Recalibrating budgets during the year

I was wondering how others manage rolling budgets, updating available budgets based on current spending, within Tiller. A simple example would be beginning year with a $12,000 travel budget allocated $1000/month because trips aren’t yet planned. You don’t spend in Jan/Feb/Mar ($3,000 not yet spent), then spend $2,500 in April. So now April “looks like” you’ve overspent by $1,500 in your monthly tracking.

I’ve created a separate spreadsheet which then feeds my Categories line item for this type of expense, where I’ll move unspent budgets (i.e. Jan/Feb/Mar) averaged out to remaining months available for next expenditure.

If you’ve followed this example so far, has anyone struggled with a similar budgeting and tracking problem? My spreadsheet skills are basic so maybe someone has solved this with more robust programming. Thanks!

Have you checked out the Savings Budget template, @isussman1228? I think it would work well for the example you provided.


Wow that could work. Requires lots of work flow learning for me to understand the budget adjustments I make and the effects on other sheets.

For example, I’m using the Budget Plan sheet to populate my budgets on my Categories sheet. How do Savings Budget changes work in this environment? Are they overwriting the Budget Plan inputs? Is this okay or might it break something else? Will it effect anything transitioning to the next year?

The Savings Budget template allows me to do what I need. I just like to understand the other outcomes. Thanks Randy.

Randy - I use the newer Budget Plan which overwrites the Category sheet for setting budgets. When the Savings Budget moves money around, does it overwrites the Category sheet? Is this a conflict using the Budget Plan and the Savings Budget together?

That’s right, I think, @isussman1228. @jpfieber can confirm, but I believe adjustments to the monthly savings will work fine but adjustments to the monthly budgets will break the Budget Plan formulas.

I don’t like changing my budgets mid year because I think it’s interesting to keep track of how my assumptions have changed over time. But I also have challenges with trying to allocate spending to the right month, so I created a column in my Yearly Budget template to let me see the YTD spend. It’s not fancy - I have a cell in which I select which month is the “current” month, and then use an array formula to sum the budget and actual columns up to that month. It won’t entirely fix your problem, but I find it useful to see how I’m doing on a YTD basis instead of looking at one month at a time.

Thanks! Always interested in new ideas. I’ve not yet conquered the array formula. Could you share how you’ve set this up?

I take an unconventional approach but it works for me. Here’s what I do using your example:

  1. Budget $1000/mo in the Travel category
  2. Transfer $1000/mo to a savings acct. Instead of categorizing this transaction as Transfer, I categorize as Travel.
  3. Now my monthly actual vs budget for Travel in each month (Jan-Mar) is net $0 - right on budget!
  4. I take trip in Apr and spend $2500. I categorize each transaction (meals, transportation, hotel, etc) as Transfer. I also tag each transaction with a trip name like 2023 New York City.
  5. Next I use the tags report (or you can filter within your Transactions sheet) for all transactions using that trip tag to get a total spent ($2500 in this example).
  6. Finally I transfer this total trip cost amount to my checking account and categorize this one transaction as Transfer with a tag of the trip name. Now my all my transfer transactions zero out for that tag.
  7. I continue to save $1000/mo for Travel in Apr and all following months.

Since my actuals for Travel each month are the same ($1000 moved to a travel savings acct), my travel spend appears very consistent, predictable, and also on budget.

Since transfers are not included as a category in my budget or in my actuals tracking, I don’t see the ups and downs in my monthly reports as I take trips. I just need to make sure I “reimburse” my checking account for the actual trip expenses after they occur so that Transfers maintains a net zero balance.

I have confidence that I won’t overspend my $12,000 for that year, because I can only spend what is available from travel savings account.

Hope there is something helpful in the above you can use.

Step 6 may not have been clear. I transfer the total amount of all trip expenses from the travel savings account to my checking account. This is the “reimburse” step. So I’m making actual purchases for the trip from my checking account and reimbursing checking from my accumulated savings from my travel savings account.

@isussman1228 If you use Savings Budget to modify “Budget” it will break Budget Plan since they both rely on the Categories sheet to hold the budget information. That’s just how the Foundation Template is setup. Plus, it would probably get confusing using two budgeting tools. You can, however, use the Savings Budget “Savings” feature, since it keeps it’s changes within the Savings Budget sheet.