Forecasting your spending


(guylevin) #1

Loving the Alpha so far :smile:

I wanted to ask about a potential feature - some sort of forecasting/analysis based on spending habits.

The graph at the top already seems to show an estimated trajectory of your balance, with a faded line going down to zero. Presumably this is based on some analysis of your spending habits and works out your average daily spending?

Is it possible to add some dates or timing on this? Ie allowing you to know that ‘at your current rate of spending you’ll be at £0 in 9 days’. Or that this week you’re spending more than usual, and you might want to rein it in.

One of my big motivations for using Mondo is to help understand, budget and plan my spending better, so this would be v useful. This would (to me at least) be even more useful than just a better segmentation of how you’re spending (i.e. this much to Sainsbury’s/this much in Soho etc, as previewed in the sneak peek).


(James Billingham) #2

See: Spending :slight_smile:


(guylevin) #3

Thanks @billinghamj.

I saw that, but it seemed more focussed on presenting data on what/where you’re spending (which would be v useful), but didn’t really flesh out the prediction idea. So thought it could use a thread of its own :slightly_smiling:

I can imagine it’s v tricky to implement though, as spending is often lumpy. Presumably you’d need lots more data, and some categories of spend would need to be given different weightings etc to come up with an accurate forecast.

For now though, I just wondered how the faded line in the graph is drawn? Is the gradient based on my spending habits to date?


(Hugo Cornejo) #4

You’re right. The “Your spending” section is meant to answer “Where’s my money going?”, the questions about “Am I spending too much?” and others along those lines will be hopefully answered by the pulse and notifications at some point. We’re not really working on that at the moment. Any help to define the problem and what you think will work for you is really appreciated :slight_smile:

Answering your question about the pulse, we currently take all your previous to define that gradient. It’s simple but it works really well for a, let’s say “steady lifestyle”.

There’s still lot of work to do around removing outliers (if you buy a £1000 laptop today that shouldn’t impact your “average month” the same way that if you change your food shopping from ALDI to Whole Foods). The same applies to seasonal events and predictions of recurring payments.

In any case, as always, once we start working on it we’ll bring you more details and gather your awesome feedback :blush:


(Alistair) #5

I saw there is now a “+x vs avg” in the ‘Your spending’ view - I wasn’t too sure if it was compared to my own or all Mondo users. Is it also trying to be smart and compare at this point in the month rather than the month overall?

Would be great if you could indeed handle outliers differently. It might also be interesting to see when cash flow is required for these outliers on an annual basis (e.g. road tax / car insurance,…) / predict upcoming pressures & incite saving up ahead of time


(joshrigby86) #6

Have you seen Pariti by any chance this I believe goes some way to what guylevin is requesting. It essentially predicts your balance based on your past spending, recurring bills, a budgeted weekly spend and income.

Pariti.co.uk

Pariti is crippled by the fact that bank transactions can take multiple days to show up but with mondo’s real time spend logging this would seem like a great addition.


(Hugo Cornejo) #7

Oh, it seems they’ve redesigned Pariti. I’m going to take a look again :slight_smile: Thanks @joshrigby86!


(James Billingham) #8

Interestingly I’ve actually found my behavior being impacted notably by the “-X vs avg” message, as it provides a small reward for saving money. Nice bit of gamificiation.


(james_e_bell) #9

Would be good to be able to exclude some things from it - I think some of my +vs average is holiday which is a one time cost not a normal monthly cost (in this case anyway! as i booked for something in several months)

Checking out pariti now - looks interesting


(James Allison) #10

Wow, Pariti is awesome! Does anyone know how it works - it logged right into my Santander account by asking all my details. Does Santander have an agreement with Pariti, or are they just impersonating me and logging in through the regular web form?


(james_e_bell) #11

Im guessing they logged in as you and are just scraping the details (ive seen other products that do that before - the banks periodically change their layouts which break the apps but normally the teams fix it fairly quickly). All the banks I know of require a further password in order to be able to transact (e.g. withdraw any money) so it doesnt enable the app to do anything further than view your transactions.


(Saveen) #12

Pariti obtains “bank feeds” using a third-party data aggregation service called Yodlee. (See: https://pariti.co.uk/security)

Yodlee effectively acts as you and logs into your bank account through a read only format. Login details are not stored by Parity.

@JamesBell is correct about screen scraping: https://developer.yodlee.com/Aggregation_API/Aggregation_Services_Guide/Aggregation/Yodlee_Data_Aggregation

And also about most banks requiring multi-factor authentication to transact.

Users should check their bank’s T&Cs to see if they allow third party access: http://www.wellersaccountants.co.uk/blog/Online-accounting-software-bank-feeds-terms-and-conditions.aspx


:newspaper: Index-backed Pariti is an app to help you get out of debt - TechCrunch
(james_e_bell) #13

Nice work @saveen - I might have a play around with their APIs - Pariti doesnt do exactly what im looking for (so close but so far!)


(Alistair) #14

Yeah that sounds pretty crappy security, no way I am giving some random fly-by-night app with some snakeoil security & fancy marketing my banking details.

There is a thing called Oauth which takes care of this on the web - no one creates an account on a website by giving their facebook login details - why an earth would you think it’s ok to give your banking details?!

Someone** is** storing those credentials.

Also what do they do with my transactions they’ve pulled from all my accounts over the past ten years? Do they keep a copy, analyse it and sell this to advertisers/anyone willing to pay so they can target me?

Eitherway, I would only ever use a service provided directly by a bank or one which uses Oauth / a separate bank API account which would truly be read-only. Not all banks require further secrets to complete transfers. And who in their right mind would use Comodo as a guarantor of how good their security is… seriously…

Technical implementation details of their encryption at rest & a rock solid privacy policy would be an absolute minimum for me to ever use this kind of application.


(Rich Rigby) #15

I also think forecasting would be an amazing addition.

I currently use www.balanceforecastingapp.com, which is amazing, but relies on you manually entering everything - Monzo could do this automatically.

Once you can set up full bank accounts with Monzo then direct debits and regular standing orders can automatically be part of your “spending plan”. You can then manually add any repeating ad-hoc spends that you make every month, such as a weekly budget for fuel, for the grocery shop, the trip to the pub etc.

Using the plan you put together, assuming no unplanned spend, you should be able to predict exactly how much money you will have on any given day, be that to see if you can spend some money in a week, lend someone money for a fortnight without messing up your bills, or to make sure you won’t go below overdrawn by pay day if you buy something today - You could have a graph and table showing your predicted balance trajectory, so you can see if it will go overdrawn during the month ( especially if you get money coming in several times during the month, rather than just one lump sum), or by the end of the month. If you lend money to someone, you could enter the date when they are planned to pay it back, so you can see if you can help them without screwing up your own plan.

Because Monzo will know what your direct debits and standing orders are, once they go through, they can be ‘ticked off’ your spending plan - it won’t change the plan, but it acknowledges that this money is spent. You could set up monthly/weekly budgets to send money to certain people (kids etc) - each time you send money to that specific account, it would deduct from that set budget amount, again keeping with the spending plan, and not changing it. Transactions that are already categorised (like fuel, groceries etc) could automatically deduct from a set amount you have put aside for the month. Spent £50 at a petrol station? Your £200 budget drops to £150, and you can tell the system you normally refuel every Monday. That might not be precisely accurate, but it helps smooth out the ‘lumpiness’ of that spending over the month.

If you go and buy yourself a treat that’s not on the plan, then that would be “off-plan” spend, and would impact on your predicted end-of-month balance. Checking your predicted balance trajectory would show the difference that the spend made.

Monzo could even help you figure out if you can get that treat in the first place - “I’d like to spend …” £100. Will that send me overdrawn at any point in the month? Being able to answer questions like that quickly will help people not to buy first and think later. Thinking of taking out a loan? Will that monthly repayment leave me with so little disposable cash that I will have to live like a hermit?

And the brilliant instant notifications that Monzo already has could be even more helpful.

Done some “off-plan” spending? You could get a notification that your predicted balance will drop to £X, or maybe that it will go overdrawn, so that you get as much notice as possible that you’ve made a mistake, and need to change your plan to rescue the situation.

If you were expecting money to go into your account (such as someone paying back that money you lent them) and it didn’t go into your account, you could get a notification that things aren’t going to plan.

Obviously certain bills have some uncertainty - They might be slightly different amounts, or the date may vary slightly, but you can include worst case scenarios to cover that. The earliest date that it comes out during the month, and the highest your phone bill could be. The beauty of that is that if your phone bill is cheaper than your worst case scenario amount, then since Monzo knows that payment is your phone bill, it can adjust your spending plan accordingly, so that few pounds under is now available in the plan without you having to tinker manually. If the phone bill goes over your worst case scenario amount, then you could get a notification to warn you something unexpected has happened with your phone bill!

This is stuff I do manually at the moment, which can be quite labour intensive, but works great. I have friends and family who don’t have the time or botheredness to do it, and I’ve seen them come to strife because of that, so making that kind of tool more accessible can only be a good thing.

There’s lots of clever ways you could help people to keep on top of their spending, so we’re not spending money we shouldn’t, and so we don’t have to worry about spending the money we can.

Interested to hear what other people think too.