Savings Budget Adoption Advice!

I’m a long time Tiller fan and user, and I’d like to make the savings budget work for me. Zero based budgeting makes a lot of sense, but I am struggling to adopt.

What are some pro tips? Do you review it each day before heading out? Do you work to turn every bar green or just let it turn red and say “I’ll do better next month?” What is the secret sauce to this method?

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This is a great seed for a discussion, @robdog151. I believe many people categorize through the month then transfer between categories toward month’s end to reallocate tactically (“turn every bar green”). I’m built the budget but am not a hardcore budgeter myself.

I know @cculber2 has opinions and also that @richl is very rigorous about his methodology and has built and shared his own very-impressive tool.

Hi @robdog151,

When I had more time (read: before our daughter was born) I would categorize almost daily. Now I work through transactions when I get the chance.

I generally fall into the “turn every bar green” camp, with a few exceptions. If there is an apparent shortfall that was not planned for that will self-resolve, such as when the timing of an automatic bill payment transaction puts more than the usual amount in the same month, I will not move money around to keep it green.

The biggest tip I have is to balance your income and expense budgets (every dollar has a job). Some budgeted expense categories will only exist as an envelope for savings goals and will never see actual transactions. The primary intent is to bring awareness to where earned money is going, even if it is only accumulating in savings.

Great advice! I also have limited time and have to remember the point is to watch the categories, not the pennies (each day). I generally know if I have $50 or $500 somewhere. I would love the capability to plan for future expenses and fill a savings bar within the Savings Budget (I know about the Savings and debt Planner), but it’d be great to have it on the same sheet.

That is actually something I do with the Savings Budget sheet as described in my previous post. For planned future expenses I budget towards expense categories that don’t get assigned to transactions: they exist only to accumulate unspent money. When the actual expense comes I move the savings from the accumulating category to the applicable transaction category. For bi-monthly or less frequent recurring transactions, I take a similar approach and budget (amount)/(frequency in months) per month toward the expense category so that the money will accumulate until the transaction occurs, covering the total amount.

Ah! I see it now! Thanks for explaining, I’ve started adding lots of future expenses (mostly home ownership stuff haha).