Sunsetting the Original Envelope Budget

Hoping against hope that this day would never come…alas it looks like it has. I got the notification today when I tried to Analyze Budget History my envelope budget. This solution is going away.

The Savings Budget offered as an alternative is nowhere near as capable as this feature. I cannot for the life of me understand why Tiller would forfeit all these features. Looks like I have to start looking for an alternative…

hey @brewer.05 Take a look at this sheet I built as an alternate to the tiller Envelope. If you have any questions let me know.

OH i’m totally going to look into this (I just ordered but screwed up my email address… note sent). Envelope budgeting is what I felt really differentiated Tiller but as long as there’s some option I’ll be happy.

I’m out and about right now but will log in tonight and make sure you have access

I’m sorry we are sunsetting a beloved template, @brewer.05. I spent a lot of time building that template and the support scripts and it saddens me too.

There are a number of reasons why we have decided to make this change:

  • The Envelope Budget add-on permissions are broader than our current standard
  • The envelope budget template is not performant with medium to large data sets
  • The envelope budget template was too confusing to most users
  • The envelope budget template requires scripts for basic functionality (like changing the month)
  • The envelope budget user interface depends on onEdit() function calls that run code every time any cell is changed

It sounds like you have looked at the newer Savings Budget. The Savings Budget is a forward-looking, ground-up rebuild based on learnings from the origingal envelope budget concept with the following advantages:

  • Compatibility with Tiller’s Foundation template
  • In-category “rollover”/“envelope” savings workflows
  • Responsive performance
  • Simple to use and get started
  • Activation of savings workflows on a per-category basis
  • In-dashboard workflows to modify budgets and savings values
  • Budget & savings change-history logging
  • Compatibility with the Savings & Debt template to manage longer-term goals

I realize that not all the features in the original envelope budget made it into the Savings Budget. I also realize that personal-finance workflows can be… well… personal.

Sunsetting the envelope budget add-on helps us improve security & performance and also focus efforts on tools that we can maintain and that have had more success with the majority of users.

If you aren’t satisfied with the Savings Budget and haven’t checked out @richl’s Envelope Budget v2.0, it’s worth a look. It is a more faithful execution of an envelope budget system than either of the Tiller Labs templates. He has been responsive to user feedback and has put a ton of time into sanding off the rough edges.

Thanks Randy, I guess, as with almost everything, there are many layers to something that might not be immediately evident. Thank you for the explanation.

I really want to stick with Tiller applications so I’m going to try to make the Savings Budget work. I do hope that over time you guys add those features back in, it does seem like a lot of people use that budgeting method.


I know it is a bummer, @brewer.05.

Frankly, we took a pretty big swing at that first version of the envelope budget with a lot of advanced and niche functionality. It made the code and formulas pretty complicated to debug, execute, and maintain and also required a lot of learning and understanding from users. Some users, like you, pushed through and reaped the benefits of that complexity, but many users were not able to reach that point.

In subsequent templates, we’ve tried to better optimize for the balance between capability and simplicity. The Savings Budget is definitely a step in that direction— fewer advanced features, but relatively easy to onboard to and use… and, since the template is a spreadsheet, advanced features are always achievable with some elbow grease.

I’m curious what feature(s) in the Envelope Budget you miss when migrating to the Savings Budget.

I’m about 4 hours into trying to use the Savings Budget and honestly, there are some real improvements. I like the ability to have a month-by-month record of how I have adjusted my budgets. The absolute biggest thing I will miss is “rollover to”. I used that in many of my categories.

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I’m glad you liked the Rollover-To concept, @brewer.05. We spent a lot of time on that and I wasn’t sure if that concept was embraced.

I think there are alternative approaches to leverage Rollover To’s with the Savings Budget. Here is something I whipped up that creates an end-of-month workflow to run the rollover-to process.

To use it:

  1. Add a column called “Rollover To” to your Categories sheet.
  2. Copy the “Savings Budget Rollover To” sheet from this spreadsheet into a spreadsheet containing the Savings Budget.
  3. After a month has ended, select that period in the Savings Budget. Flip over to the new “Savings Budget Rollover To” sheet which will show all rollover-to transfers staged for implementation.
  4. In the new sheet, copy the range J12:J into the Savings Budget in I12:I. Be sure to paste as values.
  5. Run the Update Savings Budget workflow in the Tiller Community Solutions add-on.

The main downsides of this approach versus the Envelope Budget version are:

  • It’s manual… though it should be really quick.
  • If items change in the past, rollovers may need to be iteratively updated… so be careful to run once the past data is stable.

I did this pretty quickly so I’m sure it isn’t perfect. Hopefully it is close enough to get you started though.

Good luck with the migration!

I’m also finding the Savings Budget to pretty much meet my needs coming over from the envelope. I’m just starting new (not importing any old data) at this point outside of my ‘savings number(s)’, so July 1 was an easy place to start.

Def liked the previous “rollover to” feature - i’ll keep an eye on this manual step to see how it works!

Glad to hear you like the Savings Budget, @jbsmoove.
If you try the rollover-to workflow, let me know what you think.

Thanks @randy I’ll give that rollover a try at the end of July.

I spent this weekend getting everything moved over to a clean worksheet with the Savings budget. So far, so good. I got my custom dashboard all set-up again. In fact, I found a bug that I think will solve a problem that had me pulling my hair out for years. We’ll see August 1st if it’s fixed.

Hi @randy - waited a few days into August and now I’m ready to give this a try… couple of questions first:

  1. When I go to my Savings Budget Tab to add the updates, I assume I need to set the " Adjust ± Modifies" to “Savings”?
  2. What Month should I be running this in? I might be over-thinking this, but it seems like I should be adjusting my savings with August Selected (current month), even though I need to generate the ‘staged’ data with July selected…??

FYI I played around and decided to run this with success! To answer my own questions ::

  1. Mark the “Adjust Modifies” to “Savings”
  2. I ran the ‘update savings’ in the new month (in this instance, august) though I generated the rollover-to information from the previous month (july). I feel this most represents the original rollover-to scenario i’m used it; the journal captures all of this accurately (woo), and if you go back to the previous month it keeps the spreadsheet accurate for that time period.

Glad you got to the bottom of this, @jbsmoove.
Sorry for the slow response; I have been traveling (in Minnesota today!).

I hope you like the Savings Budget. I think it is less fussy and easier to use than the old Envelope Budget.

Is the “Rollover to” column (E) supposed to autopopulate? Because mine does not. I’m just not seeing how to direct the money.

Okay, I figured it out. I just created a Data Validation that looked-up values from the Categories sheet. So that works.

When I copied over the Rollover sheet (actually it just magically appeared in my budget sheet after I opened it) it created a column named “Rollover” in the Categories sheet. At least I think it created it, I know I didn’t and I don’t think it was there before. At any rate, I changed the name to “Rollover To” as the directions specify, and now it works a treat.

Thank you!

@brewer.05, I’m glad you were able to get transitioned. I was thinking of you as I was writing the sunset announcement “He is going to be upset by this decision” - as I’m sure many others are. @randy explained well our decision for sunsetting this template/add-on so I don’t have much to add there.

But I would love more feedback from you on your perceptions of the differences between the two. What worked well in the Envelope Budget that doesn’t work so well in the Savings Budget? Or is missing in the Savings Budget? And vice versa.

Having customer testimonials about this transition will be really helpful for encouraging others that it’s not too hard to get switched and stick with Tiller.