Docs: Savings Budget sheet

Overview

The Savings Budget template is a simple envelope/rollover savings concept.

It is designed to deliver the following benefits:

  • Compatibility with Tiller’s Foundation template
  • In-category “rollover”/“envelope” savings workflows
  • Responsive performance
  • Simple to use and get started
  • Activation of savings workflows on a per-category basis
  • In-dashboard workflows to modify budgets and savings values
  • Budget & savings change-history logging
  • Compatibility with the Savings & Debt template to manage longer-term goals

Comparison to the Envelope Budget (via the Envelope Budget Add-on)

Tiller previously offered an Envelope Budgeting template.

Improvements you’ll find from the Savings Budget:

  • Significantly improved performance
  • Most work performed by transparent, in-cell calculations (rather than add-on scripts)
  • Improved compatibility with the Foundation template and Tiller Money’s tools and workflows
  • Optionally enable rollovers for none/some/all categories
  • Budget & savings change history logging in the Budget Journal sheet

Simplifications from the Envelope Budget (i.e. deprecated functionality):

  • Only monthly periods allowed - no weekly/biweekly budgets
  • Budget periods must start on the first of the month
  • Only one savings budget allowed per spreadsheet
  • No period-to-period “Rollover-To” assignments
  • Budget and rollover changes in the Adjust column are no longer implemented immediately

Installation

  1. Open your Tiller Foundation template - ideally configured to run with the Foundation template’s Monthly Budget
  2. Install or launch the Tiller Community Solutions add-on
  3. Open the add-on and choose "Budget” from the tags dropdown on the Explore tab
  4. Click on “Savings Budget”
  5. Choose “Add to Spreadsheet”

Tracking changes to savings rollovers requires an additional log sheet called Budget Journal. The add-to-spreadsheet process will also insert a sheet called Budget Journal into your spreadsheet.

Further, the installation will add a “Track” column to your Categories sheet where you can enable “Savings” functionality on a category-by-category basis.

How It Works

Webinar replay

The Savings Budget is a budget dashboard which dynamically connects a few data sources.

Budget Data

  • Categories are created and organized in the Categories sheet (as with the Monthly Budget)
  • Budget periods are configured in the Categories sheet (as with the Monthly Budget)
  • Monthly budgets are configured in the Categories sheet (the Monthly Budget uses the same values)
  • Changes to budgets and savings via the Savings Budget sidebar workflow are logged in the Budget Journal sheet

Actuals Data

  • Transactions are aggregated from the Transactions sheet by category (as with the Monthly Budget)

Savings Data

  • Savings via the Savings Budget sidebar workflow are recorded to and aggregated from the Budget Journal sheet

Savings Budget Sidebar Workflow

The new Savings Budget sidebar workflow in the Tools menu of the Tiller Community Solutions add-on reads adjustments to budgets and savings in the Savings Budget dashboard (in the Adjust ± column) and writes the changes to budgets in the Categories sheet and savings in the Budget Journal sheet.

To make adjustments to your budget or savings values:

  1. Set adjustment type in the dropdown above the ADJUST ± header
  2. Enter net adjustments in the green cells in the ADJUST ± column
  3. Update Budget to write changes

The Savings Budget workflow will only show in the sidebar once the Savings Budget and Budget Journal sheets are installed in your spreadsheet.

Further, the Update Budget workflow can be access directly from the add-on menu (i.e. without opening the sidebar) when the Savings Budget sheet is installed.

How to Use It

Set Up Your Budget

  1. Add categories and budget values to your Categories sheet as you would for the Tiller Foundation Template
  2. Select “Savings” in the Track column to enable or disable tracking of “rollover” savings in specific budget categories

Reviewing Your Budget

  1. Go to the Savings Budget sheet
  2. Choose the period you wish to view in the period dropdown (only budget periods configured in your Categories sheet will be shown)
  3. Review savings “rollovers” accumulated from past periods in column B
  4. Review budgets for the selected period in column D
  5. Review actuals for the selected period in column F
  6. Review available funds (budget net actuals and savings) for the current period in column G

Modifying a Category Budget

  1. Set adjustment type in the dropdown above the ADJUST ± header to BUDGET
  2. Enter net changes (e.g. +200 or -200) to budget values in the green cells in the ADJUST ± column
  3. When you are ready to write all pending changes to your Categories sheet, open the Savings Budget workflow in the Tiller Community Solutions add-on’s Tools menu
  4. Click Update Budget

Modifying a Category Savings

  1. Set adjustment type in the dropdown above the ADJUST ± header to SAVINGS
  2. Enter net changes (e.g. +200 or -200) to budget values in the green cells in the ADJUST ± column
  3. When you are ready to write all pending changes to your Categories sheet, open the Savings Budget workflow in the Tiller Community Solutions add-on’s Tools menu
  4. Click Update Budget

Hiding Unused Categories

Deleting old categories can be a) cathartic in the same way that scrubbing the bathroom tiles is, but also b) disruptive to carefully balanced budgets. Within the Savings Budget, Categories will be shown in a period when any of the following conditions are met:

  • Category budget for the selected period (in the Categories sheet) is not blank (a zero value is not blank)
  • There are category actuals within the period
  • The categories savings is not zero

In practice, you should be able to hide unused categories by deleting values in current and future budget periods (in the Categories sheet) and transferring any residual savings to another category.

Note also that newly-added categories will not appear unless they have budget values— even $0— assigned.

Debt & Loans Tracking

By configuring categories to “Track” “Debt” in the Categories sheet, the Savings Budget provides special debt- and loan-management workflows:

  • Ignores savings rollovers for debt categories (as account balances reflect outstanding balance)
  • Simplifies debt payment (transfer) workflows
  • Links to debt-tracking features in companion Savings & Debt template

Adding & Budgeting for a New Debt

To setup a new loan or debt for repayment:

  1. Link the debt or loan account to your spreadsheet using Tiller Money Feeds
  2. Add a new row to the Categories sheet
  3. Use the exact Account name from your Accounts or Balances sheet as the Category name
  4. Set the category Type as “Expense”
  5. Set the Track column to “Debt”
  6. Add a debt-paydown budget amount for each period in your Categories sheet
  7. (Optional) Create a category Group name for your debt accounts like “Debt”

Making a Debt Payment

Ensure that both your payment account (e.g. checking) and your debt/loan account are linked to your spreadsheet using Tiller Money Feeds.

When both the outbound (i.e. from checking) and inbound (i.e. to your debt account) payments appear in your Transactions sheet, categorize both transactions with the debt-paydown category name. (There is no need to use a transfer category in this case with the Savings Budget template.)

The Savings Budget will use the outbound transaction amount (i.e. the side where the debt-paydown category name does not match the transaction’s Account name) as the period actuals for the debt-paydown category and will ignore the symmetric inbound (i.e. payment received) transaction.

Migrating from the Envelope Budget

If you were using the Envelope/Tiller Budget (via Tiller/Envelope Budget Add-on) you can use the below steps to migrate your Categories and Budgets History sheets’ content to the data structure used in the Foundation Template with the Savings Budget.

:warning: Only monthly budgets can be migrated because weekly and biweekly budgets are not compatible with the Savings Budget solution. See the FAQ below.

Set up your new spreadsheet

  1. Log in to the Tiller Console at https://sheets.tillerhq.com/auth/login
  2. Click “Create a spreadsheet”
  3. Choose "Start with Google Sheets"
  4. Launch Tiller Money Feeds > open the Extensions menu at the top of the Google Sheet and choose Tiller Money Feeds (near the bottom of the Extensions menu) > “Launch” or if you don’t have Tiller Money Feeds installed choose Add-ons (near the top of the Extensions menu) > Get Add-ons > search for Tiller Money Feeds and install then launch.
  5. Link the spreadsheet and link the accounts that were linked to your previous spreadsheet. The Tiller Money Feeds sidebar will guide you through linking the sheet and accounts.
  6. Click the “Fill” button in the sidebar to fill the sheet with transaction and balance data. This will bring in all the transactions in Tiller’s database for these accounts into this spreadsheet. We will clear them out in a future step or use the Migration Helper add-on for Google Sheets to merge them with your previous sheet’s categories and other customizations.
  7. Migrate data from your Envelope Budget sheet to your new spreadsheet. Use these manual steps to copy over your Transactions, manual balances, and AutoCat rules OR use the Tiller Migration Helper for Google Sheets to migrate over your data automatically. If you use the Migration Helper we recommend unchecking the Categories option in the Migration Helper sidebar because you will be manually migrating the categories sheet in a future step.
  8. Install the Savings Budget into the new spreadsheet using the Tiller Community Solutions add-on.

Migrating your Categories and Budgets History Sheets

Use the Envelope Migrator (Prototype) helper sheet (linked below) to properly format your Categories sheet and Budgets History sheet for use with the Foundation Template with Savings Budget installed.

  1. Click this link and choose “Make a copy” to make a copy of the Envelope Migrator (Prototype) helper sheet
  2. Follow the instructions on the Instructions tab in your copy of the Envelope Migrator (Prototype)
  3. Copy and paste the contents of the Categories Migrator sheet (including the header row) from the Envelope Migrator (Prototype) helper spreadsheet over the Categories sheet in the new spreadsheet. Right click and make sure to “paste as values”. You may need to add more columns out to the right in the Categories sheet in your new spreadsheet for additional months.
    3.a You can enter =eomonth(E1,0)+1 into row 1 in the first blank column you added and change E1 in that formula to represent the last column letter that you pasted data into in row 1.
    3.b Drag this formula out to the right using the Fill Handle in Google Sheets. This will enumerate months going forward. The Foundation Template allows you to budget for multiple years in a single spreadsheet so just add columns and drag that formula across.
  4. Copy the contents of the Budget Journal Migrator sheet from the Envelope Migrator (Prototype) helper sheet over the Budget Journal sheet in the new spreadsheet (including row 1). Right click and make sure to “paste as values”.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I use Savings Budget and the Monthly Budget in the same spreadsheet?

Yes… but note that budget changes will be written to your Categories sheet. If you are testing the Savings Budget in parallel with an active Monthly Budget sheet, the source values for both budgets will be modified when the Savings Budget is updated via the sidebar workflow.

Can I restart a Savings Budget for a new year?

If you want your rollovers to reset from zero for the new year, you can change the date in cell O2 in the hidden area of the Savings Budget sheet to 1/1/2022 . You shouldn’t need to delete entries from the Budget Journal sheet.

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What if I need to budget on a weekly or bi-weekly basis?

There are some recommendations in the Tiller Help center on options for budgeting weekly or bi-weekly. Out of the box, neither the Foundation Template nor the Savings Budget offer weekly or bi-weekly budgeting. Learn more here.

Where can I get help with migrating from the Envelope Budget?

If you have questions or are feeling stuck transitioning into the Foundation Template, and your question is not about the community-built Savings Budget, use the chat tool in the lower right corner of the Tiller Console at https://sheets.tillerhq.com/auth/login

If you have questions or need help transitioning to or using the Savings Budget please search first in the Tiller Community, and if you don’t find the answer, post a new topic.

Will Tiller ever officially support the Savings Budget?

Tiller is currently working on concepts for how to better support savings workflows. If you have feedback, please complete our quick survey.

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