Tiller Budget (via Tiller Add-on) Comprehensive Guide

What is the Tiller Budget?

The Tiller Budget is a dynamic spreadsheet budgeting template that allows you to use an envelope or zero sum budgeting style, set and monitor savings goals, and automate many aspects of budgeting.

Quick Start Guide

1. Install the Tiller Budget into a Google Sheet

The Tiller Budget is accessible via the Tiller add-on.

  1. Make sure you have a trial or active Tiller subscription and have connected at least one account to the Tiller Console.
  2. Open this template sheet that has both the Tiller Money Feeds and Tiller add-on pre-installed.
  3. Click “Add to sheets” under the Tiller add-on and authorize it to run with your Google Account.
  4. Click “Use > Budget > Start” This will add the Transactions, Balance History, and Categories sheets to the Google Sheet.
  5. Create your first budget by customizing the interval settings.

Feed data to the Tiller Budget

  1. Open the Add-ons menu at the top of the Google Sheet
  2. Choose “Document Add-ons”
  3. Click “Use” under the Tiller Money Feeds add-on
  4. Authorize the add-on to run using your Tiller subscribed gmail account.
  5. Sign in to the Tiller Money Feeds add-on
  6. Follow the prompts to link your sheet and accounts.

Feel free to delete the welcome tab.

2. Customize your budget

Your customized budget dashboard is added to your Google Sheet using the Tiller Google Sheets add-on. Choose Tiller > Budget > “Start” from the Add-ons menu at the top of your template. Accept the add-on permissions. Choose monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly for the interval and then customize your start date settings.

Learn more about creating your first budget sheet.

3. Refine your categories

Your Tiller spreadsheet comes loaded with example categories, but you can refine these to meet you unique financial situation. Remember to keep it simple. Where does your money go each month? Overwrite or delete any example groups and categories you don’t need. Start by filling in the Group, Category, and Type.

What about all those other columns? You can learn about those later or dive in here.

4. Check in on your automated transactions

Tiller automatically adds transactions from linked accounts to your Transactions sheet each day. Tiller can pull up to 90 days worth of data for most institutions. It’s a good idea to spend some time categorizing your transactions from the prior period up to today. This step will quickly help you gain insights on where your money is going and allow you set realistic budget targets.

Learn more about categorizing transactions

Tips

If categorizing last period’s transactions seems too overwhelming don’t worry about it! Start from this week or today, and return every few days to categorize and check in on your progress. You can always adjust and refocus next budget period.

If you’d like a quicker way to categorize check out our Google Sheets Add-on, AutoCat: Getting Started with AutoCat

5. Refine your budget

Review your Budget dashboard to see how you’re doing and make adjustments as necessary based on the prior period actuals. Type a new budget amount into the light green Adjust cell (column M) for each category to set the category’s budget value.

Learn how to use the budget sheet

Setting Up Categories in Your Budget

The Categories sheet is where you’ll refine the categories you’ll use to categorize transactions on the Transactions sheet. You can create up to 200 unique categories. We start you off with a base set of example categories, but you can overwrite or delete these entirely. Your categories should reflect the way you want to organize your budget. Where do you spend your money and how do you earn it?

  1. Refine your category list. Start in the category column. Overwrite or delete any example categories you don’t want to use.
  2. Decide on your groups . The example categories offer some basic guidelines like Living, Income Sources, and Discretionary. You can overwrite these or delete them to customize your groups list.
  3. Assign a type. Types include expense, income, or transfer.

At a minimum all categories need a group and type.

Transfer types

Transfer types are great for categories to specify money moving between accounts, like making a credit card or loan payment or tracking reimbursements from your employer. They can also be used to designate transactions related to savings when both accounts are connected.

Transfer types are hidden from the Budget sheets by default.

Read more about using the transfer category.

Setting the Subtype for a Category

If you’d like to use the reallocate budget capability in the Tiller Personal Budget add-on assign a subtype to your categories. Subtypes are fixed or flex.

Fixed is for expenses where the amount doesn’t change each period.
Flex is for expenses were the amount varies from period to period.

Note: Categories that are income or transfer types should always have a blank subtype.

Assigning A Rollover To for a Category

If you want to use the envelope budgeting method, so your unspent (i.e. remaining) budget amounts from the current period roll over into the next period you’ll want to assign a Rollover To category to each of your categories.

Note: If you leave this blank, no remaining budget amounts will roll into the next period.

You can assign the Rollover To category to be the same category or you can set it to be another category. For example, if you’d like any remaining budget for your groceries category to always go to your Vacation category you can use this column to set that up.

Tip

To quickly assign the Rollover To category to be the same as the Category in this row (column A) type =A2 into the Rollover To field and use the quick fill method to drag down this formula starting in row 2.

Setting a Savings Target

To designate a category as a savings category (i.e. savings goal) type an amount into the Savings Target column for a category. Doing so will change the appearance of the progress indicator on the Budget sheet to show you your percent progress toward that savings target.

Read more about how savings goals work

Using Hide from Reports

If there are other categories you’d like to exclude from your Budget dashboards you can hide them in the “Hide from Reports” column. Transfers are hidden by default.

Set Up Your First Budget

Once you’ve set up your groups and categories, and categorized transactions from last period up to today, it’s time to customize your budget.

  1. Open the Add-ons menu at the top of the Google Sheet
  2. Choose Tiller
  3. Choose Budget
  4. Choose Create Budget

Note: If you don’t see “Tiller” in the add-ons menu, click here to install it by clicking “Free.”

You can choose to create a monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly budget.

Customizing Budget Interval, Mode, and Start Day Settings

Creating Monthly Budgets

You can create a monthly budget starting on a specific day of the month or a specific week day of the month (i.e. the first Monday of the month).

  1. Set the Period to Monthly.
  2. Choose a mode. Choosing Day will allow you to set the specific numeric day of the month you want the budget to start on. Choosing first, second, third, or fourth will allow you to set a start day as Monday-Sunday (e.g. a monthly budget that starts on the First Monday of the month)
  3. Choose a start day. Either the day of the month or the day of the week.

Creating Bi-weekly Budgets

You can create a bi-weekly budget that starts on a specific weekday of the month like the second Thursday of the month. Bi-weekly budgets run as two week increments so some months you may have three bi-weekly budget periods that span more than one month (i.e. the start dates begin to drift).

  1. Set the period to bi-weekly.
  2. Choose a mode. Choosing first, second, third, or fourth will allow you to set a start day as Monday-Sunday (e.g. a bi-weekly budget that starts on the First Monday of the month.)
  3. Choose a weekday for the start day.

Creating weekly budgets

You can create a weekly budget that starts on a specific weekday every week.

  1. Set the period to weekly.
  2. There are no mode options for weekly budgets.
  3. Choose a weekday, Sunday through Saturday, for the start day.

Understanding Your Budget Dashboard

Your budget dashboard is your command center for tracking your progress throughout your budget period.

Reviewing Budget Periods

Use the Year, Month, and Period selection area at the top of the Budget dashboard to navigate between past, current, and future budget periods.

New budget periods are created for you automatically when the new period starts and will be available here based on the budget configuration settings you’ve chosen for a given budget interval (e.g. a new weekly budget starting on Sunday will automatically become available via these drop downs every Sunday).

Information Dashboard

The information dashboard displayed at the top of your Budget sheet gives you a high level view of how you’re doing.

Categorize Your Spending

Your budget will be the most accurate if you stay on top of categorizing your transactions. If there are new transactions waiting to be categorized you’ll see an alert that indicates how many are waiting. If you’re current with your categorizing you’ll see this indicated as well. If you notice that the display indicates there aren’t any to categorize, but you’re expecting some, visit your Tiller Console to trigger a refresh.

Income & Expense Graphs

These four bars represent your actuals (left) against your budgeted amount (right) for income and expenses.

Budget Status Indicators

A) The amount of expense budget you have remaining, the percentage of your total expense budget it represents, and the amount of time left in the current period.

B) The amount of money that’s available to allocate from your expected income budget. If you’re a zero budgeter, you want to see a big green check mark here. This is essentially, also your planned cashflow.

C) The total amount of rollover (savings) money that you have across all your categories, including how your Rollover Adjustment factors into this amount.

D) The amount of money represented by your transfers and the total number of transfers this period. Ideally, you probably want this to be $0. Read more about transfers.

Budget Detail

The Budget Detail area is where you track your progress for each budget category throughout the period. Your non-hidden categories are displayed here and organized by type, Income and then Expense, and then by group within each type.

Columns in the Budget Detail area

Category

The name of your category. Make changes to this on the Categories sheet.

Progress

A spark line depicting your actuals against your budget or your % progress toward a savings goal.

Rollover

The amount of money from the available column that was rolled over from a previous period into this period for this category. Click here to learn more about rollover budgeting.

Budgeted

The amount you’ve budgeted for this category for this period.

Actuals

The amount you’ve actually spent or earned for this category for this period.

Available

The sum of the budgeted and rollover minus the actuals for this period for expenses. The sum of budgeted and actual minus the rollover for income.

Adjust

An editable cell for adjusting budget amounts or rollovers. Read more on how to use this cell.

Prior

The amount of actual spending or earnings for the category from the prior period.

Monitoring and Managing Your Budget

There are a few key simple workflows you’ll want to use to stay on top of your budgeting with Tiller.

Key Workflows

To manage your budget and stay on track we recommend that you check in on transactions and categorize them every few days and adjust budgets as necessary.

Categorize transactions

This one is key to making sure your budget is accurate. Visit your transactions sheet a few times a week to categorize what’s new. Your Budget dashboard will display a message at the top if you have uncategorized transactions.

Adjusting budgets

If you find that you’re overspending in one category you may want to move budgeted money from another category to cover that overspending.

Use the Adjust (column M) cell shortcuts to quickly subtract money from one category and add it to another.

For example if you need to move budget money from your restaurants category to your groceries category:

  1. Type b-50 into the Adjust cell for Restaurants
  2. Type b+50 into the Adjust cell for Groceries

Adjusting Category Budget Plans With Dynamic Shortcuts

Adjust your budgeted amount for a category using these dynamic shortcut options:

  1. Type an amount (e.g. 300) into the Adjust cell for a category to overwrite the value in the Budgeted column for that category.
  2. Type b+100 into the adjust cell for a category to add $100 to the current budgeted amount.
  3. Type b-100 into the adjust cell for a category to subtract $100 from the current budgeted amount.

Adjusting Category Rollovers With Dynamic Shortcuts

Adjust your category rollover amounts using these dynamics shortcut options:

  1. Type r=300 into the Adjust cell for a category to overwrite the value in the Rollover column for that category.
  2. Type r+100 into the Adjust cell for a category to add $100 to the current rollover amount.
  3. Type r-100 into the Adjust cell for a category to subtract $100 from the current rollover amount.

Making Adjustments using the Adjust Category Sidebar

Use the Tiller Personal Budget add-on to help you make adjustments to your category budgets and rollovers.

  1. Open the Add-ons menu at the top of the Google Sheet
  2. Choose Tiller Personal Budget
  3. Choose Adjust Category
  4. Choose the category that you want to move budget or rollover amount from. You can choose “none” if you need to add value to the category’s budget amount or rollover.
  5. Choose the category that you want to move budget or rollover amount to. You can choose “none” if you need to subtract value from the category’s budget amount or rollover balance.
  6. Use the radio button options to choose where the money is coming from Budget or Rollover.
  7. Use the radio button options Choose where the money is going to Budget or Rollover.
  8. Click Adjust.

Adding Categories

If you find that you have a transaction come across that you don’t have a category for yet you may need to add a new one to your Categories sheet.

  1. Add the new category to your Categories sheet being sure to assign at least a group and type.
  2. Assign a budget amount for the new category on your Budget dashboard in the adjust column (Column M)
  3. If you’re using zero sum or envelope budgeting be sure to adjust money from the planned budget for another category to cover this new one and keep your budget in balance.

Note: you may notice it takes several seconds for the new budget amount to appear for a new category. This is normal, pay attention to the progress bar in the top right of your sheet.

Read more about setting up categories on the Categories sheet

Period Start & End Workflows

Period end workflows

When the period ends there are a few things you’ll want to pay attention to:

  1. Categorized transactions - did you categorize everything from last period? If not, spend some time in your Transactions sheet categorizing.
  2. Uncleared transactions - perhaps some transactions haven’t cleared yet, and may end up on your new period’s budget, but should really be allocated to last period. When they do show up you can simply change the date in the date column to have them allocated to the correct period.
  3. Run Analyze Budgets History - run the Analyze Budgets History option from the Tiller Add-on Budget menu anytime you make edits to the previous period, like categorizing transactions, to get the most accurate picture of your current period’s budget.

Read more on how to run Analyze Budgets History

Period start workflows

When you’re ready to start planning for the new current period here’s what you’ll want to do:

  1. Make sure you’ve tidied up the data from the prior period using the Period End steps above.
  2. Set your new budget amounts for each category using the Adjust cell on the Budget dashboard.

Tip:
If you’d like to have the Tiller Add-on budgeting features help you automatically proportionally distribute your expected expense budget to your categories read more about the Reallocate Current Period feature.

Setting and Tracking Savings Goals

Set up and track your savings goals with the Tiller Budget to see how close you are to meeting your financial goals.

How to Create a Savings Goal

  1. Enter an amount into the Savings Target column on your Categories sheet for a category.
  2. Select the category that represents the savings goal from the Rollover To dropdown.

If you’re NOT using envelope or Zero Sum budgeting:

  1. Open the Google Sheets Add-ons menu and choose Tiller > Budget > Manage Rollover Adjustments and choose “Yes” to turn off the Rollover Adjustments calculation.

Tracking Progress for Savings Goals

When you designate a category as a savings goal the progress indicator on the Budget dashboard will change from a sparkline to an icon with a percent.

The percentage is based on the amount displayed in the available column for that category. Available = Budget + Rollover.

Your progress indicator is assuming you will save the amount in the Budget column this period and your actual will be $0. If you’re saving, and not spending in this category.

The savings goal percentage indicator moves across all periods as long as you have the savings goal “turned on” (i.e. a Savings Target is assigned on the Categories sheet) and does not reset when a new period starts like the progress bar for other non-savings categories.

Savings Goal FAQ

How do I know I’ve saved if my “Actual” says $0?

The amount you have saved is the amount displayed in the Available column. If you didn’t actually save (or not spend) the amount of money that you have allocated (Budget column) make adjustments from savings category budget or rollover to make sure the Available column reflects what you’ve actually saved for this category.

If you saved more that you originally planned to budget in a period, adjust the budget or rollover accordingly.

How should I categorize if I transfer money between checking and savings?

If you transfer money from a checking account to a savings account you would want to categorize both transactions, 1) money moving out of checking (the debit, negative amount) and 2) money moving into savings (the credit, positive) using the category for this savings goal so you have a net of $0 and your rollover amount in the next period will reflect what you’ve saved (i.e. your Budgeted amount).

How can I turn off a savings goal when I’m ready to spend?

When you’ve saved up enough and you’re finally ready to take that vacation you might want to “turn the savings goal off.”

To “turn off” a savings goal simply remove the Savings Target amount from the category on the Categories sheet and categorize spending in for this Category accordingly. You’ll see your available balance decline as you spend funds from this category.

When vacation is over and you want to turn it back on to start saving for next year just add a new savings target.

What happens if I spend money in a savings goal category before turning it off?

This is a perfectly normal and desirable thing to do. Perhaps you’re saving for a vacation to Hawaii and need to buy the plane ticket in advance. You can categorize the plane ticket purchase as “Hawaii vacation” and your available savings fund will decrease and so will your % progress indicator.

If part of saving was to purchase the ticket you may want to decrease the Savings Target by the amount of the airfare on your Categories sheet to reflect how much more you need to save to finish saving for the goal and other vacation expenses.

Alternatively, you could have a separate goal, just for the airfare portion, and a “vacation spending” goal for the rest of the expenses.

Setting Up A Budget for Zero Sum or Envelope Budgeting

To use the Tiller budget for envelope or zero sum budgeting you’ll want to set up the rollover feature in the template.

What is Rollover Budgeting?

The rollover features built in to Tiller’s budgeting tools are useful if you prefer to use the envelope or zero sum budgeting method and want to have unspent budget amounts for a category roll over into the next period. The intent is that you allocate every dollar you plan to earn to an expense category, including savings.

Category rollovers are like mini, virtual savings accounts. As you spend and receive income, you will accrue savings (or debt) on a category-by-category level. The net budget-versus-actuals on each of these categories will accrue as a rollover at the end of each period. You may start a period with a favorable rollover if you underspent on Groceries, for example, or an unfavorable rollover if you had an unexpected Auto repair.

Net Actuals = Total Rollover

Your Total Rollover savings, the sum of all of the category rollovers should track one-to-one to your Net Actuals. As with savings, if you make more than you spend during a period, your Total Rollover should increase; the contrary is also true. For example, if you make $5,000 in a period, but manage spending to $4,000 (net actuals +$1,000), the net sum of all of your rollovers for that period should be $1,000.

Here’s how rollover budgeting works with the Tiller Budget template:

  1. You must have a “Rollover To” value set for each category if you want to use a zero sum or envelope budgeting style.
  2. Rollovers are applied to a category automatically at the start of a new period and represent the money was left over (“remaining”) within a budget amount for the category.
  3. Rollovers can be negative.
  4. Unearned but budgeted for income can also rollover into the next period.
  5. Move amounts between category budgets and rollover balances using the Adjust cell and the dynamic adjustment shortcuts to avoid accruing negative rollovers.
  6. Total Rollover Savings (at the top of your budget) should track with your account balances.

A Rollover Adjustment will appear in the next period as a correction factor if:

  1. You have uncategorized transactions.
  2. Your income budget does not equal your expense budget for a period.
  3. You forget to assign a Rollover To for all categories.

Rollover Adjustments are easy to correct and help you keep your rollover savings accurate.

Read more on rollover adjustments.

Using a rollover budgeting method is not required. If you do not want to use these features, simply leave the Rollover To column blank on your Categories sheet. You can still use the adjustment workflows if you need to move money between categories and you won’t see rollover adjustments or rollover savings accrue if you don’t set a Rollover To for any categories.

Configuring the budget to use rollovers

Follow these steps when you’re first setting up your budget to use rollovers for envelope or zero sum budgeting.

  1. Open your Categories sheet and choose a Rollover To category for each of your budget categories. It can be the same category or a different category. Make sure each category has one set.
  2. Choose a subtype for your expense categories. Fixed or flex. Read more about the subtype column.
  3. Open your Budget dashboard and make sure your income budget for the current period (what you expect to earn this period) is equal to your expense budget. You’ll know it’s equal if you get a big green check mark in your budget status indicator area at the top of the dashboard.
  4. Open the Add-ons menu at the top of the Google Sheet and choose Tiller > Budget > Analyze Budgets History
  5. Write down the Rollover Adjustment value that’s displayed in the budget status indicator area at the top of your dashboard.
  6. Open the Add-ons menu at the top of the Google Sheet and choose Tiller > Budget > Adjust Category.
  7. Choose “Rollover Adjustment” for the “from” dropdown.
  8. Choose “(none)” for the “to” dropdown.
  9. Enter the amount of the Rollover Adjustment (including the negative (-) sign if it’s unfavorable) you wrote down in step 5 into the Amount box.
  10. Click “Adjust”

Correct Your Rollover Balances (optional)

You may want to set a rollover balance amount for your categories to add up to the Rollover Adjustment amount you wrote down in step 5. This Rollover Adjustment amount is your starting balance and essentially represents money that should exist in your bank account if it was a favorable Rollover Adjustment or money that you need to recover by saving (e.g. reducing a budget amount for a category in the current period) if it was an unfavorable Rollover Adjustment amount.

You can set the starting balance of a rollover by typing r=[amount] (e.g. r=400) into the Adjust cell for any category on any budget dashboard.

This is an optional step because you may decide you simply want to start fresh with this month (that’s why we recommend the steps to $0 out the Rollover Adjustment above) and accrue rollovers going forward or enter the starting balance for category rollovers based on what you’ve already accrued and tracked with other budgeting tools.

Understanding the Rollover Adjustment

If you’re using the rollover capabilities for the Tiller Budget it’s important that you understand how Rollover Adjustment works.

Rollover Adjustment is a correction tool that compensates for the ways that your Total Rollover Savings amount might start to diverge from your real world account balances.

If a Rollover Adjustment is being factored into your Total Rollover savings you’ll see two indicators:

  1. A budget accuracy message will appear at the top of your Budget Dashboard below the categorized transactions status message.
  2. Your Total Rollover savings will include a note below it (“with Rollover Adjustment”)

There are three ways a Rollover Adjustment correction might be introduced:

  1. You have uncategorized transactions in the current period.
  2. You have some categories that don’t have a “Rollover To” assigned
  3. Your income budget is not equal to your expense budget.
  4. Your transfers in any period didn’t balance to $0.

Why would I see a rollover adjustment?

1. Uncategorized Transactions.

Uncategorized transactions do not find their way onto your budget dashboard. They are therefore unaccounted for in your budget. For example, if you forget to categorize your $1,000 Rent payment, your Rent category will perceive a $1,000 favorability on its $1,000 budget. This would create an artificial $1,000 favorable rollover in the following period.

2. Categories no “Rollover To” assigned.

Tiller makes Rollovers optional on a category-by-category basis. If a category’s Rollover To is left blank in the Categories sheet, that category’s favorability is not rolled over once the period ends (i.e. whether favorable or unfavorable, the rollover is lost). When rollovers are disabled for a category, it’s actuals are not captured in the total of category rollovers. For example, the very simple budget below:

If the available amount for all categories were summed (100+100+400), the total rollover would match the net cash flow of $600. But, because there is no Rollover To for the Vacation category, that category will start the subsequent period with ar rollover of $0. In essence, the sum of category rollovers ($200) will diverge from the prior month’s net actuals by $400, the amount of rollover that was lost via an empty Rollover-To.

3. Unbalanced Income & Expense budgets.

Rollovers are derived from subtracting actuals from your budget (shown as “Available” in the current period). If your expense budget is not equal to your income budget, your rollovers will misrepresent savings. For example, imagine an expense budget of $10,000 and an income budget of just $5,000. If during this period, you ran a balanced cash flow of $5,000 for both expense and income, you would see that:

  • Your “available” income budget would be $0.
  • Your “available” expense budget would be $5,000— which will roll over into the subsequent period

Because net cash flow would be zero (i.e. no savings), the $5,000 of rollover favorability would not represent real-world savings. Rollovers accurate when expense and income budgets are equal.

4. Unbalanced transfer transactions

If you see that your transfers don’t equal zero in your current budget period, you’ll see a rollover adjustment that reflects the total transfers in the next period as a rollover adjustment.

Transfers should balance to $0. Sometimes a transfer in one month, let’s say for a purchase for which you’ll be reimbursed by your employer, doesn’t balance until a future month. Update the date of one side of the transfer transaction so that they both fall in the same period to balance the transfer.

How are Rollover Adjustments calculated?

Total Rollover = Category Rollovers + Rollover Adjustment

Rollover Adjustment is a correction factor that compensates for the three rollover error contributors above so that total rollovers most closely line up to real-world balances (i.e. net actuals). The Rollover Adjustment is built by summing the following contributors:

  • Positive net uncategorized transactions
  • Positive category expense budget (categories with a non-blank Rollover-To)
  • Negative category income budget (categories with a non-blank Rollover-To)
  • Positive categorized income/expense actuals (categories with a blank Rollover-To)

Correcting a Rollover Adjustment

If you need to correct a Rollover Adjustment that appears at the start of a new period you can use these tips:

  1. If it’s a negative rollover adjustment - move money from the rollover balance of one category to the rollover adjustment category by using the Adjust Category menu option.
  2. If it’s a positive rollover adjustment - move money from the rollover adjustment category to the rollover of another category using the Adjust Category menu option.

Tiller Add-on Budgeting Menu Options

Adjust Category

The Adjust Category menu option in the Tiller Budget Add-on allows you to move amounts between category rollovers and budgets to other category rollovers or budgets. You also need to use the Adjust Category menu option to modify the Rollover Adjustment if there is one displayed at the top of your Budget dashboard.

Analyze Budgets History

The Analyze Budgets History menu in the Tiller Budget Beta Add-on allows you to update your archived budget data for the most current picture of your budget and rollovers. The analysis will run automatically every night, but you may want to run it manually from the Add-on menu if you’ve made changes that will impact other budget periods.

You should only need to run the budget analyzer if you’ve:

  • Modified a past budget
  • Categorized or added transactions from a past period
  • Modified existing budget periods by manually editing the Budgets History sheet
  • Added budget periods by manually editing the Budgets History sheet

Reallocate Current Period

Reallocate Current Period is a menu option from the Tiller Budget Beta Add-on that allows you to allocate your expected income to all your expenses for quick zero sum budgeting. It works by checking your Categories sheet for the Fixed or Flex subtypes then scaling all categories based on your current period’s budget.

After fixed expenses have been allocated, the workflow will proportionally distribute the remainder to your flex categories. The distribution is based on the proportion of your current budget that is allocated to a given category. For example, after all fixed expenses are allocated, if 5% of your weekly flex budget is Coffee, 5% of your new budget allocation will be assigned to Coffee.

To use the Reallocate Current Period feature:

  1. Make sure you have all your expense categories labeled Fixed or Flex. The subtype for Income and Transfer types should be blank.
  2. Click the budget sheet tab for which you would like to reallocate your expense budget.
  3. Open the Add-ons menu
  4. Open the Tiller Budget Beta menu
  5. Choose Reallocate Current Period.
  6. Enter an amount to allocate to all your expenses.

Create Budget

The Tiller Budget add-on allows you to run multiple budget period intervals concurrently. You could have both a monthly and weekly budget running in your spreadsheet at the same time or two unique monthly budgets running at the same time. The only data that is shared between them are the category settings you configure on the Categories sheet and the actuals (in the Transactions sheet). Each budget has its own individual budget amounts and rollovers. These values are not shared between concurrent budgets.

To create a new budget sheet:

  1. Open the Add-ons menu at the top of the Google Sheet.
  2. Choose Tiller Budget Beta
  3. Choose Create Budget to open the add-on sidebar
  4. Customize your budget period, mode, and start day.

Manage Rollover Adjustments

The Manage Rollover Adjustment menu option allows you to turn the Rollover Adjustment calculation on or off in your Budget Dashboard.

You might use this menu item to turn this off is if you’re only using a Rollover To in your Categories sheet to track your savings goal rollover balances, but aren’t using Rollover To for other categories (i.e. you’re not using a zero sum or envelope budgeting method).

Restore Dashboard

The Restore Dashboard menu item updates a budget dashboard to the latest version on Tiller’s servers. This function can be helpful for restoring a broken budget dashboard (because of accidental edits that created errors) or to update a dashboard to a version with the latest improvements.

While your categories, budget amounts, and rollovers will remain intact after the update, Restore Dashboard will delete the selected the dashboard sheet and replace it with a new version on Tiller’s servers. Be aware that restoring a dashboard means you will lose custom changes you may have made to the dashboard sheet.

Working with the Budgets History Sheet

The Budgets History sheet is where most of the data is stored that fuels your Budget dashboards. It’s a hidden sheet that can be useful if you need to make adjustments to your budget’s start and end dates, create past or future budget periods, retroactively apply rollover to categories, or quickly make adjustments to budget amounts for a past, current, or future period.

Reasons You Might Want to Edit the Budgets History

  1. To create a past or future budget period
  2. To create a yearly budget
  3. To retroactively apply Rollover To values to a previous period
  4. To quickly assign budget amounts to categories in a past or future period

Accessing the Budgets History Sheet

It’s hidden and you can access it by clicking the four lines in the lower left corner of the Google Sheet and then choose Budgets History.

Note : if you have upgraded from the previous version of the Tiller Budget you may also see a hidden Budget History sheet. Unhide the one that’s plural Budgets History.

Understanding the Budgets History Sheet Data

For each budget you create in a Tiller Budget spreadsheet you’ll see the following columns:

  1. Budget - this corresponds to a “budget ID” and represents the budget interval (M for month) and the order in which is was created (01 for the first one you created)
  2. Section - each budget period has five sections: Budget, Actual, Rollover, Rollover Mods, Rollover To - these represent how your budget data is organized and your rollovers are tracked.
  3. Start - the start date of the budget period
  4. End - the end date of the budget period. Note that the end date for a monthly budget is often the first day of the next month because the budget ends at 11:59PM on the end of the month.
  5. Rollover Adjustment - this is where the rollover adjustment totals are calculated and stored. Read more about rollover adjustment here.
  6. Categories - each category listed in your Categories sheet has a column and is headed by it’s type (income, expense, transfer).

Data You Can Edit in the Budgets History Sheet

Some data can be edited in the Budgets History and some cannot.

Budgets

You can update any of the budget amounts for any categories in any period for any budget here on the Budgets History sheet. If you want to set your budget values for a period for your categories really quickly you can do it here.

Rollover To

If you want to retroactive apply Rollover To settings for a previous period, or change the Rollover To setting for a past period you can do that here as well.

Rollover Mod

Use the Rollover Mod section to adjust a category’s rollovers using positive values when you want to add rollover to a category and negative values when you want to take rollover from a category.

Start and End Dates

You can edit the start and end dates for a budget manually here if you need a custom date range for your budget, but the periods cannot overlap within a budget.

Running Analyze Budgets History

Analyze Budgets History is a menu option under “Budget” in the Tiller add-on for Google Sheets. This feature is intended to be used with templates that are running the “Tiller Budget” that has this dashboard.

Using Analyze Budgets History runs a script that updates your Budgets History sheet (a sheet that is hidden by default) to make sure that your Budget Dashboard reflects the most accurate information.

  1. Open the add-ons menu at the top of your Google Sheet
  2. Choose Tiller > Budget > Analyze Budgets History

The script should run automatically every night, but you may want to run it manually from the Add-on menu if you’ve made changes that will impact other budget periods or find that your Budget dashboard isn’t functioning as intended (this means the trigger that runs the script automatically has failed and running Analyze Budgets History will re-initiate it).

You should run Analyze Budgets History if you:

  • Modified a past budget
  • Categorized or added transactions from a past period
  • Modified existing budget periods by manually editing the Budgets History sheet
  • Added budget periods by manually editing the Budgets History sheet
  • The newest, current budget period isn’t appearing in the dropdown on your dashboard.
  • The Adjust cell on the dashboard doesn’t seem to work.

The Analyze Budgets History gets everything back in sync. Anytime you make edits directly to the Budgets History sheet, add new categories or notice a rollover seems off run Analyze Budgets History to clean it up.

Creating Past & Future Budget Periods

If you want to plan ahead for the next budget period (or add past budget periods) you can manually add a future or past budget period by editing the Budgets History sheet and using the Budget Analyzer.

Note : this is an advanced workflow that you may want to experiment with in a COPY of your live Tiller spreadsheet before you commit to the changes due to the way rollovers may cascade forward to future periods, especially when adding past budget periods with these manual steps.

Watch this quick video or read on below

  1. Unhide the Budgets History sheet. Use the four horizontal lines in the bottom left of the sheet near the plus sign to see which sheets are hidden.
  2. Navigate to the Budget History sheet.
  3. Insert 1 row above row 3. You can add multiple lines for multiple periods here if you need to.
  4. Decide which Budget should get the future or past budget period. Each budget is given a unique code in the Budget column (e.g. M01 corresponds to the first monthly budget created in this spreadsheet).
  5. Enter the budget code into the Budget column that corresponds to the budget you’ve for which decided to create a new period (e.g. M01 or W01).
  6. Type Budget into the Section column.
  7. Type the start date for the Budget period using the same format as the other budget start dates (e.g. 5/1/2018). The start date should sync up with the your budget configuration settings (e.g. look at a calendar and make sure you pick the right start date if your budget starts on the first Monday of every month.)
  8. Open the Add-ons menu.
  9. Choose Tiller > Budget > Analyze Budgets History.
  10. You should then see the additional budget periods appear as an option in the Budget dashboard period selection where you can start editing these budget periods.

Note: if you create past budget periods and edit them in their respective budget dashboards you’ll need to run the Analyze Budgets History from the Tiller Add-on menu to make sure the changes cascade to subsequent periods.

Troubleshooting & FAQ

How to handle obsoleted categories:

Obsoleted categories will show up on a budget dashboard when a category has been removed from or altered the Categories sheet, but is still either in use on the budget or in the Transactions sheet.

  1. Correct or remove all instances of the category from the Transactions sheet. Sorting & filtering the sheet by the Category column is a quick way to address these obsoleted categories.
  2. Remove the budget amounts for the obsoleted category in the current and all past budget periods by entering 0 into the Adjust cell for the category.
  3. Open the Tiller add-ons menu and choose Tiller > Budget > Analyze Budgets History.

If you have a question not answered by this guide you can post it as a reply to this topic to get help with using this template. Sign in (or sign up) to the Tiller Community using the gmail account you use with Tiller, then click the “reply” button just under this topic.

How can I remove rollovers from my Tiller Budget?

If you’ve been using rollovers, but have decided that they aren’t right for you. Use these steps to disable them in your Tiller Budget

  1. Navigate to the Categories sheet in your Tiller Budget template
  2. Clear all the Categories that appear in the Rollover To column
  3. Unhide or navigate to the Budgets History sheet in your Tiller Budget spreadsheet. (Click the four horizontal lines in the lower left to unhide Budgets History).
  4. Scroll down to the Rollover To lines in the Budgets History sheet and clear all the values from all cells on the Rollover To lines.
  5. Run the Analyze Budgets History option from the Add-ons menu > Tiller > Budget > Analyze Budgets History

This should zero out all rollovers on your Budget dashboard.

Why is budget create stuck loading?

If you’re trying to create a new budget and the dropdown options in the Tiller add-on sidebar are stuck on “loading” it’s because you’re signed in to multiple Google Accounts in the same browser.

Ways to fix it:

  1. Log out of other Google Accounts (you can easily log out of other accounts through gmail).
  2. Create a separate browser profile for the Google Account you use with Tiller.
  3. Open the sheet in an incognito browser session and try creating the budget again.

Why are values getting stuck in the Adjust cell?

Sometimes if you type budget or rollover amounts, or other shortcut commands, into the Adjust cell on the Tiller Budget template too quickly it can cause them to get stuck (i.e. the script that’s doing the magic in the background can’t keep up). Be sure to give each one a couple seconds to update the budget or rollover value before moving on to the next one.

If you do have stuck values in the Adjust cell try these steps:

  1. Clear out any stuck values in the Adjust column by deleting the values.
  2. Open the add-ons menu at the top of the Google Sheet.
  3. Choose Tiller > Budget > Analyze Budgets History
  4. Try entering the budget amounts into the Adjust cell again.

How can I correct a REF error on my Budget Dashboard

Restore Dashboard will update your Dashboard to the latest version on Tiller’s servers. Using this function can help you restore a broken dashboard (after you’ve made an edit that created REF errors) or update your dashboard to a version with the latest improvements.

Before choosing Restore Dashboard, here’s what you need to know:

If you’ve made custom changes to your Dashboard sheet, you will lose them after restoring your dashboard, but your other sheets will be unaffected. This function deletes the selected Dashboard sheet and replaces it with a new version on Tiller’s servers.

How To Restore your Budget Dashboard:

  1. Go to Add-ons in your Google Sheets toolbar (top of the page).
  2. Choose Tiller > Budget > Restore Dashboard
  3. Read the Confirm Restore dialog box warning and consider whether you wish to proceed. Click Yes, if so.
  4. Wait for the dashboard to be replaced (usually less than 30 seconds).

Your Adjust cells should be working again, the errors should be resolved, and your sheet should be back to functioning normally.

Can I use rollovers in the Foundation template?

The rollover workflows available in the Tiller Budget template are not compatible with the Tiller Foundation template. You can read a comparison of the two templates here.

Can I create a yearly budget in this template?

You can create a separate, simultaneous budget for the entire year using the steps in this quick video.

Still have a question?

If you still have questions not addressed by this guide or FAQ please reply to this topic to post your question to the community.

1 Like

I cannot for the life of me add the Rollover and Savings feature…it says I already have a budget created. Help I don’t want to lose all my work.

:wave:, @mark.martucci!

Sorry for any confusion. You’ll need to start in a new sheet if you want to use this Budget - it’s incompatible with the budget in the Foundation template.

If you’ve already categorized transactions you can migrate those and your Categories over with a quick copy/paste.

You may want to review the docs for this budget before deciding to make the switch though. It’s considerably more complex than the Foundation Template you’ve started out in, but if you prefer a zero sum or envelope style budgeting method this is the template that we recommend for that.

Heather

Hi, I have a question related to savings goals. So right now I am using two tiller sheets - Net Worth Tracker and Tiller Budget. All of my accounts in Tiller sync to Net Worth Tracker, but I am only Syncing my main bank accounts and credit cards to the Budget Sheet (no investments). The reason for this is to not clutter my daily transactions with investment movements.

I would like to set up savings goals on my monthly budget, but the issue I’m running into is that all of my savings goals consist of withdrawal from a checking account and a deposit into investment account (which isn’t linked to the Budget sheet). So the savings goal just shows negative, because I don’t have a positive in the transactions tab.

Is there a recommendation on how I can use the savings goals with my scenario? A simple positive $ is fine, I don’t necessarily have to track the actual investment value in relation to the goal. I just want to see that my withdraw $XX from the checking account counts toward a savings goal.

:wave:, @rdy373!

Sorry for my delay here!!

Adding a positive amount transaction to the Transactions sheet for each transfer would be the way to handle making sure those savings goals add up to $0 and that the budgeted amount rolls over.

Let me know if you need more clarification.

@heather, is it that it is completely incompatible or only incompatible if you’re using the Tiller Labs budget add-ons?

Hi @mgodwin,

The Foundation Template is our officially supported template. The sheets that are standard in it are also available via the Tiller Labs add-on for managing versions (e.g. if we find a bug in the Yearly Budget sheet and fix it, you can use the Tiller Labs add-on to update your sheet to fix the bug). The Tiller Labs add-on will also allow you to add the monthly budget, and yearly budget tabs that come standard in the Foundation Template to a sheet where they don’t already exist. If these two sheets + the Categories sheet that has the budgeting columns in it are already in your spreadsheet you cannot use the Budget functionality in the Tiller add-on.

A little confusing for sure :wink:

Hopefully, this help article explains a bit more on our add-on “ecosystem”

I love the rollover feature! I am helping a freelance journalist to set up a budget, and plan to use rollovers to smooth out his variable income. I am new to Tiller, so I would appreciate any advice and suggestions on the best way to do this.

Here’s what I’m proposing to do: Set up a “freelance income” category that rolls over to itself. Set the budget amount to his estimated annual income divided by 12. I believe this way he will be able to budget for a steady amount, and rollovers will take care of the rest, with the rollover balance going up and down (possibly negative at times). At the end of the year, if the annual estimate was perfect, the rollover balance would be zero. Negative balances along the way would reflect temporary cash-flow problems. As long as he has some other rollover category, e.g., “sort-term savings,” with an adequate balance, this would not be a cash-flow problem in reality, and all would be well. To make the situation more concrete and less confusing, however, I’m thinking of suggesting that he also create an actual savings account in a bank that mirrors this category. In that case, he should probably seed the account and the category up front with some amount taken from existing savings to avoid negative balances.

Thanks for any thoughts!

@ossher,

I think you’re on the right track here and this should work as you’ve described, especially if there is a starting balance of an actual savings account inputted as “rollover” for that category.

Let us know how it goes or if you run into obstacles.

Heather

Thanks, @heather, will do.

Hi there! I am having some serious issues with my rollover budgeting. Every time a new month’s sheet month is generated, my rollovers seem to be calculating all of the spending for each category for the whole year or something. Please see attached image for example. I have tried to do the ‘Analyze Budgets History’ thing several times and it has not worked. In fact, after I did the ‘Analyze Budgets History’ it messed up my rollovers from previous months.
Please advise.

:wave:, @shantellekotowich!

Can you share a screenshot of your Budgets History sheet? It’s likely a hidden sheet (click the four horizontal lines in the lower left of the sheet while it’s open). My guess is that something is off there.

Hi Heather!
Please find the screenshot attached. Please let me know if you need anything more.
Thank-you for your help!
Shantelle

Did the savings and rollover functionality get deprecated?

I’ve been using Tiller for about a year and created all of my own custom sheets. Since then y’all have made leaps and bounds so for 2020 I wanted to step into your ecosystem.

I started by using your Tiller Labs and loading all of the relevant solutions, but in the budgeting function I didn’t see any of the savings features that I keep reading about in this and other threads. Then I went back to the Tiller console and created a fresh Foundations Template and the Categories tab does not include any of the savings columns that I see in your screenshots.

So that’s why I’m asking - did all that functionality get retired? If not, how can I implement savings goals within Foundations or using any of the Tiller labs?

I’ve got a (possibly disappointing) response for you here, @hfinkelstein.

Randy

Thanks Randy. I’ve replied in that thread.

Im using the foundation template spreadsheet and have everything set up nicely. As of a few days ago, the monthly and yearly budgets were population quite well. Now, the budget columns have the amounts populated, but all the actual expenses show as zero. Not sure what happened. Did a restore and that did not fix it.