Building a Notion Tracker in Notion

A step by step tutorial on how to track your finances and create a budget with Notion. An easy walkthrough by Red Gregory that covers how to track personal cashflow with the relevant formulas while automatically calculating balance from income and expenses with proper roll ups and relations.
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Tutorial overview

I. Introduction

  • Brief overview of the video's content and purpose: a tutorial on using Notion to track personal finances

II. Setting Up the Personal Cash Flow System

  • Explanation of how to create three databases (monthly income, monthly expenses, and balance calculator)
  • Instructions on how to set up a starting balance property and rollup properties for total income and balance

III. Customizing the Databases

  • Instructions on how to customize the properties of the databases, including changing the "Tags" property to "Month" and adding a "Amount" property
  • Explanation of how to add months as select options and how to add filter for showing database view for a specific month

IV. Inputting Data

  • An example of how to input income data, including creating a filter to only show entries for a specific month
  • Mentioning that adding the date of the transaction is optional.

V. Conclusion

  • A reminder that the video is just an overview of how to set up a basic personal finance tracking system in Notion, and encourage the audience to build on it and make it fit their needs.


So, I hope you guys liked last week's video. It was a tour of my Notion workspace, or really just a part of it. I am happy to continue showing parts of my personal Notion workspace.

Today, what I want to do is make a little bit of a shorter video. I want to make one that specifically is about Notion finances. This is a request I get a lot and it's interesting to me that I do get it a lot, but I can understand why someone would want to track more broad simple expenses, just an inflow of income and an outflow of expenses generally, budgeting, and things like that with Notion.

So, I went in this past week and tried to figure out what is the simplest and easiest way to do something like that. So, I'm gonna stop talking and let's just get right into it.

So, in this personal cash flow, we have three different databases. We have monthly income, monthly expenses, and a balance calculator where they all connect to. You'll see in the balance calculator, there are four different properties. There is the starting balance, this is what you're going to fill in, whatever balance you are starting with. Then, you have another rollup property. Actually, you have two of them; one is for the total income and this will be added automatically. And the balance formula will simply take our starting balance, add the total income, subtract the expenses and give a fluid balance that will change as you manipulate these databases.

So, let's just make this from scratch. Firstly, inside of a blank page, what I'm doing is I'm making sure it is full width and to do that you can go up to the top right-hand corner, there are three dots to click, and you can toggle on full width. Let's create those three databases, so go forward slash inline table, and call this balance calculator.

You really only need one row here, so I'm going to delete those other two. Do it two more times, this income and this one expenses. So the first thing I want to do is get rid of this tags property that comes with a new inline table and I'm going to give this one row its name which is total balance. And I'm just going to create that starting balance property because we don't really need anything for that right now. Let's go down to income and change this tags property to month and just change this to select. I can do the same thing down here in expenses and change this to select.

Here's another thing I want to do, I want to quickly just put in those 12 months January to December, but I want to do it quickly so what I'm actually going to do is change this back to text and I'm going to go January, comma space, do the next month and just kind of go down the line March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December. From here, what I'm going to do is first copy this cell, go down to expenses, change this to text as well, and just paste it in. And now, I'm going to change both of these properties to select, and inside of the select options, I will have all 12 months.

Now that I have that, I can add the next property called "Amount." I'll change that to a number property. I'll do the same thing down here in "Expenses."

And I can change this "Amount" to "Dollars" again, like above. And I'll choose "Dollar" before I continue.

Let's just put in some examples for "Income," like for instance, a paycheck. Now, let's say there is actually another paycheck here. What you can do is create a filter. So, let's create a filter and make sure this database view shows only the month of January. And we'll create another database view for February and so on. So, whenever I create a new entry, January will automatically appear.

For example, let's say there's another paycheck, I can also put a date in here to see what date I received this money, say maybe January 1st. So, you can also do that if you'd like.

The next entry down might be something like a side hustle, donations made in the month, stuff like that. So, let's just keep those as the examples. And let's say the amount made is fourteen hundred dollars per paycheck.

I can come down here at "Calculate" and actually calculate a sum. So, I'm just going to do the same thing down here in "Expenses." It's going to be the same filter, where in this database view, I'm just going to make sure that the month is January.

And the first expense might be something like rent, another one loans, subscriptions, entertainment, utilities, and grocery. And I can just do the same thing where I put in the amount.

Okay, so now that I have this, what I'm going to do is create another property to connect to this "Balance Calculator" because I want the sum of the amount in both of these databases to appear up here.

So, I'm going to create a property called " Calculator," and I'm going to make sure it is a relation. And I'm going to find "Balance Calculator" so, select a database called "Balance Calculator." And then from here, I can just find "Total Balance," and you'll see that another relation has popped up inside of "Balance Calculator," which is connecting back to "Related to Income." And I can just change this to "Income" and hide it, don't really need to see that there.

So, if you want to quickly make sure all of these connect to "Total Balance," the first thing you can do right here is actually click inside of the cell, click out to make sure it is highlighted in blue, copy, click and drag all of these empty cells and then just paste them in. So, that's one way to do it, but you can also adjust that filter to add another filter that says, "End, not only is the month of January, but to Calculator contains Total Balance," so that for every new entry it will always connect to "Calculator."

So now that we have that, I can create a rollup. So, what I'm going to do is call this "Total Income," and I'm going to make sure that this property is a rollup. And you'll find that right under "Relation," I'm going to configure this rollup to find the "Income," which is that relation we just made.

The text describes a process for creating a financial spreadsheet using a program. The person speaking is guiding the listener through the process, telling them how to use certain filters and formulas to organize and analyze their data.

First, the speaker instructs the listener to drag down and paste information into the spreadsheet. They then explain how to use the filter function to add a "total balance" filter and a "total expenses" filter. The speaker also tells the listener to rename a property related to expenses to "expenses" and to hide certain properties that are not needed.

Next, the speaker explains how to create a "roll up" to find the relation to expenses, making sure the property is set to "amount" and the sum is set to "2040." They then explain how to create a formula in the "advanced" section that finds the balance by adding the "starting balance" to "total income" and subtracting "total expenses."

The speaker then moves on to creating "type select properties" for different types of income and expenses, such as "fixed" and "flexible." They also suggest creating a "budget" property to track whether expenses are over or under budget.

Finally, the speaker suggests creating a new view for the month of February and duplicating the information from the default view, which they have renamed to "January."

Change copy to march and then just change that filter again to march and it will always contain that total balance relation.

Now I want to show you how to create these columns and to color these databases. So firstly, what I want to do is just enter this a few times and I'm going to create a toggle forward/toggle and the first one I'm going to call "income" and the second one "expenses." And what I'm going to do is just create two columns here by dragging over. Let's make sure this toggle income is the color blue and maybe expenses can be the color pink. So when I go to drag income inside of this toggle, everything inside will be blue. And if I do the same thing with expenses, everything inside will be pink.

Another thing I want to do is make sure there is a sort. So I'm going to go down to sort and make sure that I'm sorting this by amount descending and I also want to sort that type property. So I'm going to go type, is maybe you can drag this up here. So I'm going to see all my fixed expenses at the very top from the most to the least and then my flexible expenses down here. And I can just add that sort over here as well.

Then what I did was, I have that image right, so I'm just going to grab one of these empty blocks and make a column with another empty block and go forward slash image. And you can find images via unsplash just press this button here and maybe search for money and I can put a little image there. And then just drag this balance calculator under this column and adjust it so I can see everything.

Another thing you can do is if you have a long list of entries and you just want to look quickly at all of your fixed income or all of your extra income and you want to see the sum total, what I suggest is just going to this search and going fixed income. And you can also search via tags so this isn't just searching for your name which is really nice and you'll see that the sum has also adjusted. That's another cool way of visualizing your system.

I actually want to adjust this a bit just this column so I can see my in budget or over budget. The last thing I want to show you is another way to visualize these months. So if you don't want to file through each one of these database views for each month you can also create a linked database. So I'm just going to go forward slash linked database. And let's say I want to look at all my expenses through the year, I'm going to look for the expenses database and I'm going to make sure that the view is board view and it already has grouped all of my tags as the month. So I'm going to hide this no month here so it's flush to the side. You can also change the group by. Right now it's by month. You could also look by type and I can see everything, all of my expenses in January.

I'm going to adjust how I see this though. Firstly, I'm going to go to properties card preview is going to be none the card size small. I'm going to make sure I see the amount and the type and whether I'm over or in budget. And that's it over here at the top you'll see a little number. I can click through that as well and calculate the sum of maybe my budget or the amount I spent.

he whole year, as I go along and how much I spent each month, you can do the same thing with income of course. And create this board view and just make sure it's grouped by the month. So that's another way of visualizing. There's a lot of ways to visualize this stuff in notion so I suggest just playing around to get a feel of what you want. I'm going to leave that template down below the finished template which will have all of the months in the database views so all that will already be created if you didn't want to do this along with me.

So let's just get right into the outro. If you are using notion to track finances or you're using something similar to this or you plan on using something like this, let me know what your plans are down below. I also have a discord link in the description so you can chat with me there. Also, if you have any specific questions I'll most likely be able to answer questions there.

And yeah, I'll see you guys the rest of the week on twitter, I also talk about notion there all the time. I also have a blog where I also publish different little tutorials on these programs so all those links will be down below. And I'll see you guys next week probably with another tour video. You guys really liked the last week's notion tour which is kind of surprising to me, so I might do an equivalent with Rem Note if you are into that and I'll see you then.