The new year is here, and with it fresh opportunity to optimize our financial lives.
January is the perfect month to review your financial standing and revisit (or reset) financial goals.
When Tiller asked over 500 people about their #1 financial goal for 2019, the top five responses were:
- Spend less money.
- Pay down debt.
- Make and follow a budget.
- Build an emergency savings fund.
- Create an additional income stream.
These are life-changing goals. The good news is they’re all realistic and achievable.
This new year is a perfect opportunity to see if Tiller-powered spreadsheets can help you more easily manage your money and reach your financial goals.
Here are five ways to get started:
1) Get Organized – See All Your Finances in One Place
Tiller automatically updates Google Sheets and Excel each day with spending, transactions, and balances from all your linked accounts.
These can include bank, credit, loan, business and brokerage accounts.
This means you can easily see all your key financial metrics at a glance in a single spreadsheet with a single secure login. (What Banks Work With Tiller?)
No more logging into multiple accounts. No more exporting CSV files.
It’s the most convenient way to stay financially informed throughout the new year.
BONUS: Tiller also sends an optional daily email with a snapshot of all linked account balances to help keep you financially informed.
2) Spend Less Money – Easily Track Your Expenses (At Last)
The best, most critical first step you can take to improve your finances is to track your spending. – Libby Kane, Business Insider
Financial experts say tracking spending is the first and most influential step to optimizing your finances.
For example, in the New York Times Kristen Wong says to improve your finances, “the first practical step is to track your spending.”
In a separate New York Times article, Shannon McLay, founder of the Financial Gym, explains why she asks new clients to track every expense they make for a month.
She says “I’ve had clients save over $3,000 a month just from paying attention to where they’re spending their money.”
There are concrete reasons to focus on tracking spending for a couple of months before focusing on other financial goals:
- You can’t make a budget until you truly know where your money goes.
- Knowing how you’re spending can trigger almost immediate habit changes.
- You’ll pay attention and feel in control of your money – and that’s a win all around.
- You might be paying for expenses you either don’t know about or don’t need.
- You’ll probably be shocked by the true cost of the items you buy on autopilot.
Tracking spending in a spreadsheet is very easy with Tiller.
The service does the hard work for you – getting all your transactions into a spreadsheet. You can then manually categorize them with pre-set or custom categories, which takes less than one minute for a dozen new transactions.
Or, you have the option to manually categorize transactions in a spreadsheet template, or you can use our AutoCat add-on for Google Sheets to automatically categorize transactions.
3) Pay Down Debt
The new year is the perfect time to make a debt payoff goal.
Every Tiller subscription includes the Debt Snowball spreadsheet template.
We named template after the “snowball” method because research shows it’s the most effective overall approach for the largest number of people. It’s based on a simple formula: “pay off the smallest debt first.”
Three large experiments based on actual credit card data that confirm the snowball approach works. They found that “focusing on paying down the account with the smallest balance tends to have the most powerful effect on people’s sense of progress – and therefore their motivation to continue paying down their debts.”
This aligns with a large amount of other research on the power of small wins to keep people motivated. Again, perfect for the new year.
But you don’t need to use the snowball method with our Debt Snowball spreadsheet. Use it to target debt with a payoff strategy that works for you, including the snowball method, avalanche method, or your own custom approach.
4) Get Financially in Sync With Your Spouse or Partner
A Tiller-powered spreadsheet is the easiest and most flexible way to manage joint accounts and successfully reach money goals with a partner.
Because Google Sheets and Excel online are based in the cloud, you can open your budget spreadsheet anywhere, and invite your partner to do the same as an equal contributor.
If you have a purchase you need to communicate about, Google Sheets allows you to tag the other person via email, alerting them to the need for further communication.
Bonus – If you’re paying off debt with a partner, read this post about how you can increase your odds of success by up to 95% by setting up a recurring accountability appointment.
5) Make a Budget
Budgeting forces us to face the reality of how we spend. It allows us the opportunity to see the gap between what we say is important to us and how we spend our money.– Carl Richards
Budgeting doesn’t have to be tedious or time-consuming if you choose a method aligned with your unique financial situation and goals.
And even if you have no intention to follow a budget through the year, making one in January can help you understand your financial situation. It’s a useful exercise to see what’s possible with your money.
Tiller offers two Google Sheets budget templates to get started.
- Tiller Monthly Budget – A simple and easily customizable monthly budget spreadsheet.
- Tiller Budget – includes support for zero-sum and envelope budgeting.
If you’ve never made a personal budget in a spreadsheet, you might be surprised at their simplicity and flexibility.
Read: How to Win at Budgeting
The Tiller Advantage
From saving money to building wealth, Tiller was designed to help people achieve financial goals.
As Fast Company notes, “Spreadsheets + money = a sense of control.” The same Fast Company article reports that people who switch from an app to a spreadsheet are “92% are more aware of their spending habits.”
Tiller automatically imports your daily finances from all linked accounts into Google Sheets and Excel. This gives you the financial control of a spreadsheet without the chore of importing transactions.
With Tiller, you can manage your money in a spreadsheet 10X faster. Powerful templates get you started.
“I just wanted something simple and decided on using a spreadsheet as the best method to do things the way I wanted.” – “How do you actually track your monthly expenses?”
Only spreadsheets fully empower you to see and manage your money your way, even as your financial goals change over time. Read more.