For Excel, we began by showing the students a presentation I made a few years back on the value of an education. This presentation not only shows the numbers (from U.S. Census Data) of the increased pay based upon educational attainment, but I worked the numbers, showing how much money approximately each level of educational attainment would have in their budget for housing and used pictures to show what type of housing you could afford with that money. These students don't have a good concept of money, but they do know the difference between a mobile home and a multi-million dollar mansion.
We then had the students using MS Excel to update the numbers to the latest release, crunch the numbers to see the side-by-side comparison of how well (and not so well) earnings are keeping up.
The next thing we did, based upon the How-To's on the Microsoft web site, was to have the students make timelines on Excel. It's another feature generally not used.