Envelope System - with funding templates

What is the goal of your workflow? What problem does it solve, or how does it help you?

I have been a long-time user of the envelope system of budgeting so I am more concerned with the ongoing balance of my envelope then where I sit with my monthly budget. I want to fund my envelopes based on the actual cashflow vs. a monthly budget number. I know there was a zero-based budget/envelope template in the older tiller templates, but honestly, it didn’t work for me. Why?? Ok, I will tell you. First, it didn’t support the use of templates. I like to fill my envelopes the same way each time I get paid, but the amounts vary by the paycheck. Using templates I can easily set up different amounts for each paycheck without too much work. Second, it was complicated. It was awesome, yes, but complicated. Being a spreadsheet user, I want to see how the stuff was being done and that template didn’t allow that. Another thing missing for me, was I wanted to see the envelope fundings as part of my transactions. This way I have a history of what I have done and a way to clean it up when I screw it up, and I do ofter. I also felt the roll-over capability was a bit complicated. I guess lastly because you guys changed the template and the envelop template wasn’t available on the new format. So heck, why not create it.

How did you come up with the idea for your workflow?

My idea wasn’t new, it was just inspired by the good parts of the past tools I have tried to use.

Please describe your workflow. What are the sheets? Does it use any custom scripts or formulas?

So one of the goals I had in creating this was to ensure, I didn’t screw too many things up with the other templates. I started with the monthly budget template provided by Tiller to ensure it worked mostly like the original and used the default (well almost) Category and Transaction Sheets. The main page is the Envelope tab, it is where everything is managed. I did add 3 columns to the category sheet to hold the templates for funding. I have highlighted them in a different color. The transaction sheet is completely stock. I do use custom scripts to grab the templates and fill them so you will need to authorize it to work. Besides that, I use array formulas, query formulas and a bunch of holding tables that you can find by unhiding the columns to the right.

Like I mentioned above, I am adding funding events to my transactions sheet. This will screwup for monthly budgets and other sheets unless you filter them out. I did pre-pend every line with “*Fund Envelope - Category Name” so you can easily filter them out.

Anything else you’d like people to know?

I am not a programmer, financial person, or anything fancy like that. I am just someone who wants to manage my finances better and for me using this method works. As I said I am not a programmer, so I want to thank Ben Collins and the Tiller folks for their templates and tutorials as I had no clue about using array formulas and query before I started this. I expect you will find some errors in my logic and programming so please let me know so I can fix it. I also want to thank the Tiller Community for posting their ideas as well.

Is it ok for others to copy, use, and modify your workflow?

Absolutely!!! but only if they make it better and repost it, so I can use it.

If you said yes above, please make a copy of your workflow and share the copy’s URL:

Hi Rich! I use the envelope system too. Check out Monthly Budget And Spending With Income/Expense Groups for a description of how I use the sheets with envelopes and let me know if that works for you too. I’m interested in any suggestions you have on how I can make what is there better.

I like what you have so far, but I am wondering how you roll over month to month? Do you use a credit card at all or any other electronic transfer?

Hi Kenneth, I don’t use a rollover concept at least not an automated one yet. Instead you can see the envelope balances and put in entries right from the envelope tab to move money. For example put in -$35 clothing and $35 savings, then select the action full envelopes. It will create two transactions for these changes and effectively rolls the money across envelope.

So I made a modification to the envelope that allows you to add comments when you fund an envelope. I also made a few other changes to the sheet to polish it up and make it run a bit faster. Enjoy

I HATE the rollover in tiller.
I don’t envelope; I used to-it is awesome!). Currently, I use the Monthly Budget Tracker. Each month I adjust and restart to zero with no rollover. Sometimes it works, sometimes I mess up the entire sheet- most the time I don’t bother because, as you said, it is complicated.

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Yes Jennifer it didn’t work for me either But I like a lot of the things about Tiller and many of the templates… I use Mvelopes today as well and it is good but a little flaky So I have been looking to move away. I tried to make this sheet just an easy but simple way to manage the envelope amounts. I like that Nothing moves my money around except me so no reason to do a rollover.

Your envelope sheet is pretty cool. I too have been looking for a replacement for mvelopes because of reliability issues with connecting. Looks like you have created a viable solution. I’ve downlowded your sheet and have been toying around with it. But i’ve been having trouble with the funding template. I’m not sure your Macro is working as it seems to not fund envelopes from the category sheet. Can you confirm? or perhaps I am missing something. Also, any suggestions for initially funding envelopes upon start up as I am not funding paychecks but entire checking account/savings account balances?

Neal, I am sorry you are having issues. I believe you may have to authorize your account to run the script. Open up the script editor to validate that the script is in fact there. the script is called Envelope. Click on the run button and it should ask (this is from memory) If the script is working just not the templates we can discuss further.
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As far as the initial funding of envelopes or adjustments. Its easy if you are starting at zero, but that is never the case so I had to do the same thing as I was migrating existing envelopes to this new system. The way I did it was to set an initial balance entries in the transaction sheets. really this was just a amount to make my envelopes balance my Mvelopes program

You can either do it manually from the transaction sheet by just filling in an initial value. Make sure you set the date sto something earlier so it wont impact any months budget amounts. I set mine to 1/1/2019 but it could be anything.

You can also do it from the envelope tab assuming you can get the script to work. The only key is to change the funding date field to the same earlier date on column J

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then all you have to do is fill in the values you want to adjut by (positive or negative)

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When you are done go to the action field and selct fill enveloipes

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Youi may want ot put in a manual adjustment for the income so it starts off with a correct balance. YO ucan do thi seither manually or via the envelope tab. Howver you will have to unhide the income field by goign to the categories tab and removing the hide entry form the income category

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I hope this works for you. if so why not give me a vote.

reach out if you need more help.

Rich

Let me know if that makes sense.

I have heard from many folks asking for access to the spreadsheet. I have been telling folks to go File - Make a Copy. Not sure if that is the best way to share it, but it seems to work.

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I’m somewhat new to Tiller as of this year but have used Mvelopes for many years until this year when I had enough of the problems that go with it. I do love how Tiller/spreadsheets are so much more customizable. Thank you for this envelope system - with funding templates spreadsheet. In order to use it can I add it to my current Tiller template I’m using or do I have to use it as a separate template? I’m not sure I understand adding sheets to a current template and still having everything work properly. Thanks.

Yes you can use this envelope template along side your others one. You will need to add a few columns to your categories. If you look at the one in the template you will see a few fields in blue that you need to add.

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I appreciate the tips. Seems to be working now. Also thanks for pointing me in the right direction regarding getting started. I would not have figured that out on my own.

You bet. Just for clarification did you have to authorize the script to get it to work?

Yes. I did. On another note…thinking about the Mvelopes functionality. How do you handle sweeps or envelope transfers? I did it with positive and negative envelope funding. Is that how you manage it?

That’s exactly how I do it today. I was going to make a sweep action as well that would zero out the envelope amount and move it to the available to fund envelope. The thought would be to just a drop down action just like the fill envelopes or clear ones.

That would be cool. I’ve been messing around trying to create something. I’ll let you know if I come up with something.

Richl I noticed someone’s financial details are in the spreadsheet when I made a copy after downloading… I recommend unlinking that info.

Thanks Christina, it should all be bogus data as I did run the tiller sheet clean-up tool and confirmed that all accounts and data was fake. I also just checked my account and this sheet isn’t linked to my tiller account. Thanks for the head up though