This is a prototype Savings Goal Tracker that we’d love some feedback on to help us decide next steps with supported savings workflows.
The goal was to keep it really simple and offer a way to track goals against real world account balances. This solution de-couples savings goals from budgeting and complex transaction workflows.
While they’re definitely intertwined and budgeting is a key for many who have savings goals, they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
- Open the Savings Goals template
- Copy the Savings Goals template into your Tiller-powered Google Sheet, alternatively you can just make a copy (from the File menu) of the demo sheet and play around with it there.
- In column D, clear out and input your own savings goal names. These are the things you’re saving for, like a down payment on a house, a new car, or retirement. These don’t have to be associated with categories.
- Select the savings account that will fund the goal in the Funding Account column. This account’s balance will fund the goals it is assigned to and is where you’ll deposit money each month to reach your goals. Note this should be an account you’re not using for day to day spending.
- Assign the Goal Target amount. This is the total amount of money you need to save for each goal.
- Set a ranking for the goals to indicate which should be funded first within the assigned Funding Account.
- Check off each account as “Active” to have it show in the table to the right.
After setting up your goals you’ll see a breakdown of how much you’ve saved, your total goal amount and how much more you need to save plus the percent funded and a progress bar.
Each goal is grouped under the funding account it’s assigned to so you can see each goal in the context of how much is available in that account and other goals it’s funding. This will show you how close you are to reaching each goal.
You can select one of the goals from the drop downs above the pie charts to get a different visual of your progress for up to three goals.
For personal use and testing purposes only. At this time, please do not share modified versions of this solution. © 2023 Tiller
- The intent is to use this with an actual savings account, it won’t work to use a checking account that’s also funding your day to day expenses
- If you have feedback, questions, or find any bugs chime in with a reply below.
Nothing at this time…
I think this is a great idea and can be very useful, however, need the ability to fund a single goal from multiple accounts. Especially goals like Retirement are usually funded from multiple accounts (401K, IRAs, etc…)
That’s great feedback, thank you! I do think that’s going to be a limitation with this and this is probably better for short term/smaller savings goals.
Unfortunately, this won’t work for my emergency fund as I have a high-interest earning checking account that I use for both daily transactions and my emergency savings. I will give it a try for other goals.
I did something different. I categorize savings goals outside of retirement as funds. I then track them, whenever I contribute to the funds. My savings funds have start and stop windows. This permits me to re-use them. The windows also allow me to put future savings funds on my radar for future commitments. By establishing start and stop times, I can calculate my monthly contribution to meet my goal. I also developed a “Target” computation for dashboarding. In this example, you will see I have yet to contribute to my emergency fund for the month so I am off-target until I do. The Contributions Tracker on the right is a query against Transactions for the last 10 fund contributions.
Hi @heather - loving the dashboard visual. I’ve moved away from the existing savings goal tracker sheet as I found it hard to incorporate with our weekly / monthly workflow. We do have a separate savings account where we keep emergency fund money along with budgeted transfers each month to fund savings goals like travel, house stuff, etc. These transfers come out of our checking account and go right into our savings account once per month so we can keep tabs on it via the Monthly Budget sheet.
Can you explain in more detail how this sheet would work best from a workflow perspective in case others like myself have something started to fund short / mid-term savings goals?
@dburke03 - thanks for sharing more about your workflow.
Since the intent is that you’re using an actual savings account (not an account you used for day to day expenses) the recommendation would be to transfer money to those savings accounts regularly to continue funding the goal, but those transactions won’t reflect anywhere on this dashboard. It’s only looking at your account balances.
If you don’t need to keep track of that transfer on your budget then just categorize both sides of the money moving from check to savings as a transfer (use a Transfer type category).
If you do want to factor savings transfers into your budget you can use an expense type category and set the budget you want to set aside each month toward savings. The outflow would be categorized with that category and the inflow (positive money flowing into the the savings account) would be categorized as a transfer.
So in short, you can still use the monthly budget and budget for those savings but this dashboard is the reality check “Do I really have the money or not”
Welcome @ckblack007 !
Thanks for sharing your workflow and a preview of what you’ve built Always appreciate seeing how people are leveraging Tiller and building their own custom workflows.
As I was thinking about it @wendyraelynn it could actually work if there is enough money in the checking account to cover every day spending and the savings. Might be worth testing out anyway
This is pretty close to what I am looking for to create savings “buckets”. However, what I am looking for is something that allows me to add money each month to my buckets from the same savings account. For instance, if I am saving monthly for a new car and a home improvement project, I would like to add money to each bucket. Also, some goals have a “due date”. If I need to save $40,000 in 5 years for a car, I would like to show that.
This is a great spreadsheet! Thanks for sharing.
Does this mean that you have managed to get the template to address the challenges you mentioned in your previous post, @secullip?
I have a similar need to what @secullip explains. I think this gets pretty close but the ranking feature gets in the way. When using a single account, rather than having to fund one goal completely before starting the next, can the funds be manually allocated (or some way other than ranking)? That would allow multiple savings goals in a single account, each with potentially different levels of progress.
Welcome @jshelham and @secullip
Thanks for this awesome feedback. We knew that a way to “allocate” the amount in a savings account to a specific goal vs it being fully funded before going on to the next would be a requested feature
There are a couple ways I could envision this working in the sheet.
- Typing in a manual amount for the goal (e.g. $500 of the $700 balance goes to the new bike fund)
- Set a % of the balance goes to a specific goal
- Something else
The drawback of option 1 is that you have to manually allocate the balances, which can become tedious and people may forget to do it. The drawback of option 2 is that it’s % based so as the balance moves around it may not accurately reflect how you want the amounts to be broken out and gets more complicated if a non-savings account is used (though this type of feature would make it viable to use a non-savings account)
Curious how others could envision this working in practice in the spreadsheet.
Looks useful enough that I hope it’s in XLS too. Agree with the discussion so far that it would be helpful for basic goals and benefit even more with a couple other features, including:
- ability to combine multiple accounts against a shared goal
- ability to allocate an account first against a goal also used for transactions (it would fit the emergency funds goal and show you’re either at 100% as a max, or below it)
- general need for “coffee can” savings allocation; I have yet to see a tool that lets an account be tracked against multiple goals, either in order or evenly distributed. My solution for years has been to open four other bank accounts (2 checking, 2 savings at just two extra institutions)
Thanks for the feedback, @JasonS. All of our “product” (i.e. not community) templates will be available for both Sheets and Excel, so the XLS version is coming.
We appreciate all the other suggestions. Will try to balance those very popular workflows against the need to keep the template simple and general-purpose.
This is great. I like it more than the other Savings & Dept sheet because of the rank-based system, really good stuff. Here are a couple of things I wish it had.
- Ability to set an amount you are adding to each Funding Account on a monthly basis.
- The option to add an Average RoR per each account.
- From that it would provide an estimated date of completion for each goal.
I think this might extend the sheet past its intentions, but I think it would be beneficial when stacking up multiple goals and finding when they might be completed by.
Thanks so much for the input and wish list @tyler.britton11 .
I tried this out, and have some notes:
I like the idea of pooling multiple savings accounts, and having my goals be agnostic as to where the money actually is. Having to match a goal to a single account is not ideal.
I have a similar sheet to this, and I sum up the savings accounts that I want to use, and my goals dip into that total.
Also, being able to devote “some” into several goals would be ideal for me, instead of just a waterfall of completely filling a goal in order of rank.
Thanks so much for your feedback here!
Where does the “Funding Account” column pull from? I have several capital One savings accounts that are being combined into one name instead of the individual accounts.