How to use a zero-sum budget

(Beatrice Borbon) #1

What budgeting methods do you use?


Are joint accounts really ready for me to make the switch?

[quote] If you’ve included savings in your budget, transfer the money to a savings account as soon as you’re paid – or schedule a payment to a Pot or Savings Pot with Monzo

Add scheduled payments to pots for every 28days / 4 weeks in iOS at least and then every penny is accounted for with me :wink:


(Peter Shillito) #3

Until committed spending pots are a thing, I currently have IFTTT buttons that, when pressed, will:

  1. transfers all the money required to pay my static bills into a bills pot
  2. transfers a budget for groceries into a groceries pot, same again for eating out, and again for general monthly petrol
  3. same as 2 but for a special petrol pot that I use for a specific trip I make most months. If I haven’t used that amount, I press a different button that sends this to savings instead

Then I have IFTTT applets that automatically take money from the relevant pot for eating out and groceries (where it doesn’t clash with a petrol station with the same name) so my balance remains fairly static throughout the month.

“Set up direct debits to pay bills on your payday” this only works if you have a consistent pay day, but also some companies will charge you to move direct debit day (thanks Hyundai Finance) or their system has a processing day and you can’t set the day it’s coming out (thanks Plusnet and Post Office Credit Cards), or only allow you to do this a limited number of times (thanks Hyundai Finance) etc

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(Iestyn Roberts) #4

This sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing Peter.

For someone who’s never used IFTTT - how easy would this to set up the grocery pot? Would you mind posting some pointers at all?


(Peter Shillito) #5

Sure! Here’s how to set up the “tap a button to add an amount to a pot” applet with IFTTT.

First, make sure you’ve signed up to IFTTT and add the Monzo service (this will involve signing in to Monzo through the IFTTT website and authorising IFTTT to send and receive data from Monzo).

Then, download the IFTTT app for iOS or Android and get yourself logged in.

For the button-based applets, you need to have the IFTTT widget added to iOS Today View or Android home screen. The buttons will appear in these widgets.

Now to make the button applet:

  1. Make a pot in the Monzo app you want . Call it whatever you want, IFTTT will give you a list later.
  2. In the app or website, go to “My Applets” and then tap the big + button in the corner, which will display “if this then that”. Tap “this”.
  3. Using the “Search services” box, or if it’s in the “Popular” section, search for the “Button widget” service. Tap that and then tap the “Button press” trigger (there is only one trigger for the “Button widget” service).
  4. Now tap “that” and do the same again but for “Monzo” and then the trigger you want is “Move money into a pot”.
  5. You then have two inputs to set. The first is which pot to deposit into. Select it from the drop down list. Then, in the text box, enter the amount you want to deposit when you press the button. Don’t put £ or other symbols, just the number.
  6. Click “Create action”
  7. It will now say “move money into my [pot name] pot” and a big “Finish” button. I recommend tapping the title and changing it to something short as this will be the label for the button.
  8. When you’re ready, tap “Finish”.

For iOS, this will automatically be added to the Today View widget. For Android, I think you have to add the buttons manually, but I’m not sure sorry. When you tap the button, the action will happen immediately, but it will fail if you don’t have enough money or will be/are overdrawn.

Any questions, let me know.


(Iestyn Roberts) #6

Hey @theshillito - thank you so much for such a detailed explanation! That’s fantastic! I was able to set everything up, without any problems, thanks.

I guess I miss understood the concept a little bit - and just wanted to run this by you, in case it’s possible to setup something a bit more automated and advanced?

(I guess this is what ‘Summary’ is for - but having things in pots might just help me out a bit better.)

Say you have three pots (to keep it simple), and you wanted to try and keep your spending within budget;

Expenses (Rent, Bills, Direct Debits)
Eating Out

At the beginning of the month (say on the 1st) you set up your pots with your nice little button, and then you’re left with X amount in your main account for the month.

Then, my rent goes out - and because it’s tagged as ‘expenses/bills’ - IFTTT can somehow read the category ‘expense’ and automatically move money out of the ‘expenses pot’ back into the main account (so cover the cost of the money that was just taken out.) Or, even better - IFTTT can see that the ‘expense’ tag is used, and takes the money straight out of the ‘expense’ pot.

Same goes for the ‘grocery’ pot - every time I purchase something at Tesco/Sainsbury - IFTTT somehow knows to take the money from the grocery pot, and reimburse the main account with the money that was just used for that transaction.

I imagine this is what you meant with ‘committed spending pots’ - but I just wanted to see if this, more advanced setup could be done at all?

Thanks again Peter - really appreciate that.

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(Peter Shillito) #7

Unfortunately, the only Monzo IFTTT triggers currently available are for card transactions, not direct debits or standing orders. Most rent payments are standing orders or direct debit, so you can’t do that automatically. However, if you have a set day every month your rent comes out through a standing order (not a direct debit which can vary depending on weekends and bank holidays) then you can set up a scheduled pot withdrawal.

As for Tesco and Sainsburys, and any other card transactions, it is possible but with some caveats. If you buy petrol from one of these places, there is a high probability it will be detected the same as the shop itself. However, if you only buy groceries from these places, then follow the same procedure as above, but instead of selecting “Button press” select “Monzo” and use the " Any card purchase at a merchant" trigger. Enter the name of the merchant exactly how it appears in the app (capitalisation, quotes, etc) and for the “that” action, select “Monzo” again and select “Move money out of a pot” as the trigger. Then, in the box where you put in an amount earlier, this time click “Add ingredient” and find “AmountInAccountCurrency” and click that. This is what’s detected from the transaction and will be taken from your pot. Make sure it’s AccountCurrency and not LocalCurrency as these could get triggered by foreign purchases also and the currency amounts won’t match.


(John) #8

Monzo should be making short videos so to help us with all this, stuff videos makes it easier for everyone :+1:imagine a page full of videos in the help section :ok_hand:


(Peter Shillito) #9

Tempted to do them myself, but would have to do additional work with censoring any private information, and don’t really want to set up a second Monzo account…



Don’t think you can…?


(Peter Shillito) #11

I mean, I can set up another email account and get a burner phone number and sign up with those, unless they do a search by name and/or address and then refuse to set it up if they suspect you have another account.



Hmm :thinking: surely you won’t be able to do this…

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(Peter Shillito) #13

It all depends on how Monzo check if someone has a second account or not. It would be trivial to get around the unique email and phone number, it just depends on the rest.



Driving licence/ passport number?


(Adam) #15

KYC checks would stop people opening additional accounts.