I’m a huge fan of the zero sum budgeting template. I used Mint for years and had to hand calculate estimates to see if the money I was setting aside in all my budget lines actually existed somewhere in a bank account. I always feared that I would need to tap into a large rollover balance for an emergency or other large purchase and I would have spent the money elsewhere without paying attention and it wouldn’t actually be there. With Tiller, that is no longer a problem.
I created a sheet I named Deferred Costs. I pull in the actual balances from my cash accounts (checking and an internet savings account). Add those up and reconcile that total against the total rollover savings from the budget sheet. If the difference is $0.00, I sleep well knowing I have actually saved everything I think I have. I can move money from my checking to savings and back without a problem, the sheet automatically adjusts. I added little column that calculates what percentage of my cash is in savings (earning a little bit of interest) versus checking (earning almost nothing).
This system will break down however when a bill gets paid out of checking that would not appear in the rollover. It would suddenly appear as though I’m behind on my deferred rollover savings. In order to fix this, I created a little table in the same sheet that sums up all the things that come out of my checking account each month. Those values are automatically pulled from the appropriate “Actual” cells in the Monthly Budget Dashboard (eg. mortgage, car payment, automatic investment). I adjust my reconciliation total to reflect those realtime costs and I can get back to $0.00. I left a few rows for other things that I wasn’t expecting like one-time check I had to write or unexpected ATM withdrawal. I just manually enter those values in the little table and it’s not really a hassle. This works well because I only have about 15 things each month that get paid out of checking. Everything else goes on a cash back credit card that we just pay off each month.
I’ve found this to a great way to make sure what I think is happening in my budget is actually happening in real life. It’s great peace of mind. Thanks Tiller!