Bill Tracking: Trends / Cost of Living

I’ve been thinking about the cost of living crisis, the mounting energy bills… and Trends.

I’d like to pitch to @avb and team an idea for a new tab called… Bills!

But firstly what problem are we trying to solve?

I think we need an easy way to track bills over time. I’m a frequent switcher, so often move broadband or other utility provider if I can get a better deal. I want to be able to easily see all of my bills categories over time (electricity, gas, broadband, mobile phone etc) including when they change provider. The current set up doesn’t really allow for that as the merchants change and I don’t have enough categories to have one per bill.

The second thing I want to do is to understand what my personal “inflation rate” for each bill is - i.e how much it’s going up or down. I then want to see how that compares to similar households (a bit like the BBC does here) and to clearly see if I’m paying too much or have a good deal.

Thirdly, I’d like a place where I can take action and switch providers if I want to, or be taken to links about saving money (e.g. a link to my water provider’s offers or water saving suggestions).

Finally, I’d like to be able to tell Monzo what my bills for future months are likely to be. This could be, for example, my credit card bill that will always change but, when I tap that value into Monzo, let’s the Spend graph projection be accurate. Or it could be for months ahead when I’m trying to model how much money (if any) I’ll have left over after energy prices rise again.

What could this look like?

  • A new bills tab in Trends
  • Some lovely long term graphs, perhaps with the option to overlay average bill value, or normalise for inflation
  • A breakdown by bill type (e.g. mobile phone) over time and projected to the future, and to combine bills (electric and gas to energy; airtime contact and device repayment for mobile etc)
  • I think there should be a standard, Monzo curated list, of bills. That would then let Monzo (with permission) provide some comparators to see how much average bills are and whether I’m over or under
  • A button to tap to explore switching offers. Monzo makes money, we save money. What’s not to like?!
  • The ability (perhaps for Plus or Premium) customers to create custom bills categories so I can track other stuff too.
  • A future bills section, so Monzo can accurately predict my outgoings in future periods.

I think something like this would really help us get on top of our committed outgoings and make sure we tamp down on excess bills.

What do you think?

11 Likes

I like the idea.

My biggest concern with mobile apps is the limited screen estate to show all this extra ‘drill-down’ detail.

Maybe a more efficient way to implement such extras would be via a web browser (Monzo Web)?
Vote here

4 Likes

I did wonder the same, but I think the excellent job the team has done on Spend shows that they could really do something elegant (and which sparks joy) on mobile.

(I still want a browser version though).

2 Likes

With tracking those bills, would creating their own categories IE broadband etc allow you to follow these over time?

Though would cause clutter in forms of management :sweat_smile:

Or to tag a product as above, opposed to categorising each differently, to show another form of trends as you noted above :sweat_smile:

Maybe a simpler way to solve this would be to either give 5 free custom categories or add Gas/Electric/Water etc and then let people do it that way.

3 Likes

I dunno. I think something very elegant happens when you specialise around bills:

  • You bring in the ability to broker switches etc, bringing the financial hub to life and more revenue to Monzo. What’s not to like when everyone wins?
  • You start to use data for insight. You can start to benchmark cost of different bills by customer segment and really give users actionable information
  • You can look at much longer term trends and even, if you wanted, gamify savings or offer nudges about reductions
  • You have a place to put in upcoming bills/ transactions (perhaps this is a bit like Simple/Das Budget’s Expenses feature?)

I think the team behind Trends could really boss something exceptionally powerful and elegant. (I’m afraid they’ve really raised expectations!)

2 Likes

You could, I suppose. And I have some of those categories myself. But I don’t think it’s the solution because:

  • The number of categories is limited
  • You can’t aggregate categories
  • It doesn’t open the door to the exciting possibilities around switching services, benchmarked or average cost, etc.
1 Like

I would have different categories for bills for this to work really. Bills is great but it’s so broad. I want to know what I’m spending on average monthly for electric, gas, water, mobile phone etc individually to really get a feel for what I’m spending long term.

I think this is a great idea to be honest. I’d happily forgo a big central “Plus/Premium” tab for something that is actually useful.

4 Likes