How Tiller is Helping People Save Half Their Incomes

Kathleen Celmins from Stacking Benjamins shares her story about how she learned to save half her income on a $30,000 salary and how anyone can learn to do the same with the help of Tiller and Stacking Benjamins Save 50 course.

After being featured on the Stacking Benjamins podcast last year we were excited for the chance to work with them again. We invited Kathleen Celmins to share her story about how she saves half her income and how Tiller, and their Save 50 course, can help you do the same.

Saving half my income has become one of my pillars of personal finance ever since I got serious about paying off a mountain of debt in 2012. If you’re interested, you can read about my credit card debt love story (spoiler alert: we break up) here. I tallied up my savings at the end of 2012, and, although it felt like I wasn’t saving any money, I’d effectively saved 47% of my income.

And my salary was just a shade over $30,000 at the time.

Saving half has been a passion of mine ever since. Once I realized I needed to stop bothering my in-person friends about it, I took to the Internet and wrote about saving half my income —  how to do it, why to consider doing it, and how my life changed because of it — until my fingers hurt. The Save 50 archive is on Frugal Portland here


After having umpteen discussions about my “extreme” savings plan, I realized I could help other people do what I’ve been doing for over three years now. So, along with my business partner, Joe Saul-Sehy, we created an online course: Save 50.

In the middle of creating this course, I talked to Peter from Tiller. We were discussing ways to talk about Tiller on Stacking Benjamins, and I mentioned that I was putting together a course to help people figure out how they can save half their income.

“That could really change peoples’ lives,” he said. “Maybe we can help — why don’t we put together a Tiller template specifically for people in the course?”


And we did! Students in Save 50 have access to an amazing spreadsheet that puts to practice everything we discuss in the course. The Save 50 worksheet, like any Tiller spreadsheet, pulls transaction information from any account you link to it, then allows you to split things — like your mortgage, for example — into principal payment and interest. Once you’re done categorizing your transactions, you move to another tab, where the real magic is. That tab will tell you how close you are to saving half, and it’ll break things down on a monthly basis.

I loved working with Tiller because saving half your income is mostly a mindset shift. So, the majority of the Save 50 course is about how to harness the energy a person has when they sign up (“It sounds crazy, but maybe I can save half my income”) to a series of systems that help keep the person accountable when their enthusiasm fades.

I initially planned on building a rudimentary spreadsheet, but Tiller helped us go farther with a  more powerful tool that allows our students to go even deeper (without having to enter information themselves).

If you’re interested in learning more about Save 50, click here. The course is open until January 29th, so check it out before your window closes!

Kathleen Celmins is a managing partner at Stacking Benjamins, LLC, the parent company of the award-winning Stacking Benjamins podcast, Frugal Portland, and For Profit Blogging. She thinks saving half your income should be something we all strive toward, and she really likes helping new bloggers find their footing.

Heather Phillips

Heather Phillips

Heather comes from a background of user experience design & customer support. She loves helping others learn, explore and discover better ways to use applications and products that improve their lives. When she’s not coaching customers on Tiller best practices, tweeting or writing blogs, she’s probably at a yoga class, out for a hike in the Blue Ridge, or off volunteering for a variety of non-profits.

Leave a Reply

Start Your Free Trial

"There isn’t another tool on the market that does what Tiller can do.”
Will Hinton, Google Review October 30, 2023