How do I get my budget ready for the New Year?


Curious where all your money went last year? Want to understand how you can make financial shifts to work toward your goals in the year ahead? Just need to understand how to get your Tiller-powered spreadsheet ready for 2022? This webinar is for you!

What we covered:

  • How to understand your spending trends from the last year
  • How to use Tiller to shift your financial habits and feel more confident about your financial future
  • How to get your Foundation Template for Google Sheets ready for 2022 budgeting



New Year

How do I get my budget ready for the new year?

Multi-Year Budgeting in the Foundation Template

Manually Add Bank Data to your Tiller Sheet

Foundation Template Refresher

Foundation Quick Start Guide

Community-built solutions:

Category Tracker

Yearly Insights

Debt Planner

Net Worth Tracker


New Year Specific

Could the Google Sheet be cloned so that the clone’s ‘Yearly Budget’ runs January 2021 for past-year analysis, and the current ‘master’ be used to run January 2022 for budget planning year ahead? Or is there a more efficient way to jump back-and-forth between past year and upcoming year?

You can certainly make a copy of your Google Sheet as a historical record and then just update the budget year in cell E1 to start on 1/1/2022. It’s really up to you.

Do you get credit for underspending a monthly budget in the yearly rollup?

I’m not 100% I understand this question. Feel free to reply to this topic with clarification.

Why is your budgeted cash flow above Zero? Should you not adjust to balance that?

In the example budget, the budget doesn’t balance to $0 - it’s not using a zero sum budget method.

When I reconcile each month, if I go over my expected budget, I feel like I need to move money around to cover the amount. If I do that, I won’t see the difference, right? How would I do it different to capture the data and still reconcile?

Right, you won’t see the difference of where you overspent and had to move money from a different category. If you prefer to keep track of this type of thing, I’d recommend checking out the Savings Budget community solution for this.

I’m confused about the “Cashflow” field on the Yearly data sheet. That is the amount spent? Or the amount leftover?

It’s the amount left over.

Should we include large one-time expenses in our budget analysis, such as large home improvements, or ignore them since they will not appear on a regular, yearly basis? Is there any advantage to including those types of expenses in our yearly analysis?

This is up to you, but personally I like to budget for those types of things.

Did you set up Conditional Formatting on your Yearly Budget? I don’t see any red highlights on my sheet.
Yes, I did create a custom conditional formatting rule. It’s at the bottom of the list and looks like this

Here’s the range:


What are good practices for locking old data so that it cannot get corrupted moving forward?

I don’t really see the need to prevent data corruption in Google Sheets because of the version history features. It doesn’t really “get corrupted” in my experience. If you have a specific example in mind, let me know and I can provide more information.

When I started using Tiller I did not really have a good idea about what spending categories I wanted to use to understand my spending. Now that I have a better idea of how I want to track … it is really different that what I have today … should I completely start from scratch for next year … or try and fix categories in the past?

I’d start fresh for next year vs doing the work to fix all your old categorized data. You can either create a new sheet on the Console at or just make a copy of your existing Google Sheet for 2021 and then clear out all the old data and re-do your category list.

How many transactions can I have on my sheet? I started in January of 2021 and have close to 2000 already! Do I start a new sheet for 2022? I am really just using this for tax prep, not budgeting. Thanks!

There isn’t really a limit for number of transactions. Google Sheets has a 5 million cell limit.

What is your routine for using Tiller? Do you use it daily? Weekly?

I personally check in on my sheet every few days and manually categorize transactions.

I’ve noticed slow response in Excel w/ just 3 months of data. How well does this scale to many year’s worth of data, or is is better to peel that off year-by-year. If so, what’s the balance point between having multi-year data for insights year-over-year versus firewalling it by-year for IRS and yearly accounting?

I’m surprised that Excel has slowed down after that little data. I’d be curious to know whether you’re using our template or a home grown one.

"I use mint as my primary budgeting too and occasionally I look at trends and category rollups…My question is how to use tiller money as a supplement to mint without having to do double the work? (importing mint transactions into tiller is frustrating and I’d rather not categorize my transactions manually in tiller while I already do that weekly in mint)"

I’d suggestion just fully transitioning to Tiller and use AutoCat :slight_smile:

Krista mentioned changing year over year, how do your future changes NOT affect the past? I want multi-year insights, but also want to lock down the past so that reports (i.e. taxes) do not change after the fact.

I’d recommend using the template for multi-year budgeting and if you’re meaning changing categories year over year you can just hide any you no longer want to use from the budget by marking them as “hide from reports” on the Categories sheet.

What do you recommend is the best way to rollover budget surpluses for next year?

There isn’t a way to do this in the Foundation Template. I’d check out the Savings Budget community solution for this type of workflow.

How many years of history do you recommend keeping (max?) … I have 4 years of history and over 25000 rows in my transaction sheet

Isn’t there a limit to how much you can store in a google sheet that would determine whether or not you keep multiple years in one file?

By running multiple years in one workbook, does that slow down your system?

In preparing for the next year, should I save a transaction sheet for 2021? Can the transaction sheet get too large if I keep using the same sheet year after year?

If you keep adding years to your sheet, is there a point ,based on your system resources, that you reccommend starting with a fresh template.

How many transaction lines are reasonable to keep before the Tiller spreadsheet system starts to slow down? I’m trying to see when I should restart transactions.

There isn’t really a “too large” It depends on what else is in your sheet (e.g. dashboards/community solutions). 25K rows isn’t an issue as long as other stuff in your sheet isn’t slowing it down.

If I just change the year to 2022 as you showed does that let me rollover all my savings budget data 2021 and keep it going?

I don’t think changing the year to 2022 will work well with rollover budget amounts in the Savings Budget, but you should post a new topic on that here in the community to get clarification. The demo and this webinar was specific to the Foundation Template.

If I decide to change some categories for 2022, maybe also rename some, how do you recommend doing this so as to maintain as much continuity as possible across years (e.g. for time ranges that go mid-year to mid-year)?

how do i edit categories for the new year? i may want to break out into more than one or rename.

What is the best way to deal with a old category that one no longer wants to keep without affecting historical information? In other words I have a category “X” in 2021 that I no longer want to keep in 2022, but I do not want to lose the information agaist category “X”.

If you use the same sheet for multiple years and in year two you no longer use a category, should you delete the category?

You could overwrite the existing category name and then use Find & Replace or copy/paste the old categories into a Note column. You don’t necessarily have to delete the category. You could also just mark it as “hide” in the Hide from Reports column on the Categories sheet and it won’t show up on your Budget sheets anymore.

Couldn’t you add a column in the categories sheet that shows the average amount from the previous year? that help decide what to put in the new budget

Sure, I did a shared a Show & Tell on that here and instead of using “Last month” you could use the entire year or not include the criteria on a date.

As I continue to create new transaction data, my queries get slower and slower. Any advice on how to/whether to archive old transactions but keep the balances for net worth calculations?

You can make an archive of your sheet and clear out as much data as you want to speed things up. As far as keeping balances, you might also want to check out the Trim Balance History workflow in the Tiller Community Solutions add-on.

What if you want to set a budget for the whole year rather than month by month? Would you set up the Categories sheet differently? For instance, maybe you’re saving some big gear purchases for Black Friday sales and don’t spend much on it the rest of the year.

You can just set that month to be the specific amount and set the other months to $0.

Is there a way to compare the new 2022 budget vs 2021 actual? in the yearly view?

Not in the Yearly Budget sheet there isn’t, but you should explore Community Solutions to see if one is available. The one that comes to mind is the Year to Date sheet, but it might not be exactly what you’re looking for. There might also be something in Show & Tell

If you make a copy, to do you need to relink banks?

No, the copy will be your archive and the existing sheet will still have the bank links.

Will this work for biweekly pay

There isn’t a “biweekly” budget option in the Foundation template, but that doesn’t mean you can’t budget on a monthly basis just because you get paid every other week.

Could you touch on end-of-year reports that will be helpful for tax filing?

Any suggestions for things we can do now to help make taxes easier in April? e.g. donation tracking

I’d recommend checking out this resource.

Do you have a suggestion if I want to look at several significantly different budgeting scenarios? I imagine maybe making a copy of the Yearly Budget sheet for each scenario and renamng them.

Take a look at this blog post I put together.

How to share just one sheet with my CPA? Such as Transactions and possibly Category Tracker? How to share specific time frame data with CPA? I only want him to see 2021, not prior years? Should I set up separate sheets by calendar year so I can keep all my historical data and also just review by calendar year? Is there a way to summarize and total cash flow by category with quarterly totals? Tiller is new to me . . . I have used Quicken for 20 years but Quicken is toast. Trying to get up to speed on how to use Tiller and produce quarterly, year end totals for my CPA.

You can just share the sheet using the Share button in the upper right of the sheet while it’s open. However this is going to give him access to everything in the Google Sheet unless you hide certain sheets and then protect the sheet itself. If you only want him to have access to a certain date range, you’d need probably need to make a copy and clean out some of the data and just share the copy. But the copy won’t live update with data, it’ll just be a historical record. I’d recommend checking out this resource.

What is your preferred way to track savings contributions in the Foundations Template?

You can categorize them with a Savings category and then review totals using the Yearly Budget sheet. If you set it as an “expense” type category, even though it’s technically more like a transfer, this would allow you to budget for your savings and also see how much you’ve saved as an “actual” on the Yearly Budget sheet. The “available” would be how much remaining you need to save.

Is there a way to set up a rollover category? For example you have a computer category where you have say $50 every month but you don’t use it every month but only when needed?

I’d recommend checking out the Savings Budget if you want to see these accrued funds.

For expenses I pay for on a one a year basis (auto, home, life insurance; property tax; etc.) I divide the total amount by 12 and transfer that amount to a separate account each month. How do I best show this on by transactions sheet? Transfer, Expense… ?

It really depends on whether you want to see it on your budget or not. If you want to see it on your budget you’d want to use an expense type category otherwise a transfer type is fine because they don’t show up on the budget sheets.

I just ran the category tracker report and saw one transaction wrongly categorized, what is the best way to figure out which month I categorized wrong. Thank you

You can filter the Transactions sheet to just that category and then use the search/find (CTRL+F) feature to search by the merchant name.

How do you recommend starting a new year when you don’t want all of the previous year transactions in the current sheet

You can just start fresh in the new year, no need to necessarily worry about all of the previous year’s data. If you want to do some analysis to help you set budgets/goals, you can manually import data and categorize it.

Are there options for putting prior years’ transactions on a different sheet (goal: faster loading).

Make a copy of the sheet from the File menu so you have a record of your 2021 data then just clear the transactions from row 2 and down in the Transactions sheet. Make sure you leave row 1.

How would you utilize Tags with Budgeting? e.g. What if we used Tags such as Annual, Quarterly, Monthly for each Category to identify when they are paid. Or Needs, Wants, Savings Tags to segment further than Groups of Auto, Utilities, Insurance, Household, etc.?

For the Needs, Wants, Savings, I’d set these up as Groups. We have a resource here. Tags won’t really show on the budget dashboards in the Foundation template so Tags are only useful with some of the community solutions.

Will you be doing a webinar (or is there one recorded already) on how to handle being paid every other week - in terms of budgeting for cashflow? I’m struggling with getting this going for my budget.

We don’t have any webinars lined up on this, and this is an area where we have a gap in content. I’d recommend searching in the Community here and if you don’t find a resource post a new topic in the Discussion section.

Do you all have any tips on how to manage anxiety around budgeting? I get so overwhlemed sometimes that I don’t update my sheet because I know I’ll go over budget

Yes! I wrote this post for that exact scenario.

So I am retired. Pay 25% of expenses from Social Security. The remainder comes from savings. I put a line item ‘Savings Withdrawals”, TYPE is income. I budget the same amount every month. In other words, I look at this transfer as income or cash flow. Is this approach correct?

Yes, that’s definitely a fine way to do it as that is your income as a retired person :slight_smile:

If I prefer a financial year that does not start on January 1st, how do you suggest I use the Yearly Budget sheet? Is there a way to pick specific dates instead of just years?

Yes, you can start the 12 month budget year on the first day of any month, but not a day other than the 1st of a month.

in the category sheet, if I change the month/yr columns to reflect 2022 as Heather discussed (no 2021 columns anymore), what becomes of the budget year view 2021 in the yearly budget?

You wouldn’t see any budget values for 2021 months in the Yearly Budget sheet.

If you want to add this year budget to last, what do you do with categories that are no longer needed? Example car payment?

You can just hide them using the Hide from Reports column on the Categories sheet is probably the best approach.

In the question just answered, did you recommend creating a whole new workbook for 2022, or just a new Tx sheet ?

Make a copy of the current Google Sheet and then just clear out the 2021 data.

so you can’t roll your “envelope” totals from 2021 to 2022 in the Savings Budget unless you add in the additional columns in the categories sheet OR change 2021 to 2022 and manually enter the totals to the “Savings” column correct?

I think that’s right, but you’d need to confirm by posting in the community here.

## Other

Hello. I was wondering about best practices for when loans change companies. For example, I used to have navient holding my student loans, and they just switched to another holder. I can link the new company and have the same loans show up, but now I have a bunch of zeros for the navient loan amounts. Just curious if you had tips!

You can hide those $0 balance accounts from your Balances sheet using the Accounts sheet.

Could you clarify how to handle transfers with respect to budgeting. For example, I transfer 250.00 to an emergency fund. I want to track that in my budget. Do I categorize it as a transfer or as an expense? Then when the amount shows as a deposit in my emergency fund account do I categorize that as a transfer in the emergency fund bank account?

If you want to see it on the budget it needs to be an expense type. Transfers won’t show on the Budget. You could have two categories for this

Emergency Fund - Expense
Emergency Fund Received - Income & mark as hide from reports on Categories or use a Transfer type.

I think i am using an old version of your “connector” to financial institutions. Seems like the turn of the year is the time to upgrade. Can you address the pros/cons of doing so?

If you’re interested in upgrading your data feeds, review this help article. If you signed up after mid-Jan 2019 you’re already on our newest feeds. But certainly the new year is always a great time to start something new :slight_smile:

What’s the difference or advantage between enabling filters on the transactions sheet and the Category Tracker?

Transactions sheet will show you the line item details for the category whereas Category Tracker shows you the sum of spending per unique description/merchant.

Can you show again where you accessed the Category Tracker in the Tiller Community Solutions?

Learn how to get Category Tracker here

Is there a way to sort the list that appears when you manually categorize transactions? The categories that I have added over time, appear at the bottom on the list when I’m in transactions and click the button to add a category. I only use the manual method to categorize.

You can sort the Categories sheet by the category column to change the way the list is ordered on the Transactions sheet.

Does Excel have the same functionality as Google Docs?

There isn’t a Community Solutions add-on for Excel and the AutoCat version for Excel is in a private beta currently. The Foundation template doesn’t currently have a Monthly Budget view in Excel.

a catgeorization question. Let’s say you categorized something as income. Then I decided to be more specific and delineate something as say work income from lectures vs wrok income from patients. If you make that change in Auto Cat. Will it go back and overwrite the previous categorizations or will Autocat only apply that to future transactions?

AutoCat only runs against uncategorized transactions by default, but you can modify this under the AutoCat Run Settings in the Tiller Money Feeds sidebar.

Any plans you can share for bringing back the Target Red Card and overall working with Yodlee on reducing institution outages?

We don’t have word from our data provider yet on when/if Target will resume support for their connection. We’re not in control of the amount of outages.

My one “wish list” request is that PNC would be able to send the income and investment transaction data to Tiller. While I could add the data manually, there was a time when some months of data did flow from PNC Private Bank to Tiller.

I’d recommend reaching out to the support team via the chat tool on the Console at to troubleshoot why you’re not longer getting transaction data.

Maybe this was covered in the Foundations webinar, but is there a best practice for adding a partner to a spreadsheet? Is it just the normal Google Sheets sharing?

You can share the sheet using Google’s built in sharing features. Learn more about collaboration here.

Does Tiller ever offer 1:1 coaching on how to best use the template?

We don’t offer 1:1 coaching at this time, but feel free to join our Weekly Foundations Webinar for more live Q&A.

Is there any limit on the number of add ons I can add? And if I want to remove after exploring them, can I just delete and perhaps add again later?

If by add-on you mean community solution, there isn’t a limit, but having too many can slow your sheet down. I do recommend deleting any you’re not using.

I noticed you had “Car repair” for a description rather than the name of the merchant. Is that the only place to note what the transaction was for or can you have a separate notes field for a transaction?

You can definitely add a Note column.

How do you filter or sort on the category Page, I would like to see income first ( on top)

Yes, you can learn more about filtering and sorting here.

Docs for Debt Planner seemed to break down differences between v1 with v2, which seemed unclear… anything you’d like to say live to clarify the nuances, or what is the current option out-of-the-box?

I think you’re talking about v1 / v2 of the Accounts sheet. Current out of the box is v2 so you don’t need to worry about it most likely.

If I have more cash in my checking account over and above my monthly budget and planned expenses, how do I include that amount when I update from the bank?

There isn’t a way to include balance for budgeting in the Foundation template. I’d recommend checking out the community solutions Savings Budget.

Is there a way when you reconcile that it will take the date from the bank not necessarily the date you put? Because I end up writing the tranactions down to then manually change it.

The date that you see in the Transactions sheet is what we can pull automatically. You might want to check out the manual transaction add and reconcile workflow in the Tiller Community Solutions add-on.

Heather, are your weekly webinars recorded? If so, where can we find the recordings?

You can learn more about our Weekly Foundation Webinar here

Can I safely change the names of my accounts on my insights tab? I have three lines that say “Credit Card” so I cannot tell them apart.

You’d want to change the name of the account on the Console ( under the Account Summary, which will apply to new entries. You can use a Find & Replace to fix existing entries in your sheet.

Once connected to the Tiller Community templates how does one add one (e.g. net worth) to our own spreadsheet?

Learn more about adding the Net Worth sheet here.

Will Tiller be hosting more webinars during the year that help with the intermediate and advanced level features?

That’s a great idea. I’m sure we’ll do some. We’ll have some builder webinars coming up features solutions from our recent Builder’s Challenge.

Can you point to some resources/community sheets for expense-based budgeting?

I’m not totally sure what you mean by “expense-based budget” feel free to reply to this topic and let me know so I can share more info.