Many budgeters have long used spreadsheets as a method for keeping track of their money. However, until now there wasn't a way to sync the data. Tiller Money is a personal finance app that helps you create customized Google Sheets to be automatically updated with your account information. It links to your bank accounts and can track your spending and income, as well as provide ideas for paying off your debt.
- Personal finance newbies
- Young investors
Review of: Tiller Money
Reviewed by: Kara Perez
Last modified: June 20, 2018
If you’ve got any interest in your personal finances, there’s a good chance you’ve used a spreadsheet or two in your day. Spreadsheets make it easy to track all your numbers — what’s coming in and what’s going out are organized nicely in their respective cells.
But if you’re looking to take your spreadsheet game to the next level, Tiller Money might be just the personal finance app you need. We took it for a spin to find out how it works.
What Is Tiller Money?
Tiller Money was created by CEO Peter Polson in 2014. To date, it’s the only service that can sync your daily financial transactions with customizable Google Sheets. So Tiller helps you set up your spreadsheet, and then it’s automatically updated as your balances change to help you examine your finances and plan to meet your money goals.
It’s definitely for people who want to be more hands-on than some of the other personal finance software out there, such as Mint.com or Personal Capital, allows. However, you might find it’s a good companion app to use in addition to those services.
Tiller Money Features
|Credit Score Monitoring|
|Import QFX, QIF Files|
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How Does Tiller Money Work?
Tiller Money links to your bank accounts and automatically transfers your money transactions to a Google Sheet. It does all the data entry for you. You can use spreadsheet templates that Tiller provides, or you can customize your own. Tiller updates every day, so your spreadsheet will always have the most up-to-date information about your finances.
When setting up a budget sheet with Tiller, you can customize your income and expense categories, as well as select a time frame such as weekly, monthly or quarterly. You’re also given the opportunity to hide categories from your budget. Tiller takes it from there, and you don’t need to fuss with any formulas (one of the most annoying parts of setting up a spreadsheet). You’ll receive a daily email summary detailing your latest transactions and balances, so there are never any surprises.
Tiller can link to more than 10,000 banks and financial institutions, but if yours is not on the list, you’re encouraged to email the Tiller support team so that they can add it. You can also enter information manually until your bank has made the list.
But Tiller is about more than just tracking your spending. You can also use it to help you pay off your debt. For example, there’s a debt snowball spreadsheet that can help you track your debt and utilize the debt snowball method as you pay off each debt. (You can read more about this payoff strategy here.)
Note that in order to get started, you do need a Google (Gmail) account. And after your free 30-day Tiller trial, you’ll be billed $5 per month. However, college students can get up to a year for free with proof of enrollment.
Getting Started With Tiller Money
You can sign up for a free 30-day trial. To get going, click the “Try Tiller Free” button at the top right of the homepage. From there, Tiller will ask you to sign in with your Google account. Once you’re signed in, you’re asked to link your accounts: credit cards, checking account, savings accounts, etc.
On that same first page, you’ll also be asked to enter a credit card and a billing address that can be charged moving forward. Tiller notes that your subscription will automatically renew.
There’s also a button you can check that will allow a “Tiller analyst” to view your information. Here’s the fine print on that button: “By default, no one at Tiller will have visibility into your private transaction data. If you opt-in to share your data with Tiller analysts, we can provide personalized spending analytics to you.” If you don’t check this box, no one at Tiller gets to see your money. If you do, you get matched up with someone who can help analyze your spending with you.
You also need to agree to the Tiller terms of service on this page. Once you’ve filled all this information in, you’ll be able to create your first spreadsheet.
Tiller Money Alternatives
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Is Tiller Money Safe?
Tiller asks for a lot of personal information. You need to link both your bank and your Google accounts. For some people, that’s essentially their entire lives that Tiller has access to.
Tiller has access to more than 10,000 different banks through the Yodlee platform (which collects data from financial institutions and aggregates it). Since it charges a fee to use the platform, Tiller doesn’t put advertisements on its stuff, so it’s not selling your information to advertisers. Tiller also uses bank-level encryption. The company wants you to feel that your information is as safe with them as it is with your banks. However, those of you who are particularly concerned about bank safety can go an extra step by turning on Google’s two-factor authentication.
Pros and Cons
- Split Expenses Feature — Tiller automatically pulls your data, but you can split expenses.
- Comes With Templates — You don’t need to create your own spreadsheets if you don’t want to.
- Discount for College Students — Students get up to a year free.
- Automatic Updates — Your financial account information will be automatically kept up to date.
- Daily Summary — You'll receive a quick daily summary of account activity.
- Works Only for Google Sheets — You have to create a Google account to use TIller, but reportedly working on a plugin for Microsoft Excel.
- Not Always Intuitive — Spreadsheet nerds might rejoice at Tiller, but the average person might get tripped up.
- No Investing Options — Unlike other apps such as Mint and Personal Capital, Tiller Money provides no investment tools, including tracking.
If you need to get more organized with your budgeting, or if you want to take your spreadsheets to the next level, Tiller is just the thing you need. The spreadsheets can help you do everything from control your spending to pay down debt. It’s an affordable product, but you do need to be a Google user. Of course, signing up to Google is free, but if you’re not already a user, that’s one more login to remember.
If you’re still not convinced that you’re a “spreadsheet person,” Tiller Money may not be a good fit for you. Although the formulas are generated by the app, you still need to have a modicum of knowledge about Sheets to get started. If you want to analyze your information with charts or reports, you’ll need to figure that out on your own, too. Plus, there’s the fact that you’ll need to look at your information in a Sheets format. For some of us, our brains just don’t work that way!
Since it does cost money ($5 per month), those who need extra help when it comes to creating a budget may want to start with a free app such as Personal Capital. If you feel like your finances are a total mess, we also recommend that you check out YNAB, which does have a monthly cost ($6.99) but provides a lot of information and tools.
However, if you prefer to use the spreadsheet method for your budget but don’t want the hassle of manually updating and entering all of your information, Tiller Money is just the ticket for you.