The Best Budgeting App Isn’t an App

Well, this sounds like a conundrum, doesn’t it? What could possibly be the best budgeting app, yet not be an app?

That’s us, Tiller.

The Fintech Breakthrough Awards recently announced Tiller as the 2017 “Best Personal Finance Budgeting Service”, thanks to you, our customers, and the amazing stories you’ve been sharing about how you are using Tiller to manage your finances.

People often wonder how a online budgeting spreadsheet tool can possibly work better for them than the latest mobile budgeting app.

Perhaps they’ve tried using Excel spreadsheets for budgeting but found them tedious or time-consuming. We firmly believe that using a Google Sheet powered by Tiller is the way to go. Here’s why:

Finance spreadsheets for budgeting work

That's why we built Tiller. People who manage their finances using spreadsheets tend to do so successfully. We found that 92% of spreadsheet users are more aware of their financial habits as a result of using spreadsheets, and of course, awareness is the first step of a successful financial journey.

Managing your budget with a spreadsheet is always a hands-on experience, but a pain point of traditional spreadsheets is manual data entry. Tiller eliminates the tedious manual entry with a daily automatic feed of your bank data into a Google Sheet.

Automated account feeds are not new in the world of budgeting apps, but Tiller is the only service that automates that data into a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets work because they're incredibly adaptable for the needs of any given user, which leads us to our next point:

Fully-customize your online budgeting tool

There are almost as many different ways of managing finances as people trying to manage them. The “one size fits all” approaches offered by budgeting apps can’t possibly suit everyone. For example, some apps:

  • Automatically categorize transactions for you, which can be difficult to modify.
  • Box you into a certain budgeting method.
  • Focus on net worth or budget tools, but not both.
  • Are limited by pre-defined reports and analysis.
  • Limit how you set up your budget or workflow.
  • Don’t allow for more than one budget scenario.

Many people will stick it out with the app for a while, but if they find that it’s just not suited to what they need, they often give up. This can lead to financial omissions at the same time.

Set up a custom budget time period, categories and track your budget the way you want with the Tiller Budget spreadsheet template.

Set up a custom budget time period, categories and track your budget the way you want with the Tiller Budget spreadsheet template.

By contrast, using a spreadsheet opens you up to many different options for customizing how you manage your finances. With Tiller, you can choose from a wide range of financial spreadsheet templates (which you can also customize to meet your specific needs) or build your own from scratch. The road to financial fitness is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s important that you have tools that will help you along that personal journey.

Our customers are setting and meeting many different goals, often varied based upon where they are on the financial path. For example, some use Tiller to facilitate getting out of debt, save for important milestones, pay for school or a house, or give more. Spreadsheets allow you the ultimate flexibility to track how you spend and budget so you can align it with your values.

Easily collaborate on shared finances

Money management can often be a collaborative effort. You might be in a relationship where you have joint financial obligations, share finances with a business partner, or help out a friend or relative with their budgeting.

The important thing in any joint financial management situation is to have regular conversations that cultivate an awareness around finances. It's not uncommon for relationships to end over money issues, so transparency and frequent discussions are keys to managing finances well.

Time Magazine wrote about a national money survey that revealed big shifts in recent years, particularly in how couples manage money. Traditionally, one person has taken charge of budgeting and finances, but they state a joint approach is typically better:

“...when it comes to ­money, a joint approach typically trumps managing solo. Besides the fairness factor (income power shouldn’t automatically confer decision-making power), there’s a practical reason: Men and women, it’s been well documented, often have different but complementary financial skills that work better together than separately.”

Of course, regardless of the makeup of your financial relationship, it’s always better if the parties involved have clarity about finances.

Tiller (because it runs on Google Sheets) allows you to easily collaborate with otherswhile managing exactly how much permission is given. For example, you might have different spreadsheets for different purposes, so sharing only what is relevant is easy. You can ensure that your business partner has editing access to the sheet for the business, but can’t access your personal finance sheets. Your accountant might have “view” access to everything, whereas your spouse may have “edit” access. Collaboration is simple and can be easily managed.

Your online budgeting tool will impact your financial performance

Managing your finances may resemble a marathon, but if you shown up on the starting line, ready to give it some attention, you’re already doing better than many others.

Finding a tool that suits your needs is a great step to better financial management, particularly in helping you create awareness. If you want more flexibility and control than you’ve found with other apps, then try Tiller. This is, in fact, the reason Tiller was recently awarded “Best Personal Finance Budgeting Service.”

Using a spreadsheet for budgeting doesn’t have to be the cumbersome experience of the past. Tiller provides data feeds, templates, and customer support to make it easy.. The best budgeting “app” isn’t an app!