Discussion and Docs for the Foundation Template

What is the Tiller Foundation template?

It’s the simplest budgeting and financial insights spreadsheet on the interwebs. We built the Foundation template to be the easy go-to budgeting spreadsheet option no matter your skill level with Google Sheets.

Immediately get a quick insightful analysis of your financial standing and recent spending. Quickly fine tune your categories and budget based on your unique situation. Easily build a budget and cash flow analysis for an entire year in minutes.

Feeding bank data to the Foundation Template

  1. Click here to open the Tiller Foundation template for Google Sheets
  2. Click “Use template” in the upper right. This will create a copy of the sheet in your Google Drive.
  3. Give this sheet a unique name. Edit the name in the upper left of the Google Sheet.
  4. Click “Add to Sheets” in the sidebar on the right hand side. If this doesn’t automatically appear for you, open the Add-ons menu at the top of the Google Sheet and choose Tiller Bank Feeds > Install.
  5. Authorize the add-on to run using the gmail you use for Tiller.
  6. Click “Use” in the sidebar to launch the Tiller Feeds add-on.
  7. Sign in to the Tiller Feeds add-on using your Tiller subscribed gmail account.
  8. Click “Link sheet” to link the sheet to your Tiller Console.
  9. Choose which accounts should feed this sheet by placing a check mark next to them and then choose to Confirm the account links.
  10. The Feeds add-on should start updating your sheet with the latest transactions and current balances for any accounts you linked to this sheet.

Quick Start Guide

1. Explore the Insights sheet.

You’ll get out of the box insights after your first data feed. See your Net Worth and get useful analysis to help you better understand your money and your spending.

2. Refine your Categories.

Overwrite or delete the example categories. Add new categories to the bottom of the list. All categories must have a group and type assigned. How do you spend and earn money? We recommend starting with a simple category and group structure.

3. Assign your budget amounts.

Enter your budget amounts into the January column to have the same budget amount per category cascade to each month for the rest of the year. Directly edit the budget for a month for a category as needed. (e.g. if your electricity bill is higher in July than it is in January, edit the budget amount for electricity for July directly to overwrite the automatically filled budget amount. Note: future months after July will adopt July’s new budget amount.)

4. Categorize Transactions.

Categorize as many or as few transactions as you’d like to fuel the Monthly Budget & Yearly Budget sheets. The more you categorize, the more insights you’ll gain. Use AutoCat to help you automate your Category workflows.

5. Quickly gain insights.

Review the Monthly Budget and Yearly Budgets sheets gain insights about your yearly budget and cash flow.

6. Fine tune your budget.

Pay attention to the budgeted cash flow for each month on the Yearly Budget sheet. You can also review a single month at a time using the Monthly Budget sheet.

If you have a negative planned cash flow number you either need to increase your expected income, decrease your expected expenses, or know that a surplus of income will come in a later month. Make adjustments to budget amounts on the Categories sheet.

Note: Editing certain areas of the budget dashboards can break important formulas. These are visualization sheets. Use the date selector controls to adjust the view.

Insights

The Insights sheet will light up as soon as you start the data feed to your Foundation template using the Tiller Bank Feeds add-on. It’s intended to give you insights into your current financial standing and recent spending

Quick Insights

You’ll see a few key insights from the last 90 days of your transaction data in the top left of the Insights dashboard. You also see some stats about how much data Tiller has pulled for you so far.

You’ll also see the current balances of your three most active accounts based on transaction activity in the last 90 days.

Net Worth

The Insights dashboard also aims to provide a quick net worth calculation (assets - liabilities) based on accounts you’ve linked for automated feeds to this spreadsheet. If something looks amiss here, check the Balances sheet to make sure your account classes (asset or liability) are assigned correctly. If not, you can correct that using these steps.

If you want to manually track accounts review these steps.

Transaction Analyzer

The Transaction Analyzer will give you a few basic reports as soon as your data starts feeding into the sheet. You can adjust the analyzer’s settings to customize the reporting data for a different time period or just a specific account.

Top 10 inflows shows you the top 10 inflowing transactions, usually this is income, but it can also include transfers depending on what accounts you have linked and/or visible in the reports.

Top 10 Outflows shows you the top 10 outflowing transactions, which is usually spending, but it can also include transfers.

Note: If you don’t want transfers included in these reports you should make sure all your transactions are categorized and that Transfer category types are marked as “Hide” on the Categories sheet.

Top 10 Accounts by Activity shows you which of your accounts have the most transactions order from most to least active accounts.

Top 10 Descriptions by Frequency shows you where you’re spending money most, the total count of transactions across the selected date range and how much.

Set up your categories and start categorizing your transactions to fuel even more of the Insights sheet.

After categorizing transactions, grouped rows 19 - 31 will come to life.

Using the Transactions Sheet

The Transactions sheet is a core Tiller sheet that is fed by the Tiller Bank Feeds add-on. You can insert additional columns to further customize your sheet, but it requires that the headers in row 1 remain intact for the feed to work and that the tab is named “Transactions.”

You can edit any of the data in the Transactions sheet except the headers in row 1.

Transactions are added by the Bank Feeds add-on automatically when you have the Auto Update turned on and will be sorted to the top of your sheet.

You can also manually add transactions by inserting rows into the Transactions sheet.

Customizing Categories

Open the Categories sheet to start customizing your Categories. Think about how you spend and earn money. Try to keep it simple. We provide a few example categories to help you think about it.

Overwrite or delete the example categories and add new ones. The template supports up to 200 categories. All categories should have a Group and a Type assigned.

Hide a category from other reports by marking it as “Hide” in the “Hide from Reports” column on the Categories sheet.

Budgeting

How to set up your budget

Open the Categories sheet and enter the budget amounts for each category in column E. Each subsequent month will automatically be populated with the budgeted amount in column E for that category.

Once you’ve set the budget amounts on the Categories sheet you can start categorizing transactions and reviewing the Monthly and Yearly Budget tabs. Based on those budget view sheets you can fine tune your budget amounts for each category on the Categories sheet.

You can change a category’s budget amount for a specific month by directly editing the value for that month. Be aware that months after that change will also adopt the new budget value.

Adjusting the start month of the budget

You can change the year’s budgeting start month by editing the date in cell E1 to be the first day of the month in which you want the budget year to start. For example, if you want your budget year to start in September 2019 you would enter 9/1/2019 into cell E1.

The rest of the year (12 months) following Sept 2019 will automatically populate. This is nice if you just want to start budgeting this month going forward.

Review your Monthly Budget

The Monthly Budget sheet gives you a breakdown of planned vs actual spending and income as well as a planned vs actual cash flow analysis.

Visualize your budget by type, group, and category. You can quickly see what’s remaining for a category or if you’ve gone over.

Each group’s line also indicates the % of your expense budget that’s allocated to that group.

Customize the view of the data on this sheet by using the controls in the upper right. You can view the data for the previous year and month here. If there are no budget periods configured for the time frame on the Categories sheet you will still see your actuals for that period.

Review your Yearly Budget

You can use the Yearly Budget view to see your entire year’s budget. Get a cash flow analysis for the entire month and the year based on the budget you’ve set on the Categories sheet and your actual spending.

You can view a different 12 month period of budgets and data using the controls in the upper right. Keep in mind this is a visualization of your data based on the start month and number of budget months that are configured on the Categories sheet.

Reviewing Balances

Use the Balances sheet to review your account balances and when they were last updated. The Balances sheet gives a net worth total and organizes accounts by asset and liability as well as group if you have those configured on the Accounts sheet.

Using the Accounts sheet

The Accounts sheet is a hidden sheet in the Tiller Foundation template. You can use it to customize or correct details about your accounts.

The dropdown list in column A is populated from the Balance History sheet (another hidden sheet in the template).

Choose an account and then customize.

You can override the class (asset or liability) if it’s being assigned incorrectly.

You can assign the account to a group, which will change the way it’s organized on the Balances sheet.

You can hide the account from other reports by using the “hide” flag on the Accounts sheet.

Balance History

The Balance History sheet is a core Tiller sheet that is fed by the Tiller Bank Feeds add-on. You can insert additional columns to further customize your sheet, but it requires that the headers in row 1 remain intact for the feed to work and that the tab is named “Balance History.”

You can edit any of the data in the Balance History sheet except the headers in row 1.

Your latest balance entries are added by the Bank Feeds add-on automatically when you have the Auto Update turned on and will be sorted to the top of your sheet.

How to manually add balances

If you’d like to manually track an account, or the automated feed from your institution isn’t supported by Tiller, you can add manual entries to the Balance History sheet.

  1. Open the Balance History sheet (it might be hidden, click the four horizontal lines in the lower left corner of your sheet).
  2. Unhide the Account ID column (if it’s hidden)
  3. Insert a row above row 2
  4. Enter the information for your manual account including a unique Account ID.
  5. This can be as simple as 1 as long as it’s unique from other entries and you will remember to reuse the same unique ID for this account for each new entry.
  6. Repeat these steps each time you want to add a new balance update for this manual account.

Now these manual accounts will be available in the Accounts sheet dropdown list in Column A.

Note: We hope to have a less manual workflow available in the Tiller Bank Feeds add-on later in 2019.

2 Likes

Quick Insights
The only piece of information that is valuable to me on this page is the sparklines for the top 3 accounts…
but I would rather see ranked sparklines for all of my banking accounts and separately for my credit card accounts on the Balances Tab.

Balances
please eliminate the (xxx1234) just the account name from my description
Assets -Green
Liabilities -Red
Net Worth -Dark green
need to add manual assets -ie. Zillow my home value

My Account sheet has no data populated. The accounts show up in the Net Worth and other sheets, but not there.

Any update on ETA of less manual workflow for adding balances via Tiller Bank Feeds add-on mentioned above?

@brewer.05 The v2 Accounts sheet is an override, customization sheet only. Unless you want to group your accounts, or need to correct the class (asset/liability) you can review balances on the Balances sheet.

@keenan.burkepitts, we don’t have an ETA on when that will be available so the manual workflow lives here:

You can vote for this feature request here:

If I’m looking at my Monthly Budget and want to change a budget amount, do I have to then click over to the Categories tab to do so? That seems counter-intuitive when managing your regular budget. In the older template you could type it in on that page and it would automatically adjust. Thanks! -GC

:wave:, @ginachcarter!

Yes, you do have to nav over to the Categories sheet to enter your budget amounts. While the adjust cell was nice for that workflow, it also heavily relied on the use of scripts making the Google Sheet very slow over time.

You can still use that Budget if you prefer that workflow.

I’d like to switch to the Foundation Template, but I’m not sure if there’s a way to handle my current workflow. I currently have two sheets - Tiller Budget and Net Worth Tracker. Since the budget sheet is for budgeting only, I only have accounts from credit cards, checking, and savings linked to the Tiller Budget sheet. I have all accounts including investment accounts linked to the Net Worth Tracker sheet to maintain the account balances history.

This setup allows me to track the balances of accounts in the Net Worth sheet without cluttering my transactions tab in the Tiller Budget sheet with stock and options trades.

Is there any way to deal with this in the Foundation template since now net worth is combined? I realize I can use AutoCat to get it all categorized, but that isn’t the issue - I really just don’t want to see the transactions at all or have the excess data in the sheet.

This is also an issue on the Daily Transaction Emails. I don’t care to see the investment activity, but I don’t see a way around that, and I just learned to ignore those lines.

It may make sense to just keep doing what I’m already doing, but I would like to switch at some point to the new platform because there are some additional features.

Hi @rdy373,

There isn’t a way to filter out transactions from specific accounts (though that’s a great feature request idea. Your sheets will continue to work as they always have, so there really is no need to transition right now. You also don’t need to combine the Net Worth Tracker into the Foundation template if you wanted to keep those separate. You could start in a blank sheet and feed the data for investments into it and then install the Net Worth Tracker using Labs and then just have a separate Foundation template sheet.

Let me know if you have more questions on that.

Hello, working in the Tiller Foundation Template and appears the ‘Monthly Budget’ tab has an issue/bug in how its identifying expenses & income by groupings. This occurs in my sheet when I have a ‘Group’ that has both income and expenses, for example I had the following rental property ‘7519 127th Pl NE’ and the income and expense subtotals are incorrect. Perhaps I’ve done something wrong, and I suppose I could have 2 separate groups for the property, 1 for income, 1 for expense, but that seems suboptimal. Raising my hand on this in case no one else has and please advise I’m the error. Thanks~
Monthly%20Budget%20snip

:wave:, @jtbarron. Thanks for your post here. @randy are you aware of how the Monthly Budget sheet would handle income/expenses that are under the same group? I’m not familiar with how the formulas are handling this.

@heather Hi! I am also seeing this issue, I think. I group property expenses/income similarly to @jtbarron. I’m ALSO seeing strange behavior where it seems like it is adding positive income budget to negative expense budget for a much higher net budget for the group. I’ll attach a screenshot:

(Note, only look at the 4081 Line items. There are hidden rows containing additional budgets)

Are you aware if there’s an update on this? Thnx

I’m sorry that the Monthly Budget sheet is not currently smart enough to handle this scenario.
At this time, the group names should be distinct.

Feel free to submit this change in as a feature request. :wink:
Randy

@richorrichard you might also want to check out the new community rental property spreadsheet tracker. :wink:

@randy I would have pegged it as identifying a calculation/accuracy bug, but who I am to decide. If this is considered a feature i.e., not to be resolved until it gets voted onto an upcoming sprint, what could be helpful is to include verbage in the Tiller Foundation Quick Start Guide stating Groups need be named uniquely for accurate calculation of expenses/income. Thank you both for responding to this issue.

1 Like

I hear you, @jtbarron.
If you peek under the hood in the dashboard and the hidden area of the sheet, you will see that the formulas to organize and render categories dynamically in their groupings are quite complex. (Some complex things are very easy to do in a spreadsheet, and some simple things are very complex.) The data lookups to pull in the values are currently built around matching values to a group name (they are not multifactorial). When we built those formulas, we did not anticipate that users would use the same group name for both types of categories… perhaps we should have.

As a workaround, you can probably get away with adding just a space or an underscore to the group names for one category type.

Sorry for the inconvenience.
Randy

@randy Very true, I’ve enjoyed/hated - depending on my mood and the weather that day :slight_smile: - hacking into Tillers formulas to play around, tweak things and learn new tricks. Tiller definitely has some crazy puzzles of formulas going on. I’ve taken your advice to simply rename w/ a space in front. Thanks for the easy, workable solution suggestoin.

Cool. Glad you got it sorted.

I hear you though… sometimes those little equation puzzle are great fodder for learning and other times they’re just too much to bother with.

Take care,
Randy