Mint-like budgeting groups and other questions

I’m not sure how else to phrase this so forgive me if this question has been asked before.

I found Mint Intuit’s Budgets page extremely useful for the following reasons:

  • Ability to make budgets for an entire “parent” Group in addition to budgets for “child” Subcategories. ex. I can budget for X amount for my entire Income group, with XX of that coming from Income/Paycheck. OR I can budget for X amount for my entire Food & Dining group, with XX of that coming from the Groceries subcategory.
  • The Everything Else category which automatically groups all spending in all categories other than those which have budgets into a single “bucket” (or dynamic group) which can have its own budget.
  • The ability to see at a glance whether a budget has been filled exactly, is still short, or has gone over, along with a visual benchmark for how far along in the month you are. This is helpful for budgets in which spending is consistent day-by-day or week-by-week so you can see if you are “ahead” or “behind” of where you would expect to be on the day you check the budget.

There are some aesthetic choices I like about it as well (the text-based message indicating $X “left” or “over” next to each budget) but I would be content if I could figure out how to implement the above points.

Can anyone help with ideas for how I could implement these with the existing Tiller templates, OR point me to some resources so I could learn how to make my own custom template/sheet that incorporates these features? I know how to put together a formula in Google Sheets but I don’t know how e.g. the Monthly Budget View template is able to dynamically populate its cells - that is, the cells don’t have formulas in them but are being supplied with data from somewhere else in the sheet (presumably).

I love the custom data visualization possibilities available with Tiller, I just need a few more pointers to get exactly what I’m looking for out of it I think!

I quite liked those things, too, but so far I haven’t found something similar within Tiller solutions. I’m getting the feeling I’m gonna need to get used to a different method.

i would think at least the first two would be relatively straightforward to implement, right?

something like:

  1. each group in the categories sheet is a line item with the opportunity to add a number for the budget (total budget for that group); if other categories under that group contain budgets that exceed the group budget, an error occurs; on the monthly budget tracking page, the line item for each group first checks if there’s a total budget for that group and if so, sums all the transactions matching that group to compare to the total budget; subcategories of that group that have their own budget are summed accordingly, they’re just not counted twice toward the total group budget

  2. on the monthly budget sheet, check to see what groups and/or categories have a number filled in for the budget on the categories page; if not, for each transaction with a category not matching one of the budget line items on the categories sheet, list/group/sum them under an “everything else” section (budget for “everything else” could be a line item set on the categories page for the sake of consistency, though it wouldn’t be an actual group or subcategory since you wouldn’t mark individual transactions as “everything else”)

Sure, it’s doable, but will it end up being you that creates that solution :thinking:


Hi @arielrosequeen thanks for sharing this feedback and question!

It doesn’t address the ability to set the budget at the group level itself, but the Monthly Budget sheet does show you the budget for your Group as a whole. You could use this with a reimagined workflow to help you ensure you’re staying within the idea budget target for your group.

I don’t think there’s a community solution built yet that addresses this though. @jpfieber your budget plan sheet doesn’t do what she’s asking, right?

Where creating budgets with the Categories sheet limits you to budgeting at the Category level, the Budget Plan template allows you to budget at the Item level. These Items then get totaled up by category and fed back to the Category sheet so it can be fed into other budget related templates. It doesn’t address the Group level at all. Where Budget Plan starts with items and determines what the Category total will be, it seems @arielrosequeen wants to go the other direction and start with the Category, then determine what part of that each item comprises. I’m not aware of an existing solution for that.

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The closest I came achieving this functionality was to add a “Misc.” category to each of my groups, and then correlate it to my Mint data. For instance, “Auto & Transport Misc.” is now where I put the transactions I used to just assign to the Group itself. It’s a little clunky, but it works for now.

I like to budget with a top and sub levels. They are actually contiguous categories but will land with a structure of a parent (Group) and subcategories (Category).
From Category Tab
Medical: Medical Medical
Medical: Pharmacy Medical
Medical: Dental Medical
Medical: Vision Medical

From Budget Tab. Medical includes the subs.
Medical: Dental
Medical: Medical
Medical: Pharmacy
Medical: Vision

Regarding budgeting at the group instead of specific category, I create a category in the group, let’s say “Discretionary Budget”. I assign budgets to some specific categories, say “Dining Out” and “Television and Movies”. I’ve got say 10 other categories with a budget of 0. So, I may assign 300 to eating out, 100 to television, and 600 to “Discretionary Budget”.

Then when I look at the Monthly/Yearly budget, I can view my total budget for the category (1000), and just use that to ensure I’m within on both the overall group, and the specific categories which are budgeted for.