Mobile App for Savings Budget Template

IMPORTANT: This workflow is based on the Savings Budget Template, which allows you to use envelope/rollover savings budgeting. I have not tested this with the Foundation Template Monthly Budget.

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

I want to make it easy to make informed spending decisions when I’m out and about. I also want to perform frequent tasks like categorizing transactions and tracking my cash spending without having to be at my computer or use the clunky Google Sheets app.

This was adapted from my Mobile App for Tiller Budget Template. Since the Foundation Template is the way forward, I spent some time migrating my budget, testing, and adapting this app for the Savings Budget.

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

I’ve always wanted a mobile interface to my Tiller Sheet and tried Glide when it was featured on the Tiller Blog. I quickly realized that Glide was too limited to build out the features I’d want in a mobile app. AppSheet, on the other hand, had the power and flexibility to build a fully-featured Tiller mobile app that I could continue to adjust to my liking without needing to code an app from scratch.

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

AppSheet Demo Link
Data Lookup Spreadsheet

The goals of my app are to make these tasks as quick and easy as possible:

  • Identify and categorize new transactions
  • Track cash transactions
  • See how much budget is available to spend in a subset of most important budget categories
  • Check account balances
  • View helpful charts for Net Worth and from the Simple Business Dashboard
  • Require no modifications to Tiller-provided sheets
  • Require as few workflow-specific sheets as possible
  • Put app-specific sheets in a separate file to help keep the original sheet performant

Transactions

The transactions view shows a list of transactions in reverse chronological order, grouped by date. I’ve greyed out transactions that are in “Hide From Reports” categories. Debit amounts are highlighted in green.

Categorizing Transactions

You can quickly categorize multiple transactions by tapping on the QuickEdit button at the top-right of the Transactions screen.

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Uncategorized transactions are highlighted on the Transactions tab.

New Transaction

I’ve intentionally limited new transactions to Cash transactions because that’s my only manual account. I’m depending on Tiller to import transactions from automatically updated accounts and don’t want to accidentally create transactions I’ll need to delete.

Splitting Transactions

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  1. Open the details page for the transaction you want to split

  2. Edit the transaction

  3. Edit the Note

  4. Select the autogenerated split note, which will be used to generate a helpful Split Remainder to help make sure your splits equal the full amount. Here you can see that you’ve changed the amount from $24.37 to $14.00, so the Split Remainder says that I have $10.37 left.

  5. Click save, then re-open the transaction you’re splitting. This time, copy the transaction and change the amount to the previous split remainder $10.37. You can adjust the category for this portion of the split at this time.

  6. Save the transaction and you’ll see that you now have two separate transactions in your transactions list.

Budget

The Budget tab shows your categories along with some additional columns. Categories that are configured to “Hide From Reports” are hidden. The columns shown are:

  • Category
  • Amount available to spend based on the day of month, budgeted amount, and amount spent
  • Amount spent
  • Budget remaining
  • Budgeted Total

This helps me decide whether I have budget available to do something like go out to eat. Categories where you’ve spent more than the “Amount available to spend” will be highlighted in yellow to warn you that you might be overspending if you continue spending at the current rate.

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Accounts

This one’s pretty straightforward. It just lists your accounts grouped by type. Select an account to view more details.

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Category

The Category tab gives you an overview of the categories you’re using in the app.

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Dashboard

The Dashboard tab shows helpful graphs for Net Worth and the Simple Business Dashboard, which is actually quite helpful for personal use. I only use it for personal finance.

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Installation

Sheet setup

This workflow requires several Tiller-provided sheets.

Tiller AppSheet Lookup Sheet

Make a copy of the Tiller AppSheet Lookup Spreadsheet.

Paste the URL for your Tiller Savings Budget Spreadsheet into cell Settings!B2.

Grant access to your spreadsheet by selecting cell Settings!D1 and clicking on “Allow access”.

This allows the Tiller AppSheet Lookup Sheet to import the data used by the AppSheet app.

AppSheet setup

Copy and Customize the AppSheet Template.

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Updating the app data source

In the Data tab, you’ll see a list of all the sheets from which the app shows and updates data. For each table, you’ll want to update the data source. I’ll update the Categories sheet as an example.

Click on the table to expand its settings.

Expand the Storage dropdown.

Open the Source Path dropdown and click browse for more data .

Choose Google if it’s available. Otherwise, click the New Data Source button to add Google as a data source.

Find and select your Tiller AppSheet Lookup Spreadsheet.

Your Source Path should now have the name of your Tiller Sheet.

Select your Categories sheet as the Worksheet Name/Qualifier .

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For the other tables, you should be able to select your Tiller sheet as the Source Path without needing to go through the data linking steps again. So select your Tiller sheet as the Source Path and the corresponding sheet as the Worksheet Name/Qualifier.

You’ll notice that the Tiller AppSheet Lookup Spreadsheet doesn’t have a Transactions sheet. That’s because we need to link the Transactions table to your actual Tiller Savings Budget Transactions Sheet so we can edit transactions. Follow the instructions above to add your Tiller Savings Budget as a Data Source and then select the Transactions sheet as the Worksheet Name/Qualifier.

Then click Save on the top right.

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The page will reload and you should be able to see your data in the simulator on the right! Verify that all the data is loading properly.

Whew! You’re done setting everything up! Now you’ll want to install the AppSheet app on your phone to see your new app. You can get the app install link by going to Users section on the AppSheet editor and opening the Links tab. Open the “Install Link” in your web browser on your phone and you’ll be presented with a link to install AppSheet and open your new app.

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Anything else you’d like people to know?

I love to refine personal tools like this and will definitely continue to make modifications to my app. I want to make setting up a copy of my workflow as easy as possible so let me know if there are any parts that are difficult and I’ll try to make them easier. I also plan on incorporating feedback into the copyable demo so that newcomers to my workflow can get started with the latest and greatest updates and tweaks from my workflow.

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

Yes! I’d love to see what else you guys come up with!

Wow.
I haven’t been using the Savings Budget Template, but with all the awesomeness you’ve created here, I’m certainly going to have to have a look-see. Thanks for sharing the extraordinary amount of work you’ve put into this, I’m looking forward to trying it out!

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Likewise… really excited to dig into this @richardpeng. I know this was not a small lift.

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Great job @richardpeng . You have given me so many ideas for my own appsheet app. Thank you for sharing. Also I love the animated pictures. They really help show the usability of your app. What did you use to make those?

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I use Cleanshot X on MacOS to create gifs