I know this quote is more than a year old now, but having spent almost a year with Monzo and some time with the targets feature, I want to comment further. The more I’ve used Monzo, the more useful I feel multiple category assignments for a single transaction is important. But I don’t think it should be done as @hugo describes above where you assign multiple categories to the same amount. It should be done (as others have suggested) where you can assign, say, £5.50 to “eating out” and £10.20 to “groceries” for a single transaction at a supermarket. This is particularly important for cash, where I’d like to be able to categorise it based on my spend. In this way, the sum of all categories will always add up to the total of the transactions. But without splitting transactions into multiple categories (or some other way of solving this problem), the target/budgeting feature will never work smoothly, and we’ll always be hacking around it.
I very much support the suggestion above (and elsewhere) for sub-categories. I understand 's desire to keep a standard set of categories that everything is assigned to, and that’s fine. But there should be some way for us to augment that with our own better-defined categories. Again, this would help hugely with the targets/budgeting features.
I think these are real concerns about the current state of categories. With not being able to split transactions, and having to stuff things in “General” because they don’t fit anywhere else, I’m not sure any comparisons will be accurate enough to be even vaguely meaningful. And even ‘specific’ categories are too broad: “Transport” covers such a wide range, that there’s seemingly no way you will be able to make comparisons, given that some people will have cars, some won’t, some travel by train, some never do, some people take loads of flights, some rarely do, etc.
Ultimately, I think targets are a great start. I know they are only a start, and will improve upon them. But without addressing the fundamental issues with categories (the 20% or 40%), I can’t see how the budgeting features can become frictionless and usable without tweaks and hacks.
I use Copied, an app/extension/keyboard. (It’s excellent, highly recommended!) One of its features is that you can set up lists of clippings which are then accessible from its keyboard. I’ve set up a list for Monzo notes and stored a standard set of emojis and other text in it. When I go to tag a transaction, I switch to the Copied keyboard and tap on the emoji or text I want to insert. Presumably there’s an Android app that could do something similar. I find it a great way to work around the categories issue for now (notwithstanding this doesn’t help address the issue with my Targets).
Firstly, Im new to Monzo and so far Im happy with the system. Everything works the way it should (I even had the opportunity to receive a refund through a contactless touch at Tesco).
The biggest reason I chose to try Monzo out is to get an in depth break down of my expenses (I would imagine this is the same for many people).
As an Android user, I feel the categories are really quite light and it seems the disparity between the two operating systems is really quite large. My example is, I want to reduce the amount of money I spend on Fast Food, Beer, Coffee and eating out. However, I cant categorise these expenses, meaning I have no easy visibility of what Im spending and therefore Im not reducing what I spend.
Are there any updates from the team that give an indication on where this falls in the priority list? I cant see anything on the Trello board.
When you’re viewing the detail of a transaction, you should be able to tap the category and change it to “eating out”. As @alexs says, the categories can’t be changed or added to at the moment, but there is an eating out one which should serve your purposes for now?
Ok, I’ve just had a very long read through this thread and understand how custom categories would be at odds with another part of Monzo’s vision, namely comparisons of other Monzo user’s spending to your own*.
I do agree that customisable sub-categories are the answer here. It appears as though most people on the thread above agree on this. It’s worth looking at Lloyd’s Money Manager solution as once you create a subcategory “Coffee” and assign it to, for example your local coffee shop, the subcategory will default for transactions at that shop in the future. I cannot stress enough that the use of an emoji for categorising transactions is not something that most users -myself included- would be willing to do. I feel that a semi-automatic system where you define the category once for a given shop is mich better.
I’m personally not interested in metrics comparing my spending to other Monzo users. Have you considered how you’ll handle the case mentioned earlier in the thread? (People who shop at Sainsbury’s spend £X less on groceries per week on average). How regularly would people have to visit Sainsbury’s in order to be counted in that tally for example? I personally go there once or twice a month but do most of my other grocery spending at Waitrose. Would I be considered as “someone who shops at Sainsbury’s”? My point is that you may see such a variety in user behaviour that you’re unable to derive much in the way of accurate or useful comparisons anyway.
By the way, this forum is a great resource! It’s great to see the level of engagement the Monzo staff have with it.
Totally agree with your thoughts on sub-categories and. It wanting to (manually) assign emojis to every transaction.
Regarding your question about comparisons, I assume that the general idea is that the number of Monzo users grows to the millions and they can use the properties of so-called ‘big data’ to gain insights. But I know very little about this, and am also interested in how Monzo will deal with anomalies in people’s spending and habits. Really from a technical/philosophical standpoint rather than being worried about it.
For example, if I did some grocery shopping however as part of that that transaction I bought clothes, it would be useful to have the option of sperating a single transaction into two or more categories.
If the total of the shop came to £20 and it popped up in the Monzo app as a “Groceries” shop. It would be nice to have a slider bar to change a certain amount of that £20 into a different categories.
Hi Henry, I’ve moved your topic (which was originally titled ‘Slider bar for separating a single transaction into different spending catergories’) here, as there’s been some more discussion about splitting transactions into several categories in this thread & it’ll help other users find these ideas, I hope that makes sense!
The slider idea’s a new one though, that sounds cool
Hugo’s comment on this idea towards the top of the thread will give you some sense of the design considerations for this.
He’s also recently previewed some of the new functionality for the spending tab (it looks like categories will be splittable but we don’t know about transactions yet). It sounds like we’ll get some more details as the launch of the current accounts gets nearer
I really like how it automatically sorts categories but is it possible to add the ability to create your own categories. I know the app wouldn’t know to put things in a custom category at first but if I move a transaction to one it could ask if I wanted to put all future transactions from that retailer in that category.
Having just run through last months transactions, I still think this is an easy win for much needed functionality. Just an increase in category numbers implemented in whatever way monzo sees fit my missing top 1, like many others, is definitely health.