Pots or budgets?

I’m new to Monzo and at the minute struggling. The help I’ve read so far is pretty poor, it’s not helping with how and when to use things like pots versus budgets and sometimes doesn’t appear to reflect what I see in the app.

Some specifics;

  1. is it possible to use custom categories with a budget? I’ve created custom categories but they don’t appear listed in the budget section.

  2. can I create a pot on a joint account? I’ve found some instructions in the help that implies I can but the options don’t appear for me. pots just seem to exist outside or alongside accounts not within them. Hence my conclusion they aren’t shared/shareable.

More generally where should I look for information on how to budget and use the app, in particular with a joint account, so I can improve how I track and manage my finances. When to use pots and when to use budgets?

Any tips appreciated, apologies if this is posted in the wrong place.

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On the main list view, where you saw the “Open a pot” option, scroll down further and there’s the same option for your joint account.

Pots are best described as “sub accounts”

They aren’t shareable. They exist within the account you set them up. So in your account it will be just for you, in your joint account it will be for the both of you.


Hey and welcome :wave:

I’ll try and answer a few questions, keep them coming :slight_smile:

Think of budget as a whole and pot’s for specific things, at least that’s how I use it.

I presume you have plus. In which case yes, create it first in trends, then it should allow you to setup a budget against it :slight_smile:

I can see @Revels is also replying, perhaps he knows.

I think using trends (spending/balance) is probably a good start, as eventually Monzo will be merging budgeting (Summary) into it.

Me personally, I use budgeting to challenge myself to spend less, and trends to see how I did.

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Thanks for the reply.

I still think there’s something I’m missing here about how to use the app.

I was assuming I could have one joint account and create pots to split it up into different categories and then assign transactions to the categories, in doing so linking the payment to a pot. With a monthly running total showing me how I was doing, what’s left in the pot.

I think I can probably do something like that with regular fixed payments, standing orders and direct debits. But for adhoc card payments I seem to be able to categorise the charges but I’d have to move money out of the pot each time I make a transaction.

It seems messy to do that.

Depending on if you’re using a joint account or a person account, how you can do it varies.

I realise there are an incredible amount of variations as to how people manage their finances, so this is just a really general view of how things work with Monzo.

Salary in - £2000
Bills Pot - £1000 - Then have your direct debits etc come from this pot. This is then ringfenced and safe from your daily spending, you know your bills are covered.

The remaining £1000 is your budget for spending. Set it to £100 for Eating Out, £200 for Fuel, £500 for Groceries & £200 for Shopping and you’re done. This won’t take from anywhere, it’s all in the same place, but provided you’ve categorised things, you’ll be able to see your spending progress. Like this;


Hi @Revels, thanks for taking the time to put this together. Let me try to provide a better description of where I’m struggling to understand which tool to use and where i can see things working. Feel free to correct any misunderstanding on my part.

I have the following categories of spend;

  1. monthly bills, like gas and electricity.
  2. annual bills, like house and car insurance
  3. adhoc expenses like food, petrol and eating out that i typically budget for monthly
  4. adhoc expenses like clothing and holidays that i typically budget for annually
  5. some categories, like kids clubs, are more awkward as they are a mixture of payment frequencies. I can budget over a year but payments are irregular.

The first one i think is relatively straightforward using a “Bills” pot as i know pretty accurately what the monthly costs are and everything is direct debit so can be linked to the pot and can have its category set. Once set-up it should need no maintenance and i assume i can monitor it using budgets. This type of thing is pretty easy to deal with anyway and I’ve always had an account just for this purpose so i see no extra benefit from Monzo.

The second one I’m less clear on, i could put this into a pot but the monthly budget doesn’t work here and I’m going to have to pay for it from my account and move money from the pot when the time comes to pay.

The third one is what i think budgets are really to help with, tracking the monthly spend of things that are less structured.

Number 4 and 5 are similar to the second, I can create a pot but tracking it will have to be done outside the app with no budget support…

The reason i started looking at Monzo is i wanted help with managing 2,4 and 5 and this is where I’m still struggling. Other than categorisation of spend I’m struggling to see how Monzo helps, yep i can create lots of pots, but so what i can have multiple bank accounts - in fact that’s what i had before.

What am i missing here?


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What app is this?


(At least I thought it was)

Maybe my explanation is so bad you can’t tell… I really am doomed!

iPhones don’t look like that with the dots :sweat_smile: unless I’ve gone back in time.

The bottom bar also looks different, and what’s targets? :joy:

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