Values Driven Budgeting Template (Inspired by Carl Richards)


We built the values driven budgeting template with guidance from Carl Richards, New York Times columnist and best selling author. At Tiller, we’re big believers that every dollar spent is a vote, and his values-driven budgeting strategy fits well with our view on money.

Get started with this template

  1. Click here to open the template preview
  2. Launch or Install the Tiller Money Feeds add-on and start feeding data into the sheet from your accounts.

First, read this article by Carl Richards about his values driven approach to spending for some context.

Next, write out your values. This is a quick exercise that comes from his New York Times bestselling book, The One Page Financial Plan. We recommend that you buy the book because it’s a great read; you can download the first chapter for free here. It will get you started on how to think about and outline your values.

A simple exercise

Now you can begin the simple exercise of marking each transaction in your new Tiller Sheet.

Is this expense aligned with your values? Yes or no.

For some expenses, deciding may be easy. The gift to a local charity might be a quick “yes.” The money you spent on an impulse purchase you never use might be a “no.” Other expenses, like a utility bill, may raise more questions. For these, we’d recommend giving yourself a pass and saying “yes” unless it’s a bill you think you could reduce or a bill with other options you might consider for meeting that need.

Your easy homework

Then each day (ideally) or several times a week, visit the dashboard. How much of your spending is aligned with your values? Can you reduce the spending that’s not aligned? And even for the spending that is aligned, is there a way to honor that value without having to spend? In his column, Carl gives a great example of a value-aligned expense that supports a friend; but he demonstrates that with some reflection, it’s possible to achieve the value and support the friend without spending money.

Have a question or feedback?

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I love this. So simple and doesn’t just focus on cutting your expenses, but instead just being intentional. And that’s a great book as well!

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