For those that do not 'budget', how do you use Tiller?

I don’t personally operate on a tight budget but I do like to know where my money is going and tighten up if needed. For the most part, I know my annual spend limit and ensure I don’t spend more month over month than I should be. Tiller has some great reports, many of which are not pertinent to me (the non-budgeter). For those who might be similar, what reports do you use? How do you maximize your use of the tool?

To be honest, I’m not sure the cost/benefit is there if you aren’t budgeting as that is the core function that drives the rest of the tool. I could easily be persuaded against that thought as/if more features are released.

The Retirement Planner solution is pretty cool because it gives flexibility to play around with scenarios. I haven’t seen too many other products that give you the opportunity to adjust it at the granular level this tool can aside from possibly Personal Capital. The Tiller version is easier to play around with on the fly though because you can see all the assumptions at a glance.

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I don’t budget either but I use the Category reports, the Statements sheet to balance bank and credit card statements. The Balances sheet for a quick look at account balances and the Transaction sheet if I need to search for past transactions and the Bill Payment Tracker.
I find Tiller has a lot to offer even if you don’t budget.

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I used the budget feature initially but soon found that I just didn’t really need it.

The biggest thing Tiller offers me is aggregation. I have accounts over six different institutions and just having them all in one place is great. So Balances is my go to sheet. Also, of course, Transactions. I have a modified Net Worth that I check often.

Then I vacillate between reporting views. I need to rethink my categories, I think and/or how I look at the data. I’ve never found the perfect sheet but I have found a pile of pretty-darned-near-perfect ones.

Tiller is supremely useful to me without the whole budget piece.


Exactly this. Between my wife and I we have something like 12 credit cards, 4 checking accounts and 3 savings accounts spread across several institutions. Getting all that data aggregated and reported to me daily so I can keep an eye out for anything hinky as well as getting an overall feel for what we are spending each month is fantastic. We make enough, and live well enough within our means that we don’t need to micromanage every nickel.

I love 1) getting daily transaction updates across all my accounts (I need to consolidate accounts…). 2) the daily updates eliminate trying to reconstruct what a charge was when I get the statement at the end of the month. If I recognized it a day after I charged it, then it’s legit. 2) I separate my accounts from the joint accounts I have with my spouse (late-in-life second marriage). 3) Tiller makes tax time SO much easier!

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Also not a traditional budgeter. I still like to look back and see where I’ve been spending money to see if we have been eating out too much, etc. I think anyone who is budgeting should do a few months of actual expenses tracking, personally! Having my expenses all in one place made my decision to go down to 80 percent time at work much easier.

I agree that aggregation is a huge win for Tiller. I’ve caught several unauthorized charges quickly this way, both fraud and cancellation fees that were erroneously charged. It also makes it easy to look back to find a past purchase.

Tiller made it really easy to meet with a financial planner because I had all of my net worth info in one, clean spreadsheet! I find it helpful for financial planning, but it requires some tweaking of the reports.

This is super common with a lot of clients I work with - they don’t need a budget but like to still monitor everything and have regular overviews, etc. A couple ideas -

  1. Create a pivot table summarizing a. groups broken down by b. category and even c. tags if you use these a lot (rows) & broken down by month (columns) - value is $ totals. This will give a summary of actuals (very similar to the yearly budget tab, just without the budgets). You can then add your own calculations to the side of this table to give you some sort of comparison, like maybe you want to at least monitor the average of group level spending compared to last year’s average.

  2. The Budget Builder actually shows this same thing I referenced in #1 pretty nicely. (The very first table in the report, farthest to the left…the rest of the tables could be hidden). You can change your starting budget month to change which months are showing in this table. So you could keep the report constant for the year and put starting budget month Jan 1, 2023 to view only 2022 months and have it not change. Or you could change the starting month as each month goes along to keep a running average and always see the most recent past 12 months (which helps make better use of the built-in average calc and trendline).

  3. You could also use the Yearly Budget Tab and just hide the ‘budget’ and ‘available’ columns for each month so that all you see is the month and actuals.

  4. You could rethink what ‘budget’ means to you and make use of all the budget reports - really the budget input could just be your expected average spending - that way if something is really off, it’s easy to see its “over-budget” or in your case, very different from what you expected, and you could investigate.

Just some ideas!

I started with Tiller because it aggregates my transactions into a Google spreadsheet which I use as a database. I then write Python code to pull the data out of the spreadsheet(s) and perform reporting and projections. I also use the Google spreadsheets to share with my financial advisor and understand how much money to keep in emergency funds based on historic spending.

I’m not sure if my situation is unique but I’m coming at this “backwards”. I’ve used aggregation tools for years via MS Money (so long ago!), Quicken, and other online tools I’ve test run. That feature is nothing new for me although I will say that Tiller’s speed to update accounts is faster than anything else I’ve used so that’s great. Be curious what the backend tool is being used? Is it Plaid?

For most of our marriage, our budget process was (1) set savings goals (2) spend remaining money however we wanted to as long as we hit (1). That was under a dual income scenario which is no longer the case.

We are now on one income so we had to get more disciplined and I’ve always been frustrated with Quicken’s feature on that. Found Tiller and I really like the Budgeting tool. It’s easy to update and I have also discovered the “Savings Budget” envelope solution which has solved a use case I’ve had for years that I was never able to figure out how to work in Quicken.

Thus, I’m actually budgeting for the first time in 20 years and I find this tool extremely well done for that task.

GREAT ideas! Thank you.

We use Tiller to understand our spending and adjust accordingly. We do not set budgets in categories but do watch overall spending. We also track large one time expense events like major home remodels.

The past few years took us through a significant financial hit due to a disability, a recovery, and two early retirements. Understanding our spending was key to navigating all the changes and ensuring we could sustain spending levels for 40 plus years of retirement.

We also use Tiller to understand financials for an elderly relative and understand caregiving costs and decide when to shift to a care facility from 24/7 home care.

I’m only a couple of weeks in, but like you, I don’t have a strict budget at all. I auto-transfer amounts weekly into several different Ally savings accounts to make sure all of my bills are covered and savings goals are met, and then try to allow myself to spend the rest if I want to or need to.

What I use Tiller for is to take all the information from Tiller sheets (either from the foundation file or from others that I’ve seen in the Community Solutions) and use that to build a custom Dashboard with all the information, charts, graphs, tables etc. that are of interest to me. That way, I basically just have one page that I need to look at on a regular basis that gives me everything I want. This customization factor is the biggest advantage that I’m seeing to this service.

Care to share a screenshot or template file of your one-page dashboard? Brainstorming what I could incorporate.

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Here is what I use now. Sorry if it’s a lot. haha. The list on the left are things that help me track how much I have left to spend myself after all my bills, savings transfers, etc. I check them off as they clear the transaction list and my Safe2Spend totals get updated based on that. Many of the other “modules” on that page are coming from available Tiller Sheets. Feel free to ask if you have any questions. LM

This is awesome. I wish Tiller offered a more comprehensive dash like this vs. the many tabbed reports they offer now.

Well, most of what is there is just copied from other Tiller sheets, and then formatted on the dashboard to make it all look uniform. So pretty much everything is available. It’s just a matter of taking time to lay it all out the way you want. That dashboard took me a weekend to do, dabbling off and on. So yeah, some effort is required, but the benefit is I get exactly what I want and I’m not limited by what some app or web site says should be there or how it should be arranged.

Is that Google Data Studio or another Google sheets? Also, you might be interested in sharing the solution in Show and Tell with scrubbed data if you’re willing to share, since this looks amazing and shows lots of relevant info.

This is Google Sheets. I don’t know what Data Studio is…I’ll have to explore that. I would be open to trying to provide some kind of file with scrubbed data. Where can I get a file like that? I don’t know what the timeline would be. My own file has a few pretty messy extra sheets that I threw together to do this, so I’d want to take some time and effort to make it easier to use.

Data Studio is really nice, judging by the picture you’ll enjoy it. For scrubbing, make a copy of your sheet and then either delete your transactions or Tiller has a tool to scrub and make data. Then, you just share the sheet.