Add the Savings Budget sheet

Overview

The Tiller Money Labs Savings Budget template is a simple envelope/rollover savings concept.

It is designed to deliver the following benefits:

  • Compatibility with Tiller’s Foundation template
  • In-category “rollover”/“envelope” savings workflows
  • Responsive performance
  • Simple to use and get started
  • Activation of savings workflows on a per-category basis
  • In-dashboard workflows to modify budgets and savings values
  • Budget & savings change-history logging

Comparison to the Envelope Budget (via the Tiller Add-on)

Tiller Money has long offered a powerful Envelope Budget (via the Tiller Add-on).

Improvements you’ll find from the Savings Budget:

  • Significantly improved performance
  • Most work performed by transparent, in-cell calculations (rather than add-on scripts)
  • Improved compatibility with the Foundation template and Tiller Money’s tools and workflows
  • Optionally enable rollovers for none/some/all categories
  • Budget & savings change history logging in the Budget Journal sheet

Simplifications from the Envelope Budget (i.e. deprecated functionality):

  • Only monthly periods allowed - no weekly/biweekly budgets
  • Budget periods must start on the first of the month
  • Only one savings budget allowed per spreadsheet
  • No period-to-period “Rollover-To” assignments
  • Budget and rollover changes in the Adjust column are no longer implemented immediately

Installation

  1. Open your Tiller Money Foundation template - ideally configured to run with the Foundation template’s Monthly Budget
  2. Install the Tiller Money Labs add-on
  3. Open the add-on
  4. Choose “Add a Solution” in the sidebar
  5. Click on “Savings Budget”
  6. Choose “Add to Spreadsheet”

Tracking changes to savings rollovers requires an additional log sheet called Budget Journal. The add-to-spreadsheet process will also insert a sheet called Budget Journal into your spreadsheet.

Further, the installation will add a “Track” column to your Categories sheet where you can enable “Savings” functionality on a category-by-category basis.

How It Works

The Savings Budget is a budget dashboard which dynamically connects a few data sources.

Budget Data

  • Categories are created and organized in the Categories sheet (as with the Monthly Budget)
  • Budget periods are configured in the Categories sheet (as with the Monthly Budget)
  • Monthly budgets are configured in the Categories sheet (the Monthly Budget uses the same values)
  • Changes to budgets and savings via the Savings Budget sidebar workflow are logged in the Budget Journal sheet

Actuals Data

  • Transactions are aggregated from the Transactions sheet by category (as with the Monthly Budget)

Savings Data

  • Savings via the Savings Budget sidebar workflow are recorded to and aggregated from the Budget Journal sheet

Savings Budget Sidebar Workflow

The new Savings Budget sidebar workflow in the Tools menu of the Tiller Money Labs add-on reads adjustments to budgets and savings in the Savings Budget dashboard (in the Adjust ± column) and writes the changes to budgets in the Categories sheet and savings in the Budget Journal sheet.

To make adjustments to your budget or savings values:

  1. Set adjustment type in the dropdown above the ADJUST ± header
  2. Enter net adjustments in the green cells in the ADJUST ± column
  3. Update Budget to write changes

The Savings Budget workflow will only show in the sidebar once the Savings Budget and Budget Journal sheets are installed in your spreadsheet.

Further, the Update Budget workflow can be access directly from the add-on menu (i.e. without opening the sidebar) when the Savings Budget sheet is installed.

How to Use It

Set Up Your Budget

  1. Add categories and budget values to your Categories sheet as you would for the Tiller Monthly Budget
  2. Select “Savings” in the Track column to enable or disable tracking of “rollover” savings in specific budget categories

Reviewing Your Budget

  1. Go to the Savings Budget sheet
  2. Choose the period you wish to view in the period dropdown (only budget periods configured in your Categories sheet will be shown)
  3. Review savings “rollovers” accumulated from past periods in column B
  4. Review budgets for the selected period in column D
  5. Review actuals for the selected period in column F
  6. Review available funds (budget net actuals and savings) for the current period in column G

Modifying a Category’s Budget

  1. Set adjustment type in the dropdown above the ADJUST ± header to BUDGET
  2. Enter net changes (e.g. +200 or -200) to budget values in the green cells in the ADJUST ± column
  3. When you are ready to write all pending changes to your Categories sheet, open the Savings Budget workflow in the Tiller Money Labs add-on’s Tools menu
  4. Click Update Budget

Modifying a Category’s Savings

  1. Set adjustment type in the dropdown above the ADJUST ± header to SAVINGS
  2. Enter net changes (e.g. +200 or -200) to budget values in the green cells in the ADJUST ± column
  3. When you are ready to write all pending changes to your Categories sheet, open the Savings Budget workflow in the Tiller Money Labs add-on’s Tools menu
  4. Click Update Budget

Hiding Unused Categories

Deleting old categories can be a) cathartic in the same way that scrubbing the bathroom tiles is, but also b) disruptive to carefully balanced budgets. Within the Savings Budget, Categories will be shown in a period when any of the following conditions are met:

  • Category budget for the selected period (in the Categories sheet) is not blank (a zero value is not blank)
  • There are category actuals within the period
  • The categories savings is not zero

In practice, you should be able to hide unused categories by deleting values in current and future budget periods (in the Categories sheet) and transferring any residual savings to another category.

Note also that newly-added categories will not appear unless they have budget values— even $0— assigned.

Debt & Loans Tracking

By configuring categories to “Track” “Debt” in the Categories sheet, the Savings Budget provides special debt- and loan-management workflows:

  • Ignores savings rollovers for debt categories (as account balances reflect outstanding balance)
  • Simplifies debt payment (transfer) workflows
  • Links to debt-tracking features in companion Savings & Debt (Prototype) template

Adding & Budgeting for a New Debt

To setup a new loan or debt for repayment:

  1. Link the debt or loan account to your spreadsheet using Tiller Money Feeds
  2. Add a new row to the Categories sheet
  3. Use the exact Account name from your Accounts or Balances sheet as the Category name
  4. Set the category Type as “Expense”
  5. Set the Track column to “Debt”
  6. Add a debt-paydown budget amount for each period in your Categories sheet
  7. (Optional) Create a category Group name for your debt accounts like “Debt”

Making a Debt Payment

Ensure that both your payment account (e.g. checking) and your debt/loan account are linked to your spreadsheet using Tiller Money Feeds.

When both the outbound (i.e. from checking) and inbound (i.e. to your debt account) payments appear in your Transactions sheet, categorize both transactions with the debt-paydown category name. (There is no need to use a transfer category in this case with the Savings Budget template.)

The Savings Budget will use the outbound transaction amount (i.e. the side where the debt-paydown category name does not match the transaction’s Account name) as the period actuals for the debt-paydown category and will ignore the symmetric inbound (i.e. payment received) transaction.

Migrating from the Envelope Budget

If you are running the Envelope Budget (via Tiller Add-on), we have mocked up a spreadsheet-based workflow that can help you manually move your Budgets History sheet content to the data structure used in this new Savings Budget.

Migrating your Budgets History Sheet

This process involves extracting your monthly budgets and migrating them to the Categories sheet (in the same format used in the Foundation spreadsheet. Also, the “Rollover Mods” (i.e. manual monthly savings adjustments) must be extracted and migrated to the Budget Journal sheet used by this solution.

If you’d like to try this workflow, start by making a copy of the helper spreadsheet. Then, follow the instructions on the Instructions sheet. This process will create content for your Categories and Budget Journal sheets.

  • History from budget changes is not migrated because it was never tracked in the Tiller Envelope Budget.
  • Only monthly budgets can be migrated because weekly and biweekly budgets are not compatible with the Savings Budget solution.

Adding Your Data to a New Spreadsheet

You will still need a Tiller Money spreadsheet to hold this content and the Savings Budget solution. We recommend the following steps:

  1. Create a new Foundation spreadsheet in the Tiller Money Console.
  2. Using the Tiller Money Feeds add-on, link all of the accounts that were linked to your Tiller Envelope Budget spreadsheet to the new spreadsheet.
  3. Run an initial feeds update using Tiller Money Feeds.
  4. Use the Tiller Money Labs Migration Helper to migrate your categorization and splits to the new spreadsheet.
  5. Install the Savings Budget into the new spreadsheet using the Tiller Money Labs add-on.
  6. Copy the contents of the Categories Migrator sheet from the Envelope Migrator (Prototype) spreadsheet (the process you ran above :point_up:) over the Categories sheet in the new spreadsheet. Make sure to “paste as values”.
  7. Copy the contents of the Budget Journal Migrator sheet from the Envelope Migrator (Prototype) spreadsheet (the process you ran above :point_up:) over the Budget Journal sheet in the new spreadsheet. Make sure to “paste as values”.

Please let us know if you have any questions or the instructions or workflow could be improved. :wink:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I use Savings Budget and the Monthly Budget in the same spreadsheet?

Yes… but note that budget changes will be written to your Categories sheet. If you are testing the Savings Budget in parallel with an active Monthly Budget sheet, the source values for both budgets will be modified when the Savings Budget is updated via the sidebar workflow.