What is the goal of your workflow? What problem does it solve, or how does it help you?
Purpose of this sheet is to make it easier to answer two common money related questions: 1) where did all my money go? 2) Do I have enough money to buy fill in the blank?
How did you come up with the idea for your workflow?
After using a popular web based budgeting platform for a couple years I decided I could make something just as good and more customize-able with a spreadsheet. A few years and several iterations later and this is what I have wound up with.
Please describe your workflow. What are the sheets? Does it use any custom scripts or formulas?
There is a lot going on in this spreadsheet; here is my typical workflow:
- Log in and make sure Tiller has pulled the latest transactions.
- While Tiller is updating, make note of the data summarized on the ‘Budget Snapshot’ sheet. This is a good place to get an overall feel of how things are currently going financially.
- Assign categories to all new transactions using the ‘Uncategorized Transactions’ sheet.
- Use the IHAB menu option “Show Combo” to switch over to the ‘Dashboard’ sheet and set the columns to display the past in ‘Tracker’ columns and the future in ‘Planner’ columns. In this view it is very easy to see if any of the new transactions have caused any categories to “go red”.
- If categories have turned red, use the IHAB menu option “Show Sidebar” to bring up the ‘Budget Tasks’ tools to fix them.
- Transfer extra money from other categories (or from the pool of ‘unallocated’ funds) to the red categories using any of the ‘Budget Tasks’ tools in the sidebar.
- Once everything is (hopefully) black again, add any upcoming expenses to the appropriate future planner columns, paying special attention to the number in the planner column header (the sum of all planned expenses during that budget period) to make sure I am not stretching my money too far.
A more infrequent workflow is planning out which bills I will be paying with which paycheck over the course of the coming year. This workflow looks something like this:
- Use IHAB menu to “Show Combo”.
- Since I get paid fortnightly, and I have my budgeting periods set to begin on payday, each column represents 1 paycheck.
- To plan out how to pay my bills over the year I note each bills due date, and put the amount of the bill in the planner column that includes the due date, or if it’s too close to end of the period, the column immediately before the due date.
- I also have categories for less frequent bills. I divide these bills over the course of a year (or however long the billing period is) and put this fraction of the bill in every pay period up till it’s due.
- Once all the bills are in, the optimizing can begin. Since each column totals the planned expenses in row 2, I can no slide bills around to pull from other budget periods (paychecks) to even out the amount I’m paying on bills with each paycheck.
- Now I have a plan for every dollar from every paycheck for the whole next year. Hooray! (The desire to do this was one of the main motivations for building this spreadsheet.)
Anything else you’d like people to know?
This sheet has a LOT of scripts in it. Before any of them will run on your google account you will have to authorize them. Google will give you a very scary looking pop-up where you can give authorization. Up to you if you want to authorize or not but I promise that none of the scripts are malicious. You do have the ability to review all the code first if you would like.
The version I am sharing here is slightly different from my daily driver. I had to make some tweaks to get it ready to share in the contest. So, if there are bugs, I’m blaming it on that fact!
In all seriousness, if you find any bugs or problems let me know and I’ll try to get them fixed ASAP.
There really needs to be more instructions for this spreadsheet but I haven’t had time to write them.
Unfortunately I think google sheets is kinda buggy sometimes. There are times when a formula won’t update until I change the formula slightly (like adding in a “+0” at the end or something similar). Keep this in mind if you see cells refusing to update…
Here is a screen shot (I’ll put more in replies to this post):
Budget Snapshot Sheet:
Is it ok for others to copy, use, and modify your workflow?
Yes. I have included links to two version below. One version is already setup and populated with sample data, and another version is blank so that you can test drive with your own data.
If you said yes above, please make a copy of your workflow and share the copy’s URL:
Example with pre-populated data:
Blank version for use with your data:
NOTE: To use this sheet with your own data you will first need to create a writable version using ‘File > Make a Copy’.