Transitioning from YNAB, how to use envelope method / smooth transition

I’ve been using YNAB for years and recently found tiller, trying to get started and running into some difficulty. I’ve created a Google sheet with the tiller budget. Sorry in advance, quite a few questions, but I am deeply confused.

Say I have $10k in net assets that I’d like to assign into budgeting envelopes. The money available to budget seems to come from transactions categorized as income, which is fine, but not sure how to allocate for the money I already have before the income transaction occurred. How do I account for the assets in bank account balances prior to transaction import dates?

Where am I supposed to be entering the budgeted amounts for each category? I see that I can make adjustments using a whole value or relative value with the b+/b- syntax, but is that the appropriate place to input the initial category budget for each month, or only adjustments?

It appears that the spreadsheet will update with each new period/month. How do I budget for next month before the 1st of the month?
Edit: I just found the budget history sheet, I think this problem is solved.

I’d like to live off last month’s income. To do this in YNAB, I would categorize income from, for instance, November as “Income” category. Then I would make a negative budgeted value for November’s income in the month of December to make it available for budgeting in December. How would I do that with tiller’s spreadsheet?

Hi Brett:

I’m not familiar with YNAB but I think I can answer at least part of your questions.

The existing amounts for your categories (envelopes) is called the rollover. You can set the rollover in that green Adjust field by typing r=1.00. You can also adjust using the r+/r- syntax if you make an error or whatever.

For setting your budget amounts, using the b+/b- syntax is perfectly fine. Actually you don’t even need to use the symbols… if you just type an amount in there it will effectively default to b=, and set the budget to that amount.

However, this is not what I do, at least not initially. I create next month’s budget a few days before the end of the current month. In the Budgets History sheet, I insert a row above #3. Then I copy #4 (what was previously #3) into the new blank #3, and change the dates. This will also copy over all of last month’s budget amounts to the new budget. If you budget like I do, most of these rarely change. Then you can go in and adjust them in the Monthly Budget sheet or manually here in the Budgets History sheet. Be sure to run the Analyze Budgets History function after you create your new budget, and that will create the rest of the necessary rows.

I also live off last month’s income, (or something roughly similar.) Accounting for that is pretty easy to do with this sheet. For your first month’s budget, enter last months income (what you’re spending this month) as rollover. Then set your budget to those same amounts. Voila, that’s it. As income comes in categorize it as such and it will build up in the “Available” column where it can be safely ignored. This month’s Available becomes next month’s Rollover, so when you start your new budget for the next month you’ll see it there, and you can just set your Budget amounts to match again.

Be sure to set your “Rollover To” columns on your Categories sheet, including for your income categories, and it should all work pretty smoothly.

@randy @heather I have the same exact question! Wondering if you’d be able to weigh in on this? Is this at all possible with the Savings Budget? Is there some way to manually add in starting money into the budget?

@brett @goodmanjosephd I don’t know if you have tried it yet, but the Savings Budget sheet is an enhanced version of the original Envelope template that is compatible with Foundation template solutions. One key ability is to be able to individually set categories on the Categories sheet as Savings under the Track column. This will allow any unspent or overspent dollars in that category to roll over to the next period. There is a drop-down on the Savings Budget sheet in G6 that you can toggle the adjust column to add to Savings, rather than budget. Note that you may need to set the current period budget to $0 for it to show on the sheet. Savings adjustments are logged on the Budget Journal sheet. As a word of caution, unlike budget allocation, there is no error checking to ensure savings adjustments are using dollars that are actually available. This flexibility, however, is what allows you to be able to seed a savings goal that is already in progress prior to the starting period on your sheet.

I highly recommend trying out the Savings Budget sheet and see if it can meet your needs. There is a migration tool you can use to migrate your data from the Envelope Budget template outlined on the page I linked above.

Yes, I’m currently using the Savings Budget Sheet! But it still doesn’t add in what’s in you already have in your bank account. For instance, I have some money currently in my Emergency savings account, and I regularly contribute to it. On the Savings Budget, I have an Emergency Savings category, and I can only add in my current & future contributions, it doesn’t show me what I already have saved.

So if you are coming from YNAB you are going to struggle with the current sheets as they dont do true envelope budgeting. But thanks to Tiller being built on spreadsheets, we can build our own.

Here is the sheet I built to meet the needs I had. I came from Mvelopes and YNAB.

Let me know if you have any questions


That’s correct, savings in the Savings Budget are not balance-driven, but rollover driven. You will need to seed your Emergency Savings category with the initial savings balance in the Adjustments column G while G6 is set to Savings. This will combine with any future contributions/withdrawals you make and track savings as expected. You can further make use of the Savings & Debt (Prototype) sheet to track your goal progress and set your savings goal threshold, target funding date, and estimated monthly contributions to reach your goal, as well as validate whether the account balance will cover the goal amount.

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Awesome, thank you! I’ll look into both of those!

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I’ll give this a try, thank you so much!