Tiller budget in Airtable!

What is the goal of your workflow? What problem does it solve, or how does it help you?
I organize my life in Airtable (and work there!). I’ve been looking for a way to track my finances in Airtable forever! My budgeting process used to consist of manual and painful CSV uploads on a monthly basis which I’d always neglect to do. That is, until I discovered Tiller!

Even with Tiller, I wanted to a way to track my finances in Airtable without having to resort to manually copy pasting transaction from the spreadsheet to Airtable. So I used a second tool – parabola.io – that is a no-code tool that can sync the spreadsheet with Airtable.

I’ll provide more context below but you can watch a quick video where I explain the whole process here on my Automate All the Things Youtube channel.

How did you come up with the idea for your workflow?
I was searching for a way to automatically track all my transactions in Airtable without having to write a lot of custom code or integrate with Plaid.

Please describe your workflow. What are the sheets? Does it use any custom scripts or formulas?
Airtable is at it’s core a relation database so I created base (template here) with three tables: transactions, vendors and balances.

Transactions contain, well, transactions :slight_smile: They’re basically imported every night from Tiller.

Vendors lets me categorize each transactions (this is the relational database part of the build). Everytime an existing vendor has a new transaction, it creates a link between the vendor and the transaction which autocategorizes the transaction. It also lets me visualize how much I spend at vendors (and per category) using blocks.

Finally, I import daily account balances into a third sheet.

All of the syncing between the Tiller sheet and Airtable is done using Parabola. Parabola “imports” both data sources at a specified daily time and drop all existing transactions and then lets me send new transactions to Airtable. I explain this process in more detail here.

Anything else you’d like people to know?
There’s a few things I’m working on improving:

  • Some vendors change their name on transactions (adding date for instance) so I’m working on a script to automatically mapping those
  • Getting daily balances is a little bit of a struggle since they don’t all come on the same day

Is it ok for others to copy, use, and modify your workflow?
Of course!

If you said yes above, please make a copy of your workflow and share the copy’s URL:
Here is everything you need

  • Airtable template is here
  • Parabola recipe is here
  • If you want to learn Airtable, we run daily webinars at airtable.com/webinars (say hi if you join!)
  • I also have a free course on Airtable here

Let me know if you have any Qs!

Now, that’s just exceedingly cool. It’s way more than I need personally, for finances but it is fascinating to see how you put it all together and Airtable looks pretty amazing. Thanks for this!

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Thanks so much for sharing, @akorenblit. Your setup and documentation are thorough.

I’ve been curious about how Airtable fits with personal finance and it is great to see momentum behind this automation.

Randy

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Always looking to further automate my finances and it’s why I use Tiller as it allows this (to a degree). Given that I rely heavily on the existing Tiller sheets to manage my finances, I’m wondering why I would also import them to Airtable. Do you get something else by doing this that Tiller doesn’t offer or do you just like working in the Airtable interface.

TL;DR: what’s the advantage to doing this alongside Tiller?

I did something similar to Zapier! So amazing!

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Yes, I had the exact same question. What can I do in Airtable that I can’t already do in the Foundation template?

This is a great question!

Disclaimer: I work at Airtable and I manage most of my life in Airtable (same base where I track my finances, I also keep a list of books I want to read, upcoming events, timetracking etc. etc.)

That said, on the finance management front, some of the reasons I prefer Airtable:

  • Views are the biggest reason I prefer Airtable to sheets, as many of you I have many accounts and it becomes tedious to recreate filters in the sheet to find the right transactions (this month, this week, to be split with someone etc.). I have a lot of views

  • The relation DB structure of Airtable lets me automap vendors to a category (I think this is possible in the template but requires mapping every transaction instead of vendors)
  • I clean up vendor names using the scripting block so if say my grocery store adds the date to vendor name (e.g. grocerystoreDDDMM), I run a script that cuts out the DDDMM and automaps the transaction to the right vendor (and category)
  • I really like the dashboard it creates which lets me look at monthly spend categories, see how much I’m over/under every month in a way that looks good
  • Finally, airtable is a living product that keeps adding a bunch of functionality – I want to to build this base into a command center for my finances and Airtable feels like the right tool make that happen.

@akorenblit, I’ve updated your trust level so you can add images/links.

@stevenv, awesome you’re using a Zapier workflow! Would you consider sharing in Show & Tell? Did you toggle on the Transactions sheet sorting override in the Tiller Money Feeds add-on so the rows stay at the bottom or did you figure out another way to make it work? Or perhaps your’e in a Feed Bot sheet and we toggled off the sort for you?

I didn’t know I could override the feed! Going to update my balance updates to Zapier so I can always get latest! Thanks for the note

@akorenblit, just a note that override is only for the Transactions sheet, not Balance History. That’s something we could add pretty easily I think if desired.

Are you doing double-entry Accounting in Airtable?

Hi Cjwvest!

It’s been a while since I took any accounting classes but perusing the universe, it seems possible! Here’s a base that track what seems like a double entry accounting system. There are a few threads on the community as well about double entry accounting.

Hope that helps!

Best
Aron

Want to learn Airtable? Join me for a webinar at airtable.com/webinar

Yes! What’s the best way to showcase?

@stevenv, just share it under this Show & Tell category. When you click “new topic” it will have a topic template to prompt you for the helpful info for sharing your work. If any of it doesn’t apply you can skip it or modify as needed.

You can see Aron’s video on this project right here: https://youtu.be/Fm--ov7TshM