Tiller Video Tour Episode 5: Customize Your Categories

Categories are the foundation of financial tracking. Tiller offers the flexibility to customize your categories to align with your financial priorities.

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Edited video transcript:

In our previous videos, we covered the basics of setting up your Tiller account, connecting your banks, and populating your transaction sheet. Today, we’ll explore the significance of categories and how to personalize them in your spreadsheet.

Step 1: The Importance of Categories

Categories are the foundation of financial tracking. Tiller offers the flexibility to customize your categories to align with your financial priorities. In the Category Sheet, you’ll find a list of sample categories. However, it’s crucial to delete irrelevant categories and add new ones that accurately reflect your spending patterns.

Step 2: Simplicity is Key

When creating categories, remember that less is often more. It’s easy to get carried away with too many categories, so simplicity is important for maintaining an efficient workflow. Aim for a manageable number of categories that allow you to quickly comprehend and navigate your spreadsheet. You should be able to return to your sheet at any time without feeling overwhelmed.

Step 3: Adjusting Categories

Keep in mind that you can modify your categories later. You have the flexibility to consolidate or split categories and rename them according to your evolving needs. Start with a simple schema that suits your initial requirements, and feel free to make adjustments as you gain more familiarity with your financial tracking process.

Step 4: Organizing Categories

Categories are organized into groups that make sense to you. Common groups include bills, discretionary expenses (expenses within your control), kids’ expenses, living expenses, primary income, transfers, and work-related expenses. Transfers represent transactions between accounts and are distinct from regular expenses or income. You can also create hidden categories, such as “reimbursable” under the work category, to exclude them from budgets and reports.

Step 5: Managing Budget Information

On the Category Sheet, you’ll notice columns E onward displaying budget information. We’ll revisit this when we delve into budgets later. For now, focus on establishing and refining your categories.

Step 6: Applying Categories in the Transaction Sheet

Switch to the Transaction Sheet, where you’ll find a dropdown menu listing the categories you’ve created. You can simply type in the category name, and it will auto-fill, or choose from the dropdown menu.

Pro Tip: To make categorization easier, consider using filters.

Sorting transactions by description allows you to quickly assign categories to similar transactions. Copying and pasting categories to multiple transactions can save time and streamline the process. Additionally, you can revert your spreadsheet to its previous state by sorting the date column from Z to A, bringing the most recent transactions to the top.

Step 7: Categorizing Transactions

Start by categorizing transactions for a full month. This will allow your budgets and reports to provide meaningful insights. While it’s possible to categorize older transactions, it’s not necessary unless you feel compelled to do so.

Conclusion: Congratulations on customizing your categories in Tiller!

Categories are an essential component of effective financial tracking. Remember to keep your categories simple and reflective of your financial priorities. In the next video, we’ll explore AutoCat, a feature that automates categorization based on predefined rules. Join me there for more insights into maximizing the capabilities of Tiller. Thank you!

Additional Resources:

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Edward Shepard

Edward Shepard

Marketing Lead at Tiller. Writer. Spreadsheet nerd. Get in touch with partnership ideas at edward @ tillerhq.com.

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