Using a Google sheet on mobile phone for logging cash transaction

Background: I’m an evicted Mint user. After initially playing with the Mint phone app, I didn’t use it much. For most of what I wanted to do, the laptop was a much more convenient way. For me anyway. The one thing I used the Mint phone app for was entering cash transactions on the fly while out and about. I didn’t want to save receipts or make a note somewhere else to log the transaction later.

Tiller doesn’t have much support for this. Granted, many (or most) folks don’t bother with logging cash expenditures, so it may not be important to but a small number of people. And while it is possible to open the Tiller Transactions sheet in Google sheets on my phone, dealing with that much data on a tiny screen is worse than tedious. That’s the motivation for this idea.

What if entering the cash transaction was as simple as this? Screenshot below from my iPhone running the standard Google Sheets app.

On this screen you fill in column B and tic the checkbox. A script takes over and transfers the data to the Transactions sheet. What I’ve shown on the screen shot are pretty much all the transaction fields I need for cash expenditures. But there’s flexibility. Any values you put in column A of this little table, in any order you like, if they match a header in the Tiller Transactions table, the corresponding value in column B will get transferred to the newly added row. So you can add other fields without changing the script. There’s also a hidden column C which is one of three things: if it has the value ##clear## then the input value in that row gets cleared after entry. I have it clear description and note. If there’s some other value in column C, that value gets copied in after transferring the data. In my case I have today’s date for Date, and “CASH - Bill” for Account as defaults. If there’s no value in column C, then the data is not cleared or changed.

I have a proof of concept working. If this is of interest to some people, I might hammer it into something that could be shared.

Any thoughts?

Bill B

This is a cool idea @Wizardofaz and definitely a need for folks who even just want to record “pending” transactions on the go that Tiller will pull in automatically later - though I know that’s not an option you’ve built in here.

This is a really old post, but there was a time in the past where we suggested using a Google form for the entry, I wonder if that would be a nicer interface? Make A Cash Log With Google Forms And Google Sheets

Neat @heather, hadn’t seen that before! Seems the article is broken though, most images aren’t loading, making it difficult to follow.

I looked at doing this with a Google Form. I don’t claim comprehensive expertise on G Forms… but here are what I think are the limitations that a custom tiny sheet doesn’t have:

  1. Input can’t be constrained to an existing list in a google sheet (e.g. categories). Input can be a dropdown list, but the categories would have to be statically copied from the Tiller Categories sheet to the form.
  2. Date can’t be defaulted to today (on the mobile phone version of the form), and date entry is hard - doesn’t offer calendar input when used from a phone.
  3. The form cannot specify which columns to put the results in. So they would have to go in some look aside sheet, move the columns to where they belong, and be copied.

I suppose the last problem could be solved by using a script to move the data from the table in which the form puts it into the Tiller Transactions sheet.

The idea above fixes all those limitation. You enter it, it’s done. And while the Form is prettier, it’s also bulkier. A screenshot of a possible form is pasted below. The top half of it anyway. You have to scroll just to enter the 5 fields.

I have a version of this that works for me. If anyone wants it, I can share on an at-your-own-risk basis. If there’s a serious level of interest, I’ll work to make it robust and distributable. I’m too new to understand if this could be part of community solutions, or how that all works, but maybe that’s a possible route too.


Hi @Wizardofaz - I’m doing a little thinking out loud here, but I’m thinking that you might be able to accomplish this by using Google App Sheet, make a small app that would run on you phone and would insert the data into your Transaction sheet? Just a thought.

It’s an idea. I don’t know anything about AppSheet, but from a quick look, looks like I could use it for my own solution for free but need a license to share it outside a small group. It could be fun to try just to learn something new.

OTOH the “tiny sheet” solution works fine too. Functional but not pretty.

Thanks for the idea.

This sounds like a great solution. I’d like to see it if you can share. The simplicity and compactness of the entry are appealing.

I’m happy to share it. I’ll message you off thread.

Thanks for sharing your workflow, @Wizardofaz. Sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into it and the tradeoffs of the various tools.

I think, since Google has optimized the Form interaction for mobile, that would be my go-to entry solution (as @heather suggests). I’d create a script that could be run once at a laptop/desktop to pull the form-sheet data into the Transactions sheet cleanly, but that is just me…

I’m excited by how much you’re making of your transition from Mint! :trophy: