Alerts for budget spend

I wanted to alert myself and spouse automatically on budget progress. This cuts out the need for frequent checking of progress.

I was actually searching for a way to create stock alerts on an entire watchlist based on price targets. I mucked about with scripts but went the easy way using the free service from

Setting up an alert

  1. On the monthly budget spreadsheet, create a new column A. In A1, entered the formula ‘=if(D8>0,"",“Over Budget”)’. D8 contains the value remaining to spend in the budget.

  2. In google sheet settings, under calculation, change setting to recalculate every hour.

  3. Open a free account at and create a zap. For the trigger, select Google Sheets. For Trigger event, select New or Updated Spreadsheet Row. Follow the simple steps linking the monthly budget worksheet, and select column A as the Trigger Column. Follow the steps to send an email. An email will be sent when the value in A1 changes to ‘Over Budget’. I might play about further to create warnings as I approach 100% of budget or set alerts on category levels.

Interesting, thanks for sharing.

I might use this functionality for something slightly different. For example - send me a message if a large unexpected payment was made from one of my accounts. Say >$500 that isnt autocategorized.

Just a quick tip, you should have a >=0. Otherwise, if you spent your budget but didn’t go over, the current formula would show as “Over Budget.” This may not happen often, but I break out some online bills such as Netflix, etc, so my budget and spending is either available or 0.

This is great! I think it probably works especially well when you’re using AutoCat to automatically categorize transactions. Is that the case for you @gaz0303?

I did try to test it in my Monthly Budget but I’m getting error. Are you using the Foundation template Monthly Budget or an older monthly budget version? I have a blank column A and D8 just has text in it in my version:

It should be using the “available” column. In my version, that’s in H.
I also started the formula in row H19, since I didn’t want it being triggered by my paycheck which would have a negative available and I only wanted to track expenses.
What was also skipped was that you need to put the formula into all rows, since it’s not entered as an array. So I have “=if(H19>=0,”",“Over Budget”)" and then dragged down to all my categories. (Keep in mind that if you add or remove a category, the alert might be triggered and you also need to remember to add the formula to A***, unless you already prefilled it all the way down and then some.)
And yes, it works with autocat.