# Calculating Savings Budget Money Already Allocated?

I tried asking this in Ask Anything, but didn’t get a response. At the risk of duplicating topics, thought I’d ask here since I use the Google Sheets version.

I use the Savings Budget template sheet and it’s quite useful. I’m using it in part as digital envelopes to save for recurring known expenses that will come up in future months. For example, I know that in June each year, I’ll incur about \$500 in bar association dues, so I allocate money to that piece of the budget each month so that the money will be there when the expense comes due.

Because we didn’t spend it (yet), Spending Trends says “great, you were \$500 in the black this month!” but I know that \$450 of it is already actually spoken for by those accruing envelopes. My wife just sees “we have \$500 extra to play with!” and wants to go spend it, and gets mad when I say “no, we don’t actually have \$500 extra to play with, but without doing a bunch of math, I don’t know what the actual number is that we have to play with is.”

The trouble I’m having is calculating how much of our savings is essentially “spoken for” by these envelopes.

What I need is some way to determine out of our savings/net worth how much of the savings in the envelopes is already allocated and should not be treated as excess, and how much is actual excess that we can figure out what to do with (either putting it into savings or finally pulling the trigger on some wants we’ve been putting off). This needs to also take into account if we’ve overspent on a category month-to-month and would need to draw from savings to actually cover it to make the category “whole.” I’d also like to account for an emergency fund number that we need to leave alone, period.

I could probably do this just by adding some savings to the envelope, but I’m afraid that if I do this, it will look like we have more left in a budget month because I zeroed it out, essentially. I don’t want my wife to just keep seeing “oh, there’s X amount available this month” because I keep just adding to the category every time we go over. That red negative number really does cause her to stop and go “we can’t spend anymore here,” and if the number is black, she tends to spend it. If there was a way to decrease available unallocated savings when I add savings to the category for the month, that would be ideal.

I’ve been sort of manually adding up all the categories each day with the budget and savings in envelopes and comparing that against our primary checking and savings accounts with an emergency fund number, but it’s a pain, and I’d like to find a way to automate that somehow. I thought I essentially just needed to take the absolute value of the savings in each category and add it all up, calculate the total amount remaining in each category for each month, reference a cell labeled “emergency fund value,” and have a formula that compares to total assets or net worth to all of that, but my attempts so far to do that have not actually worked in practice.

Does anyone have any ideas how I could do this right in the Savings Budget sheet?

Thank you in advance!

I’m an avid Savings Budget user. It’s my primary driver in Tiller, and I find it very useful. At the same time, it has its limits, and I fear that you might be asking it to do too much. If I understand what you’re trying to do correctly (and there’s a lot in your post, so I may not be), you want the Savings Budget to reflect both the virtual savings function that the Savings Budget allows and real-time actual cash-flow. I’ve thought about trying to incorporate real-time cash flow into the Savings Budget, but then realized that it would likely take as much work as just doing it the way I currently do it (where I regularly consult both my Savings Budget sheet and my Balances sheet). Maybe somebody with better Google Sheets skills than me can conceive of a way of integrating the two (and I would cheer heartily), but my sense is that it would be a fairly complicated project.

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I am not sure if this exactly addresses your question, but I developed a Tiller Sheet that I call Ultimate Envelopes. The basic premise is it only allows you to allocate actual money in your bank account to the envelopes. Moreover, it allows you to see the difference of your allocated money and your unallocated money. You can even set savings targets and track your progress towards your stated goals.

Here is a notion site that explains it a bit more. Take a look.

https://ultimateenvelopes.notion.site

Also reach out if you have any questions

-Rich

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Yeah, that’s kind of what I was afraid of. It feels like it should be a reasonably simple thing to calculate out, I just am not good enough with spreadsheet formulas to actually make it work. But because I don’t know enough about spreadsheets, I’m in that gray zone of “is this easy and it just feels hard, or is it just actually impossible”?

When I do it by hand, I just add up what’s in the savings for the envelopes plus the budget for the month, and if the savings is negative, I also subtract that from the overall “available savings” and solve for X to get to what it would take to get the budget back up to normal for the month, then add my emergency fund number, and then subtract that total amount from what’s in our primary checking and savings. That’s the amount my wife looks at in deciding “can we afford to do this project I want to do?” because otherwise she just thinks “oh, we have \$8,000 in savings, we can totally do this!”

I just don’t quite know how to reference all of those values or locations well enough in the spreadsheet or how to build a formula that does those specific things to do it automatically is really the biggest problem.

That does sound a lot like what I need! For some reason, it won’t let me view the site, though?

try this one.

That worked, thanks! I’ll take a look. Much appreciated.

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Did any of these suggestions help? If so, please mark one as the solution.

Ah, didn’t think to do that, thank you for the reminder.

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I figured out a solution with some tinkering this morning!

Here’s what I came up with.

It’s a little brittle, but someone with more knowledge of how to flexibly reference things could probably make this much better.

Thank you, everyone!

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