How to Start a Savings Budget with Savings

Hi! I’m loving Tiller and excited to set up my new savings budget. But I am a little confused because I started with savings and I need to figure out where to put this surplus. I started my new savings budget this month with a savings surplus of $500.00 in my account from last month. I spent the $500.00 surplus this month on holiday travel. So I added $500.00 to savings in travel. Now, Savings is $500, Budget is $200, Actual is $700.00. Available is 0.00. This seems to make sense because I spent 700.00 ($500.00 from savings and $200.00 from my budget this month.) But it looks like I overspent when I compare my income to expense - my actual is higher than my budget…So should I put the $500.00 surplus in my Budget column instead of the Savings column? What is the right way to start with a savings budget with savings- where do I put the surplus? Thank you!


I think you did it right, with putting the surplus in Savings.

I think this is okay because the actual came from savings.

@randy do you have more insights?

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I agree with @heather, @deva. You had $500 extra in savings and your cashflow for the month was net negative but that is accurate because you dipped into savings to accomplish a goal.

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I agree that the way you did it makes sense, and is how I use it. If you really want to have your total income and expense numbers add up though, there is another option.

Using your example, you put the starting $500 in savings in a different account, let’s call it “slush fund”. Then you budget $700 for the holiday travel category and budget -500 dollars for the slush fund category. If you do this, your total budget comes out to $200, which lines up with income the way you want.

Trying to do this for every category would be very time consuming, but I’ve used it for some particularly large purchases so that my monthly expense total doesn’t look wildly high. In general though, I don’t think it’s super useful to compare monthly expenses to income if you’re heavily using the savings feature.

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I have a question similar to this but more about the mechanics of how to do it…I’m just starting out using Tiller and the Savings Budget spreadsheet, and my basic question is: How do I “seed” the savings of a particular category with money I know I already have in my account?

If I try to edit any row of Column D (Savings) in the Savings Budget sheet, all the rows in that column go blank, which makes me think I edited something I shouldn’t.

Is there any known method to seed a given category with savings?

I think I figured out how to do this. I just created a new row in the Budget Journal sheet with the amount that I had in my account before starting this Savings Budget sheet. That seemed to accomplish what I wanted.

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Hi @ben.schuchard I think I can help. You’re right that adding a row to the Budget Journal will do it, but there is a tool to automate the process a bit.

First you set the “Adjust ± Modifies” to Savings, then enter all of the values you want to add to savings in the “Adjust ±” column. Then go to the Tiller Community Solutions add-on, go to the Savings Budget and click Update Budget. That will add all of the necessary routes to the Budget Journal automatically. If you want more detail your can find it here:

Got it, @matt - thanks!

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This sounds like an interesting idea! I may revisit it for some bigger goals!

@randy @heather @matt Thanks for your feedback on this question. I appreciate it! I ended up putting the $500 into saving category. It seemed to be the most intuitive thing to do. That way it doesn’t show up as overspending. I wonder if you see any potential problems with this? Or is this more the case of there is not right answer here, either way is okay and do what makes sense to me? thanks again!

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Yep, that’s exactly right! The way you did it makes sense and is definitely a good way to go. Yes there are other options but they’re not better, just different.

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got it -I feel more confident!

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