Tiller's policy for sheets on traversal through time

I’m seeing three different approaches to handling traversal of time in Tiller sheets. Two of them make sense to me, but the third, I’m not so sure about.

  1. Vertical date list - i.e. Transactions sheet - this makes sense because you can enter any date, and the data can be in any sort order and still makes sense, and still does the job well of feeding other sheets as a data source, so it’s completely flexible while still useful and useable
  2. Drop-down selection - i.e. Monthly Budget sheet - this make sense because it is a report, it is pulling from the Transactions sheet and can be any date from within the source data range, so it’s completely flexible while still useful and useable
  3. Horizontal date list with start date - i.e. Categories sheet - this I’m not sure about…

The reason (3) is confusing is that the start date is the first date for which I need to budget. Once I get 12, 18 or 24 months down the line I’m going to start running out of columns. Is the idea that I would just keep adding columns? Or is the idea that I should every 6 months update the start date to be 6 months later, and just keep re-using the same 24 columns? I haven’t found the policy stated anywhere.

I could of course just figure out any way that suits me but the fact that it is not explained in the Foundation sheet YouTubes and documentation leaves it up to me, which is in contrast to the other approaches, which seem more “joined up” in the thinking and explanation. If I add columns, I will be forever scrolling to the right – further and further as the years go by, which isn’t very useable. Whereas if I overwrite past budget data, I’ll be erasing history, which seems to detract from the usefulness.

Maybe Tiller has a suggested approach to this and I just haven’t found it yet?

The other issue with this remaining ambiguous is that it seeps its way into the community. For example, the Category Schedule solution has a vertical timeline, with only 12 months. It’s unclear again, if I use that tool, what approach makes both useable and useful sense.

Hi @soitmake,

This article addresses some of your questions regarding how to handle the Categories sheet over time.

How do I get my budget ready for the New Year?

Personally speaking, I initially kept adding years to my spreadsheet, saving all history in one document. As I rolled over to a new year, I’d add the next 12 columns and hide the previous year’s columns. All of the data was still there, but I didn’t have to scroll through it.

Over time, however, that lead to numerous performance issues. In the end, I opted to keep up to two calendar years of data in a single spreadsheet and archive previous years. Initially, I had 2019 - 2023 all in a single spreadsheet, but now I have 2022-2023 as my current spreadsheet, and 2019-2020, 2020-2021, and 2021-2022 as archived spreadsheets. This allows me to take advantage of templates and reports that look back over 12 months without bogging down performance.

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While i hadnt noticed any performance issues with the categories by having several years of budget amounts, I also dont see much value in having several years worth of old budget amounts. I know i can just delete the extra columns, but I just hide them and only keep the current years visible.

True enough. The performance hit is more from having several years of transactions rather than the extra category budget columns. I should have been more clear on that point. I opted to archive the old budgets along with the transactions since the old budget data was of no use to me on its own.