I’ve already searched the forum and don’t think I found anything that quite fit my question, so here goes. Like others, I’m a Mint user looking for a replacement, and considering Tiller.
Right now, my paychecks are direct deposited into my checking account. I literally split that (by automatic transfers) into two different savings accounts - one emergency and one personal spending. But I’d like to consolidate these accounts inside my credit union - either just one savings or keep it all in my checking, and then just keep track of how much is in my emergency / spending “accounts” outside of the credit union portal, in my budgeting tool.
Just generally, is that possible with Tiller? I get that it will capture my paycheck, say $1234. But has there been a template or process developed to take that $1234 and “transfer” it into those two buckets? Again, one literal account with my cc, but multiple fake “accounts” tracked inside the tool.
Thanks for the help!
Hi. I think what you’re looking for is the Savings Budget sheet. It would enable you to do exactly what you are describing. In fact, I use it that way with a couple of “fake accounts” for longer-term savings goals. In addition to the page above, there’s also a YouTube video introduction to the sheet here. I’d recommend watching the video to get a good feel for the logic of the sheet.
The Savings Budget has become my go-to budget sheet within Tiller. Happy to answer any questions I can about my own experience with it.
If I’m reading you correctly, then I do this today. I keep a lump sum of money in our Spending/Checking account that acts as a first line of defense if we go over our total monthly budget in any one month. For context, we have a Spending (Checking) account at Fidelity and an Online Savings account at Goldman.
In Tiller, I set up a Category line item called “Cash Buffer” with Group = Savings and Type = Expense.
I keep this number roughly equal to one month of gross income. As already mentioned, it works very well with the Savings Budget because you are effectively using the Available column for this particular line item and not really worrying about the Budget column.
As soon as I balance our Spending account for December, I will plug any leftover income into the Adjust column in the Savings Budget for Cash Buffer. Set the Adjust to Budget and execute Update Savings Budget. This will set my Cash Buffer line item Budget to that number.
Here is my rough process at the end of January after I balance the account using bank statement:
- Reallocate money within same Expense groups.
- Reallocate money from other Expense groups as needed until all line items are netted out.
- If Expenses exceed Income and there isn’t enough money to net out all expenses after doing #1 and #2:
- Let those Expenses float as negative to subsequent months and spend less in that month and then follow above bullets to get it balanced again (the Savings column back to 0), or
- Take money from “Cash Buffer” until you get your other Expenses netted out.
- If Income exceeds Expenses after doing #1 and #2, I transfer money in the following order depending on account balances and/or current goals:
- To any one of our Investment Contribution categories within our Investment Contribution group (we currently have 5 choices here)
- To Cash Savings which is our online Savings account
- To Cash Buffer by increasing the number using the Adjust process.
Your Budget number on the Categories sheet for Cash Buffer is going to be jacked up starting in February because you are taking money from it to give it somewhere else. It will be negative at times. I ignore that because it’s not relevant for how I use the Category. I only care about the number in the Savings and Available columns once you get into February and then going forward.
I am quite sure there is a better way to do this to keep your data cleaner and more intact, but that’s how I’ve done it for two years now and it’s worked fine. Also, I originally tried to operate this with the Cash Buffer category as Income and not an Expense but it wouldn’t work properly.
I fully realize that keeping this Cash Buffer category defeats the purpose of the Savings Budget philosophy because it enables you to go over budget, but we had a lot of variable expenses the last two years due to various life event things going on and I needed more of an immediate safety net without having to wait on the transfer of money from Online Savings into Spending all the time.
I could also use Fidelity’s built in process of automatically flowing money from a Savings account there into our Spending account but I get a better rate at Goldman.
Did any of these suggestions help? If so, please mark one as the solution.