Webinar Resources: Tips for Optimizing your Tiller spreadsheets for 2024

Details & Replay

In this webinar we talked through what it means to optimize your financial life using Tiller-powered spreadsheets and strategies for helping you meet your goals in 2024. We also talked through how to set up your Tiller spreadsheets for 2024 budgeting and cash flow tracking.

Resources

Flywheels

We talked about the idea of using flywheel to optimize your financial life, which can help you achieve your goals. Thinking of money as a tool rather than a necessary and sometimes stressful aspect of life. It’s a tool we use and we vote with our dollars. How we spend impacts our lives and the world around us.

Using this tool leads us to want to gain awareness about how we’re using that tool. Using Tiller can help build that awareness.

The awareness leads to change as a result of shifting habits that support achieving goals. Which then in turn results in our success or accomplishing our goals.

That success then may lead to the availability of more money and the cycle continues.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Flywheel concept, check on Jim Collins’ book Good to Great or the monograph that’s specific to the flywheel.

Spreadsheet New Year Steps

How do I get my budget ready for the new year?

Multi-Year Budgeting in the Foundation Template

Manually Add Bank Data to your Tiller Sheet

Values Driven Budgeting

If you want to align your spending with your values, check out this Values Driven Budgeting template inspired by Carl Richards.

Basics

Foundations Guide

Customizing the Transactions sheet

Keep your transaction data flowing

Getting started FAQs

More about subcategories

Splitting transactions into multiple categories

Visualizing your spending data with a pie chart using the Category Tracker

Visualizing your month over month spending with the Monthly Analysis sheet

Community-built solutions

Below are some helpful solutions built by the Tiller Community for end of year analysis and help you build the awareness needed to make the changes that will lead to achieving your goals!

Monthly Analysis

Yearly Insights

Year-to-date comparison

Period Comparison

Category Tracker

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Q&A

If you have a question that’s not included in the Q&A section below [use the browser search CTRL+F to search for keywords] you can ask it here and a community member will reply soon.

how can i see transactions per category per month ?
If you’re wanting the individual transaction line item detail the best way is probably to use the built in sorting and filtering features in the Transactions sheet.
Google Sheets
Microsoft Excel

is there a template without the budgeting feature
The Foundation Template has built-in budgeting features, but you don’t have to use them. You’ll still be able to track your income/spending/cash flow.

Is there an easy way to switch from Google Sheets to Excel?
Essentially you’ll start a new spreadsheet in the other platform and then migrate your data. Here’s a guide with the steps: Migrate your financial data between spreadsheets | Tiller Help Center

Is a new means of dealing with Amazon purchases being developed? I really miss the ease of the former workaround.
We don’t have this on the short term roadmap at this time.

Several years ago I had a category called “Gift”, and I changed it to “Gifts”. I now have both listed in various places, how can I safely remove the old “Gift” item from my spreadsheet without changing any other balances?
I’d recommend cleaning up the prior entries to use “Gifts” using the filtering/sorting features and the fill handle. For the savings budget workflow I’d recommend asking in the Tiller Community on that one.

Can sub categories be added to get finer grain info without using sorts and filters of portions of the spreadsheet?
We don’t have sub-categories, but we have tags that I think might work for what you’re thinking about. Here’s a guide with more on that: Can I use subcategories with Tiller spreadsheets? | Tiller Help Center

If a description matches 2 autocat entries, will the uppermost autocat entry take precedence?
AutoCat rules are processed in a top down order and rules lower in the list won’t be processed if a rule higher in the list matches.

Does doing all of this to set up 2024 mean losing access to 2024. For example, if I restructure my categories, will that change my data from 2023?
If you’re making significant category structure changes, we recommend just starting starting fresh in a new Foundation Template and just categorize starting with 2024 data (clear out the historical data that’s added to the sheet being sure to preserve row 1 in the Transactions sheet). Otherwise you can hide categories you’re no longer using and they won’t show on the budgets but the history is preserved. If you want your historical budgets for 2023 in the sheet alongside the 2024 data, add more budget months to the categories sheet. Multi-Year Budgeting in the Foundation Template

Is there any development in the works to expand the fields that the “Past 90 days” rule tool looks at ? It seems like the current version only looks at the description.
We don’t have any plans for this. I’d recommend adding a feature request to describe what you’re wanting here.

I struggle with Categories and Groups. For instance, I have a category for Gas, but gas could be a day to day expense or a travel expense. But with only one category, I can’t tell if it was spent on day to day driving to work or travel. What’s the best way to handle categorizing transactions that you want to be able to track under multiple categories or groups? Or is that what tags are for? Also, I saw a tool to merge two categories. Is there a suggested workflow to split a category into two?
You can just add a separate category for Gas: Travel or Work: Gas so you can track those separately.

How can we set up the daily email to go to my spouse in addition to myself?
“We don’t currently have a way to add a second email for the daily email (but it is on our feature request list in the Tiller Community so you can add a vote there if you’d like.) For the time being, we recommend this workaround of creating an automatic forwarding rule:
​Automatically forward Gmail messages to another account - Gmail Help

What data limits have you seen with Google Sheets before Google Sheets boggs down (begins to have performance issues)?
There are a number of factors that contribute to the performance degradation in Google Sheets. If you have a high volume of accounts >15 and many complex dashboards we recommend no more than 2 years of historical data in your Google Sheets.

If I copy 2023, and establish 2024 with the copy, how do I quickly delete the 2023 transactions from the new 2024 sheet?
You can simply select the 2023 data and clear it out.

How to split categories for a transaction? For example, an Amazon order that is part in Home maintenance, part in Gifts
Guide here

I used the Budget Plan in 2023 to calculate my budget categories based on previous year spending. Is that easy to duplicate?
We covered this as a part of last year’s New Year webinar. If that recording doesn’t help, I’d recommend reaching out in the community about this one since that is a community built solution.

Is there a sheet that can be used to compare this year to last year? and/or the year before?
See resources above.

Will Dec 2023 Savings Balances (hypothetically for a cruise I’m taking in May 2024) rollforward to Jan 2024?
I’d recommend searching/asking here in the Community since Savings Budget is a community-supported solution.

Can you talk about the Budget Plan from community that alot of us are using how to change that for the new year.
We covered this as a part of last year’s New Year webinar. If that recording doesn’t help, I’d recommend reaching out in the community about this one since that is a community built solution.

Your “account” descriptions are sensible; mine are gobbledygook. Can you show us how to neaten them up? Thank you.
You can use AutoCat to help clean these up. More on that here.

If I wish to delete a few categories moving into the new year, but still wish to retain a history of previous categories, how do I do that?
If you delete the categories you’ll end up with errors in your Transactions sheet. Recommend just hiding them on the Categories sheet.

Can we copy the spreadsheet with catagories for tracking expenses as well for 2024, while keeping 2023 for tax purposes
You can make a copy of your spreadsheet for 2023 data as an archive then clear out the 2023 data in your live spreadsheet linked to Tiller to use for 2024. Just be sure you know the location of the copy (e.g. Google Drive or if an Excel workbook be sure to save it somewhere you’ll remember)

I’m new to Tiller this year. Using Google Sheets. Is there a limit on the number of transactions I can have in the Transactions sheet? Will running AutoCat, Fill, or other actions slow down if you have a large number of transactions that you roll over from year to year?
There are a number of factors that contribute to the performance degradation in Google Sheets. If you have a high volume of accounts >15 and many complex dashboards we recommend no more than 2 years of historical data in your Google Sheets.

What’s the easiest way to fill a new budget year using last year as a baseline, i.e. what was actually spent in that category and month last year?
I think the Monthly Analysis sheet would be really helpful for figuring that out because you can see the spend for each category for each month quickly and get an average and use that as your baseline.

I’m new to Tiller. How do you start a Tiller worksheet from scratch in Excel?
Here’s how to start fresh with a new worksheet in Excel: Getting Started with Tiller for Microsoft Excel | Tiller Help Center

Will you demonstrate how to set up for 2024 in Excel?
Sorry we didn’t have a chance to demo this for Excel. The Multi-Year Budgeting in the Foundation Template guide has those steps if you want to include additional budget years.

What fields does autocat check when determining if a transaction is categorized?
The Category column and the Categorized Date column.

On the AutoCat sheet, do I use positive or negative numbers in the Min and Max columns, when trying to categorize expenses (which show up as negative amounts in the Transactions sheet)?
The numbers here should be absolute values (doesn’t need positive or negative sign)

In the method for setting categories for next year where you change Jan 2023 to Jan 2024, does that throw off the the amounts in your savings or your savings budget. I use the savings budget kind of like an envelope system so I need the carry over from the previous month. I feel like just changing the year would mess this up?
Recommend searching/asking in the community on this one.

I’m in Canada; the money feeds don’t seem to work well here because of multi-factor requirements for security. The daily transactions update never shows any transactions. Anything I can do about that?
MFA requirements are pretty standard no matter where you live. Probably nothing you can do other than just accept it will require the MFA :slight_smile: Even with that extra step Tiller allows you to easily get all your financial transactions and balances into one place in the same format, which is a huge time saver if a spreadsheet is your preferred tool to manage finances. It’s the preferred tool for the most financially in tune individuals because of the flexibility a spreadsheet offers to visualize your data your way.

I would like to start the year by changing from net pay to gross pay to capture my payroll deductions like taxes and insurance premiums. Is there an FAQ or guide for this?"
We don’t have any official guidance on this. Recommend searching/asking in the community.

Can you talk through what to do when a brokerage account gets moved from one provider to another? Example eTrade → Charles Schwab
Usually you’ll end up with duplicated accounts. Guide here

How do you handle credit card payments cuz expenses have already been categorized and budget deducted
These are considered transfers. More in the guide here.

On the Transaction sheet, is there a way to include the “Group” and “Category” on the list? Right now, I’m adding the name to category field. sometimes without the group, the transaction can get mislabeled. Example: Group: Auto, Category: Gas; Then you might have a category for Group: Bills, Category: Gas.
Categories have to be unique so you wouldn’t have a category for both of those called “Gas” perhaps use something like “Natural Gas” or prepend it with Utilities:Gas

I love auto cat- for a new year, is there a way to transfer to transfer the rules from the previous google sheet?
You can just copy over your AutoCat into a new Foundation Template using the steps in this guide.

How do I set up sinking funds and transfer bal over?
We don’t have any official guidance for this though we do have a new Savings Goals Tracker template in beta that might help or you can search/ask in the community.

For those of us looking to use tiller to optimize the finances of our businesses (new construction and separate remodeling business in my case) is there a training or best practice webinar for set up anywhere that would streamline setting up business on your spreadsheets and transitioning from Quickbooks?
There are some community resources for using Tiller for small business but we’re mostly focused on personal finance right now.

I have 5 years of transactions and things are moving very slowly. I want to keep 12 months, just to have them (or, convince me I don’t!), so do I just delete all 12+ month old transactions, or is there something else I should do? I am planning on making a copy of my old spreadsheet to create another.
Making a copy of the spreadsheet to have an archive is a good way to handle this. Then just clear out the older transactions from the sheet that’s linked to Tiller. You might also consider getting rid of any dashboards you’re not using and that could speed things up.

is there a way to schedule autocat to run just like fill sheets does?
You can have AutoCat run on fill. More here

If I run autocat on all transaction, do ALL autocat rules run on all? Is there a way to have just one autocat rule run on all?
If you have the setting turned on to run AutoCat on ALL transactions it will run ALL rules on ALL transactions. There isn’t a way to run just one rule unless you removed all the other rules from the AutoCat rules sheet temporarily and pasted them into a new tab in your spreadsheet.

New to Tller, just started using about 3 weeks ago - aside from the Rule Builder, are there other features in Google Sheets that aren’t in Excel?
There are quite a lot of features not in Excel that are available in Google Sheets. Recommend reviewing this help article.

At the end of the year how do i transfer unspend funds in one cateogory to another category
If you’re not using the Savings Budget I recommend checking that out. If you’re using it already search/ask in the community here.

Whats the best way to import 2023 financial data from Quickbooks and import into Tiller?
Guide here

What do the colour codes on the Tiller webpage mean? Red and yellow triangles, green dots, blue refresh, white refresh?
These are indications of whether or not your institutions have recently refreshed.

If I do not want both Description and Full Description columns, how do I safely remove “Full Description”?
Yes.

is there a way to add a monthly count to see how often you did that action. For example, you have a certain budget for eating out, but you also care about how many times you’ve eaten out.
You could certainly build that in, and I think the Insights sheet might have something close but not exact. You can find the Insights sheet in the Templates section of the Tiller Money Feeds add-on for Google Sheets.

What are the pros and cons of making a new sheet each year and just adding the 2024 months? (My current sheet has both 2022 and 2023 already) - is there a point where you should NOT keep it in one sheet?
Some of that is covered here.

Is there a way for the Monthly Budget template to auto-hide $0 non-hidden categories (so long as “Actual” is also $0)?
There is not a way to do that.

Can we have a year to date budget versus month to month?
The Yearly Budget sheet does this in the first few columns.

Is anything likely to break if you then hide that row of the categories tab?
No, nothing should break if you just hide the row.

If I want to convert to google sheets from excel to take advantage of the functionality of google sheets, can I convert my current sheet over to google sheets without losing what I have so far?
You can migrate the data between the sheets. Guide here.

If I create a copy of 2023, will that copy’s accounts still get updated or not?
The copy will not get updated, no.

I have several 2023 transactions that are for 2024 travel. I want them in the 2024 budget. I created a category for those items marked as ‘2024 travel’. I excluded the transactions from 2023. Should I just changed the date to 1/1/2024 and then change the category for those to Travel?
If you want them to reflect in 2024’s numbers, yes you would need to change the date.

On the monthly budget tab, I overwrote the income categories and I think I broke the macro. Rookie mistake. How can I reset it?
If you’re using Google Sheets you can restore the spreadsheet using the Templates feature in the sidebar.

Is Autocat available by default or do I need to create it?
You install AutoCat using Tiller Money Feeds.

Amazon.com*8055s8rw3 → amazon in the description , using the advanced rule builder. can you show me how to do this using the regex ?
Recommend searching/asking in the Community on this one.

Are there plans for Tiller to release mobile-friendly views of the foundation templates? (E.g., I’ve duplicated and modified [column width, hide columns/rows, etc.] the Monthly Budget to create an scrolling-minimized/optimized phone view.)
We don’t have a plan to release a mobile-friendly Foundation template but hope to improve the mobile experience over time.

**"I started my sheet in march and now it is pulling the year data through feb. I want to make the year jan to December. **
Just add the number of columns you need out right if you want multiple years to get the full calendar year.

Additionally when I added the 2024 columns to the categories, it didn’t add it to the yearly budget. "
The Yearly Budget will only show 12 months at a time. You can use the dropdown options in the upper left to control the view of the 12 months you want to see there.

What are the pros and cons of using google sheets vs microsoft excel?
Check out this guide

do you have soem link for how the regex works in rule builder ?
Recommend searching/asking in the Community on this one.

Coming from MS Money, there was a way to track net worth. Is that possible in Tiller or are there plans for that?
You can track your net worth using the community-built Net Worth Tracker for Excel.

Can you explain how to mannually pull in older data? I started mid-year, and want to pull the entire 2023 year to help create budgets.
Guide here

Will there be any updates in 2024 to the Yodlee data feeds to improve the account refresh process?
Working on a 2nd aggregator to see if that’s better.

Do the fill issues Heather is discussing apply to MS Excell as well?
No, the Desktop version of Excel does not have the same fill. Here have been some similar issues if your’e using Excel Online.

Please comment on duplicate transactions created by Fill.
Guide here

If you started with tiller in April, is it possible to draw the data as far back as January? In other words, have the feed extend further back.
Guide here

Would deleting old transactions by itself cause any problems? What about deleting previous months in the Categories tab? Can I do either without creating issues? Do I have to do both in a specific order?
Deleting old transactions won’t cause issues. Deleting columns in the Categories sheet for the months will break thing unless they’re the far most right columns. Better to just update the date in E1.

How do you split a transaction between a couple of categories
Splitting transactions into multiple categories

When using the envelope method of budgeting using the Savings add-on, how are the savings from each category’s budget as of December moved over to have available for January?
Search/ask in the community on that.

You may have touched on this already: If I have custom tabs on my current 2023 Google Sheet and make a copy, how will Tiller know which sheet to send new data to for 2024?
Tiller will only be connected to the original, not the copy. The copy is just a backup of past data.

How do I run a report to see total expenses by tags?
Tags report

What is the purpose of the Accounts Sheet
It allows you to assign groups to control how they’re organized on the Balances sheet. More here

Based on Tiller users, what percentage is on Google Sheets compared to Microsoft Excel?
Mostly Google Sheets.

I think it may have happened where a transaction didn’t get loaded. What do you recommend the best way to make sure the account reconciles every month so the deposits and Withdrawls match bank statements
Community-built Statements sheet

With the split just done would the transaction also be split in the bank account would you not see the total in the bank account.
The transaction is only split in the spreadsheet where the split happened.

Do you offer a one-on-one consultation service?
We do not offer 1:1 coaching at this time.

Under Auto Cat, in the description, can we add multiple values in the cell ie. Amazon, Amzn, Amazon.com
Yes, check out “Multiple Match Criteria” here

2 Likes

With categoriesHi heather,
Thank you so much for the webinar and all that you do.
I’m afraid that I am not able to follow all of your keystrokes, so I am left feeling I am not worthy of Tiller.
Getting ready for 2024, I have come up with a plan that I would like to share, and get your thoughts, advice, and step-by-step instructions for how best to get it done.

  1. Duplicate my current worksheet, add columns for 2024, hide columns for 2023 but maintain data
  2. Rename
  3. I would like to keep my accounts but start from scratch with categories.

Can you walk me through this.
Thank you. Merry Christmas.

Les Kutcher

If you are comfortable bifurcating your 2023 and 2024 transactions, @lkutcher, I would recommend just starting a new foundation template for 2024. When you link accounts, it will pull in all of your transactions from when you first connected to Tiller. You can just delete the transactions from 2023 manually. From there, you can create new categories and start categorizing for 2024.

Otherwise, your steps look pretty good for archiving a copy of your existing spreadsheet, then appending 2024 into your existing spreadsheet. When you change your categories in the Categories sheet, the data validation will light up with errors for 2023 (old categories) transactions… but you can ignore these.