Budgeting isn’t always easy, and that’s especially true when you have kids. In addition to regular bills, you have to juggle all the extra expenses that crop up throughout the month — school activities, doctor and dentist appointments, and demands for spending money, for example.
If you’ve tried budgeting with pen and paper and found it didn’t work, you are definitely not alone. With a family, a home, a car, and yourself to take care of, it can be difficult to keep track of where your money is going, let alone keep your spending under control.
What is Tiller?
Enter Tiller — a monthly budgeting spreadsheet app that promises to help you manage your monthly cash flow while sticking to a preset spending plan. With Tiller, you can monitor your spending all in one place, work up a realistic monthly budget, and track your net worth. Best of all, you can do it through a single interface instead of monitoring all your transactions through separate accounts.
If you’ve tried to budget and so far failed, give Tiller a look. Keep reading to learn more about how this app works, what it costs, and who it is good for.
How Tiller works
First things first. To understand whether you’re a good fit for Tiller, you have to understand how it works. Tiller is the only financial app that consolidates all your financial transactions into Google Sheets. Once all your information is in Google Sheets, you can then access the rest of Tiller's benefits — perks like a debt snowball spreadsheet, household budget spreadsheet, net worth tracker, and a spreadsheet you can customize to meet all your financial goals.
With Tiller, you:
- Link your bank accounts: After you sign up for Tiller, you will link your checking, savings, debit, and credit card accounts to the app.
- Select a template: Tiller offers several Google Sheets templates to get the budgeting party started. You can choose from one of their pre-loaded sheets or customize your own.
- Start tracking: Once Google Sheets is populated with your financial information and transactions, start tracking your income and outflow in real time.
Tiller syncs your daily transactions to your Google Sheets automatically on a daily basis, meaning you can log in and see how your spending is going at any time day or night. Tiller also offers a daily email summary of your financial transactions, so you can stay on top of your spending as well as your monthly bills.
Tiller is not only 100% ad-free, but it’s 100% secure as well. What this means is, you won’t be inundated with ads as you log into and out of your accounts all day. You can also rest assured that your private information is secure and inaccessible to hackers and thieves. Why? Because Tiller is backed up by bank-grade 256-bit AES encryption.
What does this mean? I'm not 100% sure, but I do know that Tiller is safe, and I recommend it.
How much does Tiller cost?
The first thing you should know about Tiller’s pricing is that you do get a 30-day free trial. This is important if you’re unsure whether Tiller would work for you or not. With a free trial, you can spend a few weeks trying Tiller out to see if it offers functionality that is helpful for your budgeting and spending style.
After the first 30 days, Tiller is just $5 per month. There are no other fees, nor are their hidden fees. While it’s certainly not free, paying $5 per month is easy to justify if you are able to save at least that much by tracking your spending. And, if you’re not able to squeeze $5 of value out of Tiller by having access to all your financial transactions in one place, you’re probably doing it wrong.
How to sign up for Tiller
Signing up for Tiller is really easy.
- Go to TillerHQ.com
2. Sign up for the free, 30-day trial using your Google account.
3. Enter your credit or debit card info
4. Add you checking, savings, credit card, investment, Paypal and other bank accounts. Each step requires you enter your password twice, ensuring high security.
5. Chose the type of spreadsheet, including monthly budget investing, debt payoff, savings goals, business and others — or create a custom budget.
6. BAM, your budget is created in a Google Sheet (or Excel, if you prefer). All ready for your goals!
Tiller pros and cons
The advantages of using a budgeting app like Tiller are numerous, but your benefit will depend on how you use it. Since Tiller is customizable, you can use it however you want to achieve any number of financial goals.
Still, one of Tiller’s main strengths is the fact it lets you see all of your spendings in one place. The app will even let you connect accounts from different family members (you and a partner or you and your kids, for example) to provide a holistic view of where the family coffers are being spent every month.
Even if you don’t want to customize, Tiller’s six premade spreadsheets may be enough to get you where you want to be. For starters, they offer a “transactions” tab that shows you all your financial transactions and purchases in one place. They also offer a budgeting tab that allows you to create spending goals and compare your transactions in real-time.
Another premade spreadsheet is their debt snowball tab. “Snowball” is a debt payoff method that requires you to organize your debts from smallest to biggest and pay them off in that order. The idea behind the debt snowball is that, when you pay off the smallest balances first, you gain momentum that helps you stay on track toward your ultimate goal of debt freedom. It is incredibly satisfying to knock off one debt after the other.
With the debt snowball, you’ll pay the minimum payment on all your debts except for the smallest. For your smallest debt, you’ll pay as much as you can every month until it’s gone. Then you’ll move onto the next smallest debt, and so on. The Tiller debt snowball spreadsheet can help you organize and track your debt snowball.
Then, there are your savings. Tiller offers another spreadsheet tab that allows you to track your savings for various goals. You can save up an emergency fund, for example, but you can also set up targeted savings for big purchases like a car or new furniture.
Finally, the Tiller net worth tracker can help you monitor an important component of your financial health — your net worth. Your net worth is the total sum of all your assets minus your liabilities. In a perfect world, this number increases over time as you build wealth and destroy debt. Tiller makes tracking your net worth easy since it knows all the figures and keeps track of your finances for you in one place.
And let’s not forget that you can use the Tiller app to customize spreadsheets of your own. If you want to track certain types of spending (i.e. dining out or entertainment) in a separate sheet, for example, Tiller lets you do that. Or, let’s say you do a lot of shopping at big box stores where you buy both groceries and household supplies. Tiller’s customizable spreadsheets make it possible to break out your purchases into different categories so you can track them more easily.
In summary, Tiller offers a unique blend of automation and customization. The spreadsheets they offer have built-in tracking capabilities, but you can also tinker with them to help you reach your spending and savings goals.
- Automatically syncs with your bank accounts
- Works with Google Sheets, which you may already be familiar with
- Customizable spreadsheets you can alter
- No ads
- Your financial information is secure
- Monitor your transactions from anywhere via the app
- Powerful financial reports and charts
- Track your spending and budget your own way
- Get help and support via chat, email, or phone
While Tiller comes with some serious perks for people who want to make budgeting easier, there are some downsides to consider. For example, Tiller may be overwhelming for you if you have never used Google Sheets before — especially at first. This is especially true if you were hoping to customize some spreadsheets to help you achieve specific financial goals. It may take you a few hours to learn the ins and outs of Google Sheets upfront.
Fortunately, Tiller offers some helpful guides and add-ons you can access directly on their website. If you’re having trouble customizing or can’t figure out some aspect of using Tiller, you can also email them, call them, or hit them up on chat.
The other downside of Tiller is the fact it isn’t free. If you’re someone who is very averse to paying a monthly fee to track your own spending, then I could see trying the free version of Mint or trying to track your spending on your own instead.
With that being said, Tiller can do all the hard work for you if you let it. If you wish you were better with money but know you need help, it may be worth it to give Tiller a try.
You don’t have to pay anything for the first 30 days, and the app only costs $5 per month thereafter. If Tiller could help you keep your spending in check, save more money every month, and finally get on a budget that works, then $5 per month may seem like nothing.
If you want to track your finances and save more money for the cost of a cup of coffee each month, sign up here for your free 30-day trial.
Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, noted blogger, and bestselling author. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.