If I had to name just two things that have helped my family with our finances more than anything else, it would be tracking spending and automation.
When we first set out to pay off our debt, we needed to find ways to slash spending and expenses. To do this, we tracked every single penny that went in and out of our lives.
At first, I tracked everything in a binder with paper and pen. Later, I created my own financial spreadsheets for spend tracking and net worth tracking.
We saved all of our receipts and bills, and each week I manually recorded everything in my spreadsheet. This took some time, but we realized we spent less and saved more when we tracked everything, making it worth the time and effort.
A couple of years ago, I heard about Tiller, a spend-tracking financial service that utilized one of my favorite tools – spreadsheets. I was already using Google Sheets, and since Tiller offered a simpler and faster way to track spending with a Google Sheet, I gave it a try.
Admittedly, at first, I wasn’t sure it would work for me. I had my spend tracking routine down and liked the financial spreadsheet I had created.
But once I got all my accounts synced with Tiller and started using it, I was sold. Not only did it save me a ton of time, but I could customize it to my needs. Also, the Tiller’s budget template helps me keep tabs on our spending each month (not to mention the ability to analyze annual spending).
Also, a funny thing happened the first couple of months I used Tiller. It suddenly seemed like our spending was higher than it was when I was tracking on my old spreadsheet.
After a little digging, I discovered that, since Tiller was automatically pulling all my transactions, it was picking up spending that had gotten “lost” when I did it manually. Online spending was (mostly) to blame for the missing expenditures. Since I didn’t have physical receipts, this spending often got overlooked before.
What is Tiller?
Tiller is a service that connects to your online financial accounts and, each day, it automatically puts all your financial transactions and account balances into a Google or Excel spreadsheet (your choice). The Tiller app can sync to your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, and loans.
Categorization. At that point, you can categorize the financial transactions yourself, or set up Tiller to automatically classify them for you.
If you’re like me and want to be more hands-on with your budget and categories, you can set up your own budget categories and categorize each transaction yourself. Tiller even offers a Tiller Splitter Add-On allowing you to split one transaction into different categories. So if you buy household items and groceries at the same time, you can split them out into separate categories.
If you don’t want to spend time categorizing each transaction, the AutoCat Add-On will categorize your transactions as they come in. This feature allows you to set up your own “rules” for categories and is especially helpful for recurring expenses.
Budget and Net Worth Templates. Tiller provides a variety of Google Sheet templates for different financial tracking needs. They offer free templates for budgeting, debt payoff, business and freelancing, net worth tracking, weekly expense trackers, and more.
Create your own customized sheets. If you’d rather make your own spreadsheet, Tiller has a Build Your Own feature. Not only can you customize your categories, but you can create your own templates, financial reports, or other spreadsheets. The nice thing is, you can play around with it and figure out what works best for you.
Daily email. Tiller will email you every day with the updated transactions from your synced accounts. This is an excellent way to keep up-to-date on your spending and account balances daily in just a few seconds.
Shareable. If you share your finances with your partner (or even your CPA), it’s easy to share your financial information with Tiller. The nice thing is, you can decide what specific information you want to share. And also how you want to share it. You can control whether or not the other person can edit and how long they have access to the information you share.
Security. Your Tiller data is fully encrypted just like your bank. Also, you are the only person who can see what’s in your Tiller sheets (unless you share your information, of course). Tiller’s access to your accounts is limited to read-only, and no one from Tiller can see your financial data.
Price. Tiller offers a free 30-day trial. After the first 30 days, Tiller will charge your credit card if you don’t cancel. Tiller costs $59/year (about $5/month). You can cancel at any time.
Tutorials. Tiller has a series of tutorials that take you through the setup process (which only took me a few minutes). There are also many articles on their site to help you learn to use the templates or sheets. Tiller has a team available to answer any questions or provide troubleshooting help.
Access from anywhere. Another thing I like about Tiller is the ability to access the information from my phone through my Google Sheets app. So, when I’m out and about, I can check in on where we stand for the month or categorize my transactions while waiting for an appointment.
Is Tiller for you?
For me, Tiller is perfect for combining the two best ways to keep my family on the right financial track: tracking spending and automation.
It allows me to easily track every penny going in and out of our accounts, saving me a ton of time. And I love how easy it is to check the budget sheet to see where our spending is for the month.
I’m not the only one that’s fallen in love with Tiller. Last year, Tiller won the “Best Wealth Management Tool” 2018 Fintech Breakthrough Award.
If you like spreadsheets, you’ll definitely love Tiller. But, even if you’ve never used a spreadsheet before, it’s super easy to learn how with Tiller’s tutorials.
The beauty of Tiller is in its simplicity and flexibility. If you want a quick and easy way to get an up-to-date, comprehensive picture of your finances, but still want the ability to customize your financial information, Tiller could be a great tool for you.
Review written by Amanda
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