Conscious Spending Plan Template?

I enjoy listening to Ramit Sethi’s ‘I Will Teach You To Be Rich’ podcast. Every show references his Conscious Spending Plan which is a pretty simple budget template. I don’t want to rely on a ‘CSP’ as my budget but I would love to have a template/sheet that I could roll my regular budget categories into Ramit’s simple categories.

I looked on the Community Solutions and I didn’t see anything, but I just wanted to see if my searching wasn’t great and this type of template actually has already been made.


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I took a look and still don’t understand the difference between budgeting and “Conscious Spending”, but I’d be surprised if the 🏆 Budget Plan - Google Sheets template can’t do what you need.

The distinction of the ‘CSP’ is that it simplifies the budget by collapsing categories into just a few, and using a simple rule of thumb- fixed costs should not be more than 60%- to shine a light on whether income & spending is reasonable or likely to fail in the long run.

That seems like something you could just build directly into the Categories sheet. Load your Category column and then simply assign them to Fixed Expenses or Variable Expenses in the Group column. Then you can use the canned budget reports already built in to view it. Or build a simply view that factors some visual indicators if you are over 60% on your Fixed Expenses during a month.

JP I’m new here and want to connect to hire you or someone like you to help me understand Tiller. I need to create a conscious spending plan. I’ve been tracking my numbers for more than a year, that’s a breeze but now I need to understand them and put them in order for a meeting and also for my accountant. Can you please help me or steer me in the right direction?
Thanks in advance.

Hi @cwbosken - Thanks for mentioning the Conscious Budgeting Plan. I personally agree with Ramit’s approach on increasing income while focusing on intentional spending rather than simply cutting back.

As he says:

“There’s definitely a place for frugality and sensible spending. We wouldn’t recommend splurging on designer clothes while your retirement accounts lie empty. But there’s got to be a middle ground between that and making your budget absolutely miserable. Frugality alone isn’t enough to get you where you want to be. Neither is reckless spending.”

As others mentioned, it should be pretty simple to adapt Ramit’s template (which is more of a checklist) for a Tiller-powered spreadsheet.

The Conscious Spending Plan is a more detailed version of the 50/30/20 budget with additional suggested categories like Net Worth, Investments, Fixed Costs, and Savings Goals.

You can modify your categories and category groups in your Tiller sheet to get most of the way there.

Following the instructions in the “Create a 50/30/20 Budget Calculator in Your Tiller Foundation Template” is a good place to start.

If anyone builds a Tiller-powered Conscious Spending Plan spreadsheet, please share it here in the Community! I would love to try it.

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I’m also a regular listener to Ramit’s podcast. I dabbled a bit with a CSP worksheet for my own use, really just to check my budget numbers against Ramit’s guidelines (ironic, I know). What I did was just group my expense categories into Fixed Costs and Spending (e.g. “Guilt-free spending”). This way they’re summarized that way on the Yearly and Monthly Budget worksheets. I use the Budget Plan template to plan my spending for the year with categories as I see fit. Then I just created a new sheet with a table for each of the CSP categories and pulled the corresponding value from the the Yearly Budget sheet and calculated the percentage for each.

There are admittedly a couple issues in aligning it this way to the CSP format.

  1. My investments are all in my 401k and while they come in as income transactions into Tiller, I categorize them as 401k and hide the category to make it easier to budget for the year. On my CSP sheet I manually enter my expected contribution for the year.
  2. I don’t budget for savings goals in the Budget Plan either. I use a simplified Savings & Debt worksheet that lets me more easily match my savings categories with the buckets I have set up in my Ally savings account.
  3. Because my budget may not be balanced for the year, it can make the total of the percentages to be over or under 100%. For me it’s still close enough to see where I am against the CSP guidelines.

I like the concept of the CSP, but like most of us here who use Tiller, I’m a spreadsheet nerd and I adjust my categories the way I want to get the insight I’m looking for. Remember that the people Ramit targets have a limited knowledge of finances and so using the CSP is an eye opening exercise to make them think about how they spend their money. I get an even more detailed insight from using Tiller while still taking advantage of many of the other suggestions Ramit offers - like I don’t have to log in to all my accounts every day to check on them. Tiller does it for me. I automate my payments. I let Tiller categorize most regular transactions for me.

If my budget plan roughly aligns with the CSP percentages then I feel like I’m in a good position, and if it doesn’t then I can use that Budget Plan sheet to quickly make adjustments to my budget, aka. conscious spending plan and see how it will affect the percentages.


Thank you for sharing your process and insights on the limits of adapting the CSP to a Tiller workflow. This is helpful.

I am a huge Ramit Sethi fan and have grown so much in my financial literacy over the years thanks to him. He is actually how I found Tiller when I was looking for a Mint-replacement that allowed me more control.
I already had a CSP in place (updated yearly or when big stuff changes) before starting Tiler, so I built the groups and categories to mirror the language/flow of the CSP. Basic, but has worked well for me so far!

I use the regular foundation template and then do categories based on a conscious spending plan format. Here’s a simplified version:

  • Income
    • Paychecks
    • Other Sources of Income
  • Savings
    • Retirement
    • Investments (Brokerage, HSA)
    • College Fund
  • Necessary Expenses / Fixed Costs
    • Mortage
    • Property Taxes
    • Utilities
    • Insurance
    • Car Loan and Registration
    • Cell Phones
    • Internet
    • Childcare
    • Charitable Giving and Gifts
  • Discretionary Expenses - I do have some subcategories here just because i was using Autocat before I switched to this format, but in theory this should be “everything else,” which is your Guilt-Free Spending

I made a manual sheet to calculate the percentage of income budgeted and actual spending for Savings, Necessary Expenses / Fixed Costs, and Discretionary Expenses / Guilt-Free Spending

I haven’t done it yet, but it would probably be pretty simple to pull in Monthly budget data into a Conscious Spending Plan format like this:

I’m also a big Ramit fan! One way I will sometimes build out a Tiller spreadsheet is to allow multiple different grouping configurations and then toggle between them (by renaming the one you want to use with the “Group” header). This way you can have CSP groupings sometimes, and another grouping some other times and toggle between them at will depending on how you want to view your data. I also like to build an additional tab that pulls in only the high level numbers which allows you to focus on the larger macro trends rather than getting caught up in the weeds. Both are useful at different times!

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