How to Create a Cost Comparison Chart

Well-organized tables give you an at-a-glance look at potential costs.
Well-organized tables give you an at-a-glance look at potential costs. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

A cost comparison chart is useful for evaluating future purchases based on factors that influence price, quality and value. This type of chart can be helpful for business or personal expenses, as a tool to assess your spending habits, items you have purchased and major purchases that require a visual to make a wise decision. There are many ways to construct a chart such as this, but using a simple table is an easy and effective method.

Draw a table with top headings that reflect the areas of each item you're comparing. For example, if you're comparing the costs of apartments you're looking to rent, you could use factors such as "Bedrooms," "Bathrooms," "Gym Facility," "Average Utilities," and so forth. Use the first column of your table for the names of the apartment locations for this example.

Organize the columns so the factors to consider that don't include price are together. Near the right margin, group together the columns that include price. For example, use the far right columns for organizing costs such as utilities, deposit and rent amounts so that there's easy reference to the overall cost for each location. Use columns closer to the left side for features that require a description.

Use color coding to distinguish between locations or to identify costs that are above a certain threshold. You could use green for amounts that are within your budget and red for amounts that exceed your budget.

Insert enough space for each location or each factor that you're considering to make your table easily legible and to make notes, if necessary. Some descriptions will require two to four rows, especially if you're comparing items that have features that don't fit into narrow columns.

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