of the summary tools to create an expense report that is both flexible and useful. A copy of the incomplete database can be found here to follow along and work through on the instructional video below:

By the end of the lesson, we should have a completed list of expenses entered into database and summarized, similar to the completed excel spreadsheet here and the example below:

Next StepS

A possible extension to this project would be to take a set of haphazardly organized expenses of a music teacher like the one here and enter it into a spreadsheet that summarizes information like the example above. This would help reinforce all of the basics concepts covered before by starting from a blank spreadsheet, or a template like this oneLINK to create a summary document that demonstrates an understanding of all of the basics of organizing and summarizing with spreadsheets through an Authentic Context Learning (ACL) perspective. A desctipon of this kind of project is below:

Expense Tracking Project Description:

This primary objective of this project is to build upon previous skills in databas management through the framework of transforming a messy list of travel expenses incurred by a practicing music teacher in a year by entering them into an excel spreadsheet that summarizes expenses by category and overall total. By working through the examples, learners should have a firm grasp of the following concepts and skills:

  • Data entry
  • Formatting basics
  • Predictive copy
  • Using formulas
  • Summary tools

This project covers the most fundamental aspects of using Microsoft excel, including data entry, formatting, and formulas all through the lens of tracking professional expenses. Once learners are done with this, they should have at least the bare minimum skills to be able to apply them in their future careers and the are ready to begin transforming data through mail merges and create their own administrative databases.


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