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essential, desirable or cosmetic information

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you're probably over thinking the problem and the instructor did provide you with the knowledge to make your brain do a little thinking.

you simply haven't been able to put all the pieces together but its unclear as to why.

but clearly, you need to figure the relationship between the unknown factors in your list, ie a cost(number), a person(who) and a thing(what). if there is a (why), then it is irrelevant.

basically the fundamental question is what values are necessary to calculate the number and which do not calculate numbers because they are text / references, ie who & what.

so what you need to do is to give values to the unknown factors in your list. these are theoretical values, just like using algebra or other mathematical equations.

once you have replaced the unknown factors with values, you should be able to figure out which ones are required to compute numbers and which cannot be for computations.

as for the values that do not compute numbers, they are used to tie/refer/link the number to a person or thing.

for example, which remaining values are imperative to tie the number to the person or the thing. (i'm not telling you which ones are they)

then which values are nice to have to further tie the calculation to a person or thing "or" maybe the remaining values tie a person to a thing and not the number.

something that real life experience has shown you yet is that is all about:

who owes how much and not what for.

good luck!