All the budgeting apps

Emma: I really want to like it, but it only works with one of my banks (Monzo) with no prospect of my other banks being added anytime soon. Also really don’t like the Facebook login, or the way the budgeting works.

Monzo: assumes I want to spend all my money each month and shows summary accordingly. Setting the budget doesn’t work for me. I completely ignore the summary screen the vast majority of the time.

YNAB: Is incredible. I saw it mentioned a few times on here and gave it a try. For the first time ever I actually feel really in control of my finances, rather than them controlling me. It just really clicks with the way my mind works. Currently using it for free as a student, but will absolutely be happily paying for it next year.

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Tandem (the credit card people) is also an aggregation/ budgeting type app. I still use the credit card, but not the other functionality, because it sucked.

My finding with all of these things is that they’re useless if they’re not perfect. If that summary number of “how much you can spend this month”, or “what you spent on category X last month/ the whole year” is not accurate, you can’t rely on them for anything. “Oops, it didn’t take my new direct debit in to account!”. You still have to double check and do everything manually. So there’s no point.

I used YNAB the most, but like the others I tried, it never managed to learn categories of purchases correctly, I could never get it to understand my transfers to other accounts in a useful way, and it was a lot of manual effort each month just to tell me about purchases I had already made long ago.

For me the best budgeting app in the world is Starling. That saved my financial life. Because it’s your actual bank account, everything is direct as opposed to a potentially inaccurate reflection. Using Goals for your budgets lets you not care about automated tagging mistakes. You just keep nothing in your current account, and if you want to buy something, you take the required amount of money out of a goal first.

That really makes you think about each purchase, and makes you directly aware of how much you’re spending in each category and how much you have left for the month.

I don’t think any other tool can really come close to the simplicity and power of envelope budgeting with Starling.

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Monzo :woman_shrugging:

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Added these to the list too

I agree re. money dashboard, nice UI but ultimately I didn’t find it useful enough to stick with it

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I spotted a new one yesterday when walking through a Wayra co-working space, looks kinda interesting: https://sync.money/

Hi @Tom-H , I’m assuming you didn’t use your Monzo account with Oval money? I’m trying to setup weekly round ups but Monzo is not in their list

Hey @Joeldrew, you know that’s the only one in the list I’ve not actually tried. I’d heard of it around so thought it worth sticking in there.

Interested to know how you find it!

I’ve been around the block with budgeting/expense tracking/financial overview apps, and in my humble opinion none of them meet my needs. They’re too simple, most don’t track investments/financial instruments, usually rely on credentials scraping and most of the time require manual intervention if they categorise something wrong.

For the past 12 months I’ve been using https://plaintextaccounting.org/ - granted it helps if you’re good on the command line, but crucially it works for me. Specifically, I’ve been using beancount with fava https://beancount.github.io/fava/

Tracks investments/net worth/savings/credit and everything else once you get it all set up!

Yes it’s more manual than the promise of these “automated” solutions, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay in favour of these half baked apps that seem to come out once a week that promise you everything under the sun!

EDIT: I would second the recommendation for YNAB though if command line tinkering isn’t your thing!

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What are you using for this?

@christiaanb Probably fintech-to-ynab/fintech-to-ynab which is also available as a (paid) service at syncforynab.com

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Set up with syncforynab.com, lovely, thanks

What’s the best way to deal with Pots using YNAB and syncforynab? Manually?

No idea, sorry. I set up the no-cost-sync option which runs in the background and works perfectly for me. Pots are viewed as an ‘external’ account, so transfers to pots are ‘debited’ from my Monzo account as they happen. What will/should happen in the future, when I transfer from a Pot to my main Monzo account, is that the amount will appear in my main Monzo account as a credit.

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I’m looking at using an app to view all my accounts in one place.

Seems to me like it’s between Yolt and Emma.

Does anyone have any preferences?

I personally prefer Emma mainly because it does a better job of presenting individual transaction information: it does a better job than Yolt of converting the janky transaction name that banks provide to a more appealing simple merchant name and logo, and when you click on a transaction it provides some useful information that Yolt does not, such as transaction history.

However, Yolt does support more banks and seems to be more intent on supporting use of API-based access sooner rather than later.

No harm in trying both.

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I really liked Yolt until i got a new phone and it asked me to casually key in a 16 digit code to authorise the account login from a new phone…
with no link to customer support or anything…

Really looking out for new fintechs coming onto the scene for various reasons… i think i’m kind of over having pink/yellow/aqua cards etc, i just want a card that looks slick in the wallet, rather than some kind of 90’s sweet.
I’d like it if monzo just offered a dark blue card with a hot coral edge.

How do we feel about Yolt requiring proof of ID to use it? It seems they will soon introduce payment capabilities and other services that require ‘know your customer’ but I feel that requirement should be opt-in, rather than mandatory; Yolt says it is a requirement to use ‘certain functions’ but it appears to be required to use the app at all - and the Ts & Cs state as much. If that’s correct, why isn’t Emma demanding the same?

I signed up to Yolt for (passive) tracking, not this. Anyone else feel the same?

Yeah. It’s concerned me a bit. But there is a bit of Yolt called ‘Pay’ which required proof of ID, so I’ve ignored it. I think that might be the ’certain functions’ they are referring to.

Yolt seems to work OK without it, so I’ll continue to ignore it.

Check your email - I got one from them telling me I have seven days before needing to prove my ID:

Hey there,

Enjoy using Yolt? We hope so!

To continue staying on top of your budgets and getting the best out of Yolt, you need to confirm your identity – read all about why we’re asking for ID verification here.

You’ll still be able to use Yolt for the next seven days, after which full access will require completing the verification process. So head to the ‘Accounts’ tab in Yolt to verify your identity now!

We’ve also got some exciting features coming in 2019 you won’t want to miss

I haven’t got that yet. I guess I’ll stick to Emma, then.

YNAB not accepting any UK feed seems like a huge pain in the backside