More questions about "transfer" types

Hello, I am just getting started with the Tiller foundation template and am seeking some clarity about how transfer types. Each time I think I start to understand, I wind up feeling confused again. Sorry if some of this has been covered; I tried to comb through other posts, and some of it was helpful, but still not grasping it…

  • One question up front is, are there different ‘accounts’ for transfers or do all transfer types go in/out of the same “account”? Not sure if that question will make sense. Where can I see/track transfers?

I have 3 or 4 different situations that I think make sense to use the transfer type:

  1. I use a few credit cards and pay the balances off in full every month. I figured I’d categorize all my CC transactions accordingly, and create a category called “Pay off CC balance” as a “transfer” type. Does that seem like the right way to approach it or am I missing something? I thought I understood this and didn’t have any questions about it, but now I’m wondering: how will the transfers balance out to 0 if I’m only using the “Pay off CC balance” one way?

  2. Reimbursable travel expenses: I think I get this. I’ll just categorize both the expense transaction and the ‘income’/reimbursement transaction under the same category. Right?

  3. Mileage reimbursement: A common scenario, but I pay out of pocket for gas and get reimbursed 56 cents/mile which winds up being more than what I pay for gas. Ideally, I’d like to see a separate account for these transfers/reimbursements to track how much “income” I’m generating from the mileage (after subtracting what I spend on gas) Is that possible? I would view this like a supplemental account for an automobile budget.

  4. My partner and I split many of our expenses, but I wind up paying for most of them up front and she reimburses me. Similar to #3 above, I’m wondering if it’s possible / makes sense to have some kind of separate account where I can specifically track “Partner reimbursements”?

Hopefully, these questions make sense. Any insights, tips, or suggested use case scenarios would be greatly appreciated!

Transfers would generally be between accounts. eg. bank to credit card

Your 4 scenarios:

  1. you’d have one side of the transfer coming from your bank account which would balance against the credit card payment. I actually like seeing both sides of the transfer in distinct transactions. Some of my credit cards are at a different bank than the one that I pay from, so I might see the debit from my bank today and then the credit to the card in a day or two. I use a simple tag called “ok” that I put against both txns once I know the payment has been posted

  2. correct

  3. you could split the reimbursement in two: one against your “cash” account and the other in an income category to whatever account it goes into

  4. you could do a separate account but I just use a different category. For example, I have an IOU category and I categorize both the payment and the reimbursement as such. If everything is reimbursed, if you filtered on the IOU category, all txns should sum to zero or you could use something like the Category Tracker sheet, choose the IOU category and see what the outstanding balance is - if any. (I actually have a number of IOU categories - for my wife, my kids…)

There are many different ways to accomplish what you’re trying to do. The above is simply what works for me.


As @davidmark said, transfers happen between accounts. They are useful when you want to designate that nothing was gained, and nothing was lost in your overall net worth, money was just shuffled from one account to another. I actually got rid of my “Transfer” category, and instead primarily use two categories: “Transfer In” and “Transfer Out”. This allows me to get a better understanding of what’s happening with my money. I took this further by using conditional formatting to highlight these transfers, and only turn the highlighting off when I add a “Match” tag, which I do when both the incoming and outgoing transactions show up. This allows me to catch if there is a problem where only one side of the transaction is showing up, which would throw off budgets, etc.

If you have a Dashboard sheet and you want to list all the unmatched transfers, you can use a formula like this:


In this example, the first range, Transactions!A1:I is the full range of the Transactions sheet you want to display. In my example, it goes to column I but you could make that any column.

The next part tests if the Transaction is a Transfer Type. (Unlike @jpfieber system, I use the Transfer category, but you could write a formula for filtering out “Transfer In” and “Transfer Out” categories.) In my Transactions sheet, column H is an auto lookup of the Transfer Type based on the Category of the Transaction in each row.

This post explains how to get a Group column in your Transactions List.
Groups in transactions list
Use the same concept to make a Type column.

The last test filters out the Tags that say “match”. In my case, that’s column H. If you have multiple tags, in addition to the word match, this system won’t work.

With those filters, only unmatched transfer transactions will appear.