Tiller Money Labs Roundup 12/14/20 - Budget Builder + Amazon CSVs

Our Tiller Money Labs team is working to keep you efficient, inspired, and enabled with financial templates, tools and workflows. In our Tiller Money Labs Roundups, we keep you updated on our latest features and sheets.

Budget Builder

Creating your upcoming year’s budget is a personal process.

I have shared my process (and my budget-builder personal worksheet). Maybe the sheet is helpful. Maybe you build on top of what I’ve shared. Maybe the concept helps you form your own (better) process.

My process… I start by looking at my actuals from the prior year. If there are any surprises, I use a custom query tool to understand the top income or expense transactions within a category (e.g. an expensive meal, a forgotten home repair, etc). From there, I strip out one-time expenses (a trip, an expensive purchase, a home improvement, etc) in the timeframe where they occurred.

At this point, I have a baseline of my monthly actuals without the surprise items that I don’t expect to recur in the coming year. I like to look at the annualized average at this point and level it with a rounded “baseline override”. The Groceries category is an instructive example here. It’s not a seasonal expense so I don’t need to try to track the ups and downs of the prior year. If I spent $6,000 the prior year, I’m just going to override the month-to-month lumpiness (of the actuals) with $500 per month.

Finally, I add/budget in my new one-time expenses like planned travel, home upgrades, a new computer, etc.

Take it for a spin and let me know what you think. It’s brand new, so also let me know if you see any surprising behavior.

Amazon CSV Update

A few days ago I learned, in what might be the longest thread in this community, from @susandennis that Amazon resuscitated its much-loved Order History CSV report.

I brought the old import workflow back online late last week.

  • I re-inserted the old Amazon items & refunds importers into the engine. (It took longer than expected on account of changes to the engine in the intervening months that made the old rules not work out of the box.)
  • Per @charlotte’s suggestion, I preserved the Amazon Privacy Central import rules but added some code so that the instructions for those reports are hidden in the sidebar (to avoid confusion). :confused:
  • I fixed some bad behavior in the sidebar import-filter dropdown when there is only a single filter option.
  • I fixed a button rendering issue in Safari that caused the buttons to be one pixel tall. :upside_down_face:

Unfortunately, the CSV parser is still occasionally choking on some (malformed?) records. My YTD Amazon import has 205 line items, but only 108 transactions show as available. I’m pretty sure this is because of parsing issues that confuse the Utilities.parseCsv() call (details here).

Let me know if you have any feedback or insights.