This Google Hack Will Save You Money

It is easy to get lost in the numbers when you are searching for housing. But it is easier to create a spreadsheet to help guide you to the right choice. The #1 thing to keep in mind when using spreadsheets is accessibility. You need to be able to access and input data at all times, and there is no better way than to keep this data on your phone–because, if you are like me, your phone is rarely far from you. 

Google Drive is a college student’s best friend! It’s a free Microsoft Office suite with unlimited storage and accessibility– all you need to do is sign into your Google account! This simple spreadsheet hack starts with Google Forms.

Step 1) Create & Customize a Google Form:

Google Forms is a tool within Google Drive that will make inputting your data into a spreadsheet fast and easy. To create a Google Form, go to Google drive and click “New.”

You will see several options appear, such as Folder, File Upload, Google Docs, Google Sheets..etc. Once you are here click the option for “More.”

Once you click on Google Forms, you will be redirected to the new form Google has created for you to customize. It will appear as depicted below:

Now you can create this form to be whatever you wish. I would suggest changing the input fields to short answer so you have the ability to input any data you need. Click on “Multiple Choice” to see all field choices Google allows on this form.

Design the form to work for you, but if you need some direction, here is a screenshot of the form I use when apartment shopping:

Step 2) Save Your New Google Form to Your Phone’s Home Screen:

Once your form is created, send the form to yourself in an email. This email will contain the URL Google designates to your form for access. Open this email that you have sent to yourself from your phone. The next steps in this article will pertain to steps you must take on your phone– our goal is to save the form to the home screen of your phone so you will be able to input data as you shop for apartments. Begin by clicking “SEND.”

Below is a screenshot of the email you will receive from yourself. Once you have received this email, click “Fill Out Form.” You will be redirected to the form itself via the default web browser that is in your phone’s settings. In this article, I will be showing you how to save a web page to your home screen within Google Chrome; however, the instructions will be similar across all phone’s web browsers.

Once you are at the form, click on the three dots vertically aligned in the top right corner of your phone’s screen. This button will allow you to access your web browser’s options (in this example Google Chrome’s options).  

Once you are in Google Chrome’s options (or your web browser’s options), click “Add to Home screen.”

After clicking, you will be able to title the form any name you wish (this will be the name that appears on your homescreen below the Google Forms icon). 

After you have given your form a stellar title and clicked “ADD,” congratulations! You have successfully created a beautiful Google Form that is going to make apartment shopping so much easier!

Now, go to the homescreen on your phone. Your phone will add the Google Form icon to the nearest available icon slot within your home screen pages. If you are like me and have several pages on your home screen, check the last page. You will see a purple icon with the title you gave the form listed below. Simply press & hold the icon to move the shortcut to your form to the page on your home screen that will be most accessible for you.

Here is where I put mine:

Step 3) Export Your Data to a Spreadsheet in Google Sheets:

Now, it’s one thing to have the ability to input data quickly and easily, but your data will be useless you can view it in a spreadsheet. Exporting the data you input from this form will allow you to compare prices and your thoughts about the apartments you have seen. To export, access your new Google Form from Google Drive on your computer (make sure to log into the same Google Account that you created the form).

Once you click on the form within Google Drive, you will be redirected to the form you just created. At the top of the form you will see “Questions” and “Responses,” click on “Responses.”

The responses tab will allow you to see individual data that you have entered during your shopping experiences. This may be useful for quick reference; however, for the purposes of comparison, we need this data in a spreadsheet. There will be a green icon in the upper right area of the form; this is a Google Sheets icon.  Click on the Google Sheets icon, Google will create a Google Sheets spreadsheet and transfer all the data you have entered into the form you have created. And what’s more, Google will automatically update this same Google Sheets spreadsheet when you input new data!

Data gives you the ability to make quick & strategic decisions that benefit your exact needs! Google makes collecting and viewing data so easy and will guide you to the best decisions in all your shopping experiences. I hope this hack helps make apartment shopping a little easier and much less stressful! Happy saving!