Add the Savings & Debt (Prototype) sheet

Overview

The Tiller Money Labs Savings & Debt (Prototype) is a companion sheet that allows you to set, manage and track your savings and debt goals atop the new Savings Budget template.

This beta-quality template is new and is listed for testing and feedback only.

Savings

The template delivers the following benefits for savings:

  • Create savings goals within categories with target amounts & deadlines
  • Track progress against savings goals
  • Compare whether budgets are sufficient to reach your goals

Debt

The template delivers the following benefits for debt & loan paydown:

For more comprehensive debt-paydown planning using snowball, avalanche and ranked prioritization models, use the Debt Progress template from Tiller Money Labs.

Installation

  1. Complete installation and setup of the Savings Budget (Prototype)
  2. Open the Tiller Money Labs add-on
  3. Choose “Add a Solution” in the sidebar
  4. Click on Savings & Debt (Prototype)
  5. Choose “Add to Spreadsheet”

How to Use It

The Savings & Debt (Prototype) dashboard builds atop the new Savings Budget (Prototype) solution.

Tracking Savings

Create a Savings Goal

  1. Choose or create a new expense-type Category on the Categories sheet
  2. Make sure the Track Savings column is checked for the category
  3. Select the new savings category in the next available dropdown in the Category column of the Savings sheet
  4. Enter the asset-class Account where savings will accrue for the savings category
  5. Enter your savings Goal for the savings category
  6. Optionally, if you wish to reach your savings goal by a specific date, enter a Deadline

Fund a Savings Goal

Once you have created a savings goal, assign a monthly budget to the category in the Categories sheet (or using the Savings Budget (Prototype) sidebar workflow). The budget is the amount you plan to save monthly toward the savings goal.

If you have no expenses within the category during a month (e.g. actual is $0), the entire budget amount for the category will roll into the following month as “savings”. The accrued savings will be reflected on your Savings sheet.

You accrued savings can remain comingled in your checking account or you can choose to transfer savings to discrete accounts with your bank (e.g. a savings account, a college fund, a vacation fund, etc). If you choose to move them, just link both accounts, make a bank transfer, and then categorize both sides of the transfer as Transfer when Tiller Money Feeds pulls in the transactions.

If the savings account is not supported for automatic data feeds you can add and track it as a manual account using the Tiller Money Feeds and Tiller Money Labs add-ons.

Move Money from Savings Goal back to Spending Account

If you need to move money from the savings goal category to another where it’s needed (e.g. Groceries) you can enter these adjustments using +/- [amount] formulas into the savings adjustment column (column C) in the Savings Budget (Prototype) sheet, then click Update Budget in the Tiller Money Labs add-on Savings Budget sidebar workflow.

Move Money from one Savings Goal to Another

If you need to move money from one savings goal category to another (e.g. Vacation fund to Emergency Fund) you can enter these adjustments using +/- [amount] formulas into the savings adjustment column (column C) in the Savings Budget (Prototype) sheet, then click Update Budget in the Tiller Money Labs add-on Savings Budget sidebar workflow.

Spending Money from Savings Goal

Just assign any expense transactions to the savings goal category to spend down the savings. For example, if you’ve been saving in a category called “Summer Vacation”, just apply that category to the airline tickets you purchased.

Close Out a Savings Goal

When you have achieved a savings goal, just go ahead and spend the money and categorize the transactions to the savings goal. To remove it from your Savings dashboard, just clear the contents from the green cells.

:warning: Do not delete the row from the dashboard as this will damage hidden formulas. Further, deleting the category from your Categories sheet may throw carefully managed balanced budgets out of whack.

Confirm a Savings Account Is Funded

The Savings Account Check tool in the upper right of the dashboard can be used to compare a bank account balance to the sum of the savings goals that are (virtually) deposited in it. When the Last Balance is greater than the amount Allocated to Goals, the savings goals are properly funded (i.e. the savings exist in the real world, not just virtually within the spreadsheet).

The Unallocated amount is the amount of additional savings that is not allocated to your savings goals.

image

Tracking Debt

Start by following the instructions to setup in the Savings Budget topic to add & budget for a new debt.

Add a New Debt

Once a debt-payoff category has been properly added to the Categories sheet:

  1. Select the debt-paydown category name in an empty row in the Debt Payoff Goals dashboard (right side)
  2. If the debt is linked to your spreadsheet, the outstanding balance will appear
  3. If you have built a budget for the debt, the current period’s budget will appear

As you make payments against your debts (and the balances change), the new balances will update for each managed debt.

Assess Your Debt Payoff Plan

You can (optionally) add more information to inform your debt-payoff plan:

  1. Add an interest rate for the debt
  2. Add a payoff deadline for the debt

When these fields are populated, the dashboard will calculate the required monthly budget to payoff the debt by the payoff deadline as well as the total cost of the loan when paid at that rate. You can compare your current-period budget to the required budget to see if you are on track to achieve your goals.

For more comprehensive debt-paydown planning using snowball, avalanche and ranked prioritization models, use the Debt Progress template from Tiller Money Labs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why don’t I need to categorize any transactions to the savings category for savings to accrue?

The act of budgeting for the category funds the category by removing it from available cashflow. You don’t need to categorize any transactions to the category because nothing is being spent on the category. The savings action is more like an internal “transfer” from your cashflow to a category’s savings.

What if I transfer money from the savings account to my checking account before spending the money? How should I categorize these transactions?

If you have not yet assigned an account to the savings goal, just categorize the transactions as Transfer.

When accounts— even shared accounts— have been assigned to savings goals, it is important to properly track movements into and out of these virtual savings goals (otherwise validations like the Savings Account Check won’t work). To do this, follow the instructions above for Move Money from Savings Goal back to Spending Account.

3 Likes