I’m beginning to question Monzo’s vision

I’ve always been a big advocate for Monzo. Even if things aren’t perfect, I have a lot of faith that very smart people are working towards making them that way.

However, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I manage and budget my finances, and I can’t help but feel that there is a tension between having a greater control over one’s finances and having greater visibility, at least the way Monzo envision it (although I’m not saying any other bank has got any better ideas).

Part of the problem is that the more I use pots, budgeting features, IFTTT, etc, the more crowded my feed becomes and the less I am able to analyse my spending.

Summary just doesn’t work for me because its categories don’t align with how I think about money. I don’t want to know how I spent on groceries vs transport. I want to know how much I spent on essentials (food and fuel) vs how much I spent on frivolous items I could cut back on (ready meals and Uber).

Does anyone feel the same?


Just to clarify; is the reason the categories don’t align because for you food and ready meals both appear under groceries, and fuel and Uber both appear under transport?

I can understand the former; I too would like it if my groceries budget could be a little more granular. Ideally split between essentials/staples, drinks, and then everything else. But I think that’s going to be beyond the scope of Monzo until such point as all supermarket receipts are digital and they can tie up with Flux to analyse them.

Fuel and Uber could be possible to split, though, if you have an unused category (Charity?) you could record your Uber transactions under that instead.


I think I understand, and agree, with what you are saying. It’s not that the categories are ‘wrong’ (until they give us custom ones they’ll never be right for everyone), but that you can’t visualise the spending the way you want because the categories are fixed?

I agree that this micro level of analysis is currently impossible with Monzo, and it’d be good to know if that is part of the plan. I think the Pots/Instant Notifications help me to a degree, but I don’t bother with categories because (as an example) where do I put dog food/dog medication? They are essentials, they are Family, but that bulks them in with other Family purchases so… how much do I spend on my dogs per month? Without a lot of manual effort (adding notes, exporting CSV, import to Excel, filter/report) it’s not as easy as it could be to split apart multiple purchases.

I guess my question then is, IS this Monzo’s vision?


I increasingly feel the same way. When I first moved to Monzo it totally revolutionised how I budgeted, in that I didn’t really budget at all before. Instant notifications, allowing me to see transactions and categorise them right away, it was all so much better visibility than my HSBC account that came before it. But eventually the categories didn’t fit what I needed to see. Pots, and then bills pots increasingly clutter the feed, summary also became useless because it doesn’t take into account incoming transactions for categories so if I cover the bill for a large meal and everyone pays me back, my summary looks like I spent way more than I did.

In the end I deleted all my pots and started using YNAB, even with limited automatic integration it’s still working as a better budgeting tool for me. My hope is that the :soon: (hopefully) to be Monzo Plus will add YNAB style budgeting, but this seems unlikely they’ve kept that totally under wraps until what ought to be less than a matter of a couple of weeks until launch.

All in all I consider the ease of use Monzo has as a gateway drug to managing your finances better, which is in no way a bad thing, I just wish I could keep everything I need to do financially inside the app, as that is essentially what their vision was no? To be a hub for all your finances.


I know they’ve often said this, but this for me would be a goodbye. What I like about Monzo is it helps me track my budgeting with what I consider “spends”. I dont want, nor need to see my bills account, my savings, my other savings etc.

I want to see what I can spend each month on “fun” items without having to worry about whether the electricity will keep on this month…

But that’s my view, others may want to see it all which I guess which is where the problem is, it won’t be everyone’s vision as it grows and develops.

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I like what :monzo: have done as it was a start in beginning to get an understanding of my spending. To get a better view I ended up creating a spreadsheet - doesn’t need updating much as my regular payments are mainly fixed.


I also use excel and manually update it daily which is a pain.

Custom categories would go 90% off the way to fixing this but tbh ill not pay £5 a month for the right to do this.

Whats been touted so far is just not enough to make me add another subscription unfortunately as its too hard to persuade myself that its essential or i earn my money back from it.

What i do think should be noted however is that there have been 3/4 threads created now over the last few weeks where doubts are starting to creep in. I worry how plus could cause monzo come out of this make/break situation

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I do agree, although I think a lot of their UI work last year with the new design was primarily to accommodate having things like multiple accounts and not get so cluttered. My hope is we’re yet to see the fully fledged reasons for the redesign because none of the underlying functionality has changed yet. If bills could come out of a pot directly without having to touch the feed, it would go a long way to have Monzo be like the spending account it used to be when it was prepaid, which was so useful.


I’ve not had too much of an issue with Monzo putting some of the more powerful budgeting features behind plus, YNAB costs about a tenner a month, or less if you buy it for a year. If Monzo provided enough features in plus to compete with YNAB it might make sense to jump from one to the other.

In my personal opinion the extra granularity and control YNAB gives me, it easily helps me save more than it costs me. So I would generally recommend it, but obviously everyone has their own flow when it comes to managing finances so that decision has to be your own.

I don’t see this ever happening, because the feed is more like a statement, or the user’s representation of the central ledger.

Now I’m using IFTTT/Google Sheets, I’m far less worried about what category Monzo thinks it is. Plus this gives me a far deeper analysis.

I have 15 categories, mostly the default but then extra ones, a few formulas and I have a dashboard that gives me an up to the minute look at where my finances are spent.

Monzo is never going to be perfect for everyone but I think it does a very good job for most.

That’s just one example of many. Essentially, I view my spending as a spectrum between essentials (basic food staples, mortgage, utilities) and extravagances (spa days, theatre tickets) with a whole host of things in between - renting a movie in Sky Store, choosing to buy the branded cereal over the cheaper own brand stuff, choosing a better (IMO) but more expensive nursery. Monzo’s budgeting features (by which I mean a lot more than categories) don’t align with my way of thinking about my finances at all.

But mostly, it’s the clutter. The more I try and control my finances, the more out of control I feel because my feed is very cluttered. I’m not bothered about categories (I don’t use them) but I’m finding pots more and more unwieldy.

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Agreed, they’ve said multiple times they consider the feed “the absolute truth” so it has to show everything. So I imagine it’ll never happen. Refusing to accept that there can’t be a solution though, maybe we can have a feed that has everything and then a “card feed” or something that shows what you spend on the card without the clutter of DDs and SOs at least. Who knows :man_shrugging:

Exactly, if there were budgeting “features” plural then yes id think about it but at the moment from what i can see id be paying for things that I’d have absolutely no need for which goes against the whole point of a budget if you ask me. (virtual cards, gourmet card, new card colour)

Thats the first thing youre taught :laughing:

Oh yeah for sure, the optimist in me is holding out for a decent reveal and not those being the only things plus provides.

I think these knock the nail on the head, Monzo provides some simple and intuitive budgeting tools that allow budgeting novices to get started very quickly. As the user gets more adept at budgeting these tools become less useful and it’s more beneficial to move on to more dedicated tools.


Yeah I think this is where Monzo are struggling. It’s a good model to get people to sign up, but it doesn’t take long to bed in and then … what? Feels a bit stymied. Mind you, not sure they need to go full YNAB in terms of functionality - honestly custom categories is likely a big enough next step??


I agree, I think at least for now, custom categories would work for most people. If they did custom categories and proper YNAB sync, they’d be covering all their bases and it would make me super happy :slight_smile:


I’m sort of the same. I really like it and don’t plan on switching away, but the lack of custom categories means I don’t bother with Summary at all. In fact the only feature I use that’s useful is a pot for my direct debits to be paid out of. I’ve started putting my grocery spending money on Revolut - basically using it the way I used Monzo back when it launched as a pre-pay card. Monzo has all my bills and big spending but Revolut gets a lump sum for me to spend over the month and the insights there are much more useful.

I think the Categories things make me feel like Monzo feel if you don’t do things their way, then you aren’t very important. Which is fine, I just wish their whole platform was a bit more flexible in allowing users to use it the way that works for themselves.

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Personally I don’t think they need to go full YNAB, but I do think budgeitng needs more of an overhaul than custom categories.

I think Sub Categories would be a help, but mostly I think the way Summary / Categories / Pots / Salary Sorter all work together need a bit of reimagining.

I think part of that would be the ability to budget in a zero-sum style way (i.e - “I’ve just just been paid £x, here’s what I need it to do until I get paid again”). Again Sorter/Pots kind of get there but it’s not super neat.