Questions about budgeting on Monzo


Newbie here, so apologies if there is already a thread/topic on these questions, feel free to just link me to the relevant thread(s), and apologies if I have categorised this thread wrongly! I did do a quick search but I couldn’t find anything specifically about what I was thinking of.

I am currently going over my budget and have thought of a few things that I am not sure how to do, or perhaps it is not a service that Monzo currently offers, in which case it would be nice to get some feedback on whether it would be something Monzo would work on for future releases - I figure there is no harm in asking!

n.b - if a question seems silly, please note that I am severely dyscalculic (think dyslexia but with numbers) and really struggle with manual mathematics, which is half the reason I joined Monzo; my manual budgets just never add up right so the more Monzo can do for me, the better I will be able to keep in budget!

So here we go;

  1. Can Direct Debits be categorised? I seem to be able to categorise some of them but not all of them so they don’t reflect in my summary very well so I struggle to figure out the totals of my categories, especially as the scheduled payments only sometimes seem to come out of my category budget.
  2. Is it possible to see a future estimated balance based on your average income and your scheduled payments, such as what my budget would look like next month?
    If I could put placeholder transactions for future dates (a number and a label for a specific date, eg: £50 - Birthday Drinks - 12th of August 2019) then I could then easily see if I can commit to future spending and Monzo could work as my budget planner. The placeholder could become a FYI notification once the date has passed, like when a new DD is set up, so I can compare the estimate to the actual spendings.
  3. Is it possible for the summary to show a negative figure? I have an overdraft so it would be much more useful for me if the summary could show that based on my scheduled payments I will be £x into my overdraft so I can plan accordingly rather than just letting me know my balance will be £0.
  4. Is it possible to set Monzo to not let me spend money if my total balance will go below what my scheduled payment total is? Like a button to set my summary balance as if it was my actual balance so anything over that total gets declined with a warning of how over I will be? Perhaps unless a special PIN is entered for emergencies?
    Or perhaps if I could set all of my direct debits to go out of a Pot? Like a special Direct Debit Pot would be useful where it would calculate the total of my scheduled payments, take that on my payday and then all scheduled payments come from that Pot? Then whatever is left in my account is for me to spend and I don’t have to worry too much about things.
  5. Does Monzo send reports? I have dabbled with IFTTT to copy some card transactions to a Google Calendar but I don’t really get how to make custom ones, but an email with a weekly report would be really useful at keeping me on track as the app isn’t always totally clear, at a glance, what my weekly running totals are.

As you can probably tell I have been having a bit of a budget problem so I am trying to get all the support I can to get me back on track! Any other advice about using Monzo to budget would be appreciated too!

Thanks very much! :smile:


A great list of questions!

I can’t answer many (I fear many answers are no/not yet) but for the last one, you can download transactions from the app as CSV or PDF if that helps?

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Monzo’s budgeting toolset is a significant improvement over where traditional banks were a few years ago however I wouldn’t consider Monzo to be a fully fledged budgeting application at this point – there’s many areas where improvement can be made.

You may find that a budgeting specific app, such as You Need A Budget, would be much more beneficial for you than Monzo at this time. Personally I’d recommend YNAB as they have a budgeting “method” built around the idea that it’s very important for you to know exactly how much you have to spend – and can shift between categories to adapt your budget as your needs change. YNAB also have many different online classes covering how to use their application, and they do not require you to do any math, which is helpful if that’s an area where you struggle.

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You’re not the first person to suggest YNAB - the main thing holding me back is that is does cost money to use which kind of goes against what I am trying to do, but I may try to get the trial and see if it helps enough to be worth the subscription!

Money Dashboard is free, that might help?

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Yeah, paying to budget can be a bit of a mental hurdle to get over. Although nothing is guaranteed, from my own experience and the experiences of others I would say you could expect to save at least a few multiples of the yearly fee because of the effectiveness of YNAB. I believe that the YNAB website includes testimonials but there’s also the YNAB subreddit which contains lots of success stories, e.g:

The YNAB method is something you can implement yourself without their software – all their resources are free to read – and you can sort of achieve it with Monzo by using various pots however it does require some mental overhead and I think in your situation it would be prohibitive.

Some people achieve what you’re trying to achieve by having a separate account with another bank (e.g: Starling) that they automatically transfer money into for day to day spending via standing order once a week, that way they know exactly what they have to spend (they can just look at their Starling balance) and they can’t spend more than it (without actively transferring more money into their “day to day” account).

Ooooh I’ve not heard of that one! Will take a look, thanks!

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