Suggestions for a money budgeting/management app/software

I know this has been asked a few times but reading through the threads it seems the suggestions are always Emma, Yolt or YNAB with a few others in between, maybe my use case I’m after is niche compared to what others use these apps for.

Quick reasoning on why I need an app or service, ideally I would just use Monzo. I find the left to spend is not very helpful and so don’t have it enabled anymore and while the categories etc. is mostly okay I’m struggling with the fact that unless a transaction is split with another Monzo user (via the split bill stuff) it just makes all of the categories wrong. I regularly do a purchase at a supermarket or Amazon that’s split with someone but they’re not on Monzo, even if I link the incoming transaction to the same category it just doesn’t show correctly, i.e. the app thinks I’ve gone over budget when I actually didn’t and at the bottom of the spending summary screen it then categories the income.

Anyway, long story short until the budgeting features are ‘improved’ (granted this could all be my opinion and I just don’t know what I’m doing) I’ve been trying various apps/websites/software to try and manage my money. The thing they seem to always fall down on is either pot management and/or split bill management. I’ve tried Yolt, Emma, YNAB, Wallet (Budget Bakers I think) and a couple others that I cannot remember, but I just don’t find they work how I would like. I.e. understanding of pots and not counting them in spending and if I receive a payment allow me to link it to an existing transaction and auto sync so I don’t have to do it manually, I don’t expect the latter to be automated unless it’s a split bill so I’m happy for that to be a manual process (just so I can clearly see I didn’t spend £100 at Tesco for a couple bags of things :smile:)

I’m wondering if anyone knows of an app like YNAB, Yolt etc but that is more tightly integrated into the Monzo way of doing things. I’ve been working on my own webapp to hook into Monzo’s webhooks - it’s a slow process but I’m at least able to try and make it work how I ‘need’ it to. Before I dive head first into spending probably far too much time on this I wanted to see if I’m just reinventing the wheel and maybe there’s an existing product/service that offers a good Monzo integration compared to the others.

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There a few different ways to do this.

Probably the closest-to-Monzo ‘Momzo only’ solution is the Google sheets export function available in Plus/Premium plans. This updates a Google sheet in real-time and so allows you to process that data however you like (Personal accounts only) It could be very powerful for reporting and if I could, I’d go down this route. But…

I have a Joint account where Plus/Premium isn’t available and so continue to use YNAB alongside Monzo. My setup is linked to my Monzo Personal and Joint accounts (via a Heroku link) which auto-updates the accounts in YNAB as soon as any Monzo transaction happens in each account. I view pots as money that isn’t available to spend, so this setup works for me. I also use Bills pot heavily too. So when I transfer a chunk of money into the Bills pot, YNAB shows that as a spend. When the Bills pot subsequently auto-moves amounts to cover the bills, then the bills are paid - these transactions are auto-entered into YNAB correctly.

The big thing for me is looking into the future. I set known upcoming transactions as future events in YNAB to creat a forecast. This works well too. Obviously these future events (what I term ‘ghost transactions’) will duplicate once they’ve happened in both YNAB and by Monzo, so manual deletion is needed. But that helps you focus on the figures to ensure they’re correct.

If planning beyond the current Summary period was possible, showing a complete list of ‘ghost’/upcoming transactions - with a forecasted rolling balance - I think I’d get away with only using Monzo plus a backup spreadsheet to monitor my other, more simplistic, accounts.

Did you try Emma Pro? It lets you split transactions, which should cover your purchases with other people.

I quite liked how YNAB worked but it just still felt too disconnected. I feel like for me the money moving to bills for example shouldn’t count as an expense as I haven’t paid the bills yet I’m just setting aside cash for them in the future.

The Google sheets route is something I’ve setup, as I do have Plus (was secretly hoping the custom categories would solve all my problems) but I just don’t know sheets or excel well enough, I know SQL really well although I don’t think sheets let’s you write the queries like that :frowning:

I think you’re right though I think the sheets or maybe hooking into the monzo api may be the way to go.

I didn’t. Does pro allow you to say split a tescos payment and assign say £30 of the tesco expense to a payment i received from a friend or family jot on monzo? Might have to take a look at pro if that is how it works.

It doesn’t quite work like that. Instead, you can split the Tesco payment and assign one part to Shopping (or any other category) and exclude the other part. Then you can also exclude the money from family when it comes in, so it doesn’t mess up your budget.

Alternatively, you can simply assign the payment you receive to the same category, Shopping, which has the same effect. You don’t need Pro to do that.

There are a few ways to do what you want. But it does take quite a bit of playing with to find what works for you.

Depending on how you might set up YNAB, you can add a Pot as an account too - so moving money to a Pot isn’t then seen as an expense, just a “movement of money” - and you can budget it in the same way you would any other fund.

Hmm might have to give Emma another try see if I can get it to function how I want. Thanks!

Yeah this is how I was initially working with it, by having each pot as a different account. But I tried doing that with another app, was a software one which I cannot remember the same off, and I found it just required a lot of additional work and required manually intervening every time whenever a payment was taking from a pot.

But I suppose there’s no way of it knowing where it should actually take the money from.

So either Emma has changed massively since I last uses it or in getting confused with another app as Emma is very close to what I’m after. Already loving the fact its excluding pot transfers from the transactions (at least for historic ones). Will have to continue to give it a go and maybe try out pro too. Thanks for the suggestion!

It’s definitely developing quickly! Ultimately, it comes down to what works for you, so hopefully spending a bit more time with it will help :slight_smile:

It makes sense though, to me, that aggregators will generally be ahead on budgeting and categories - it’s their core product, after all.

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Yeah the whole pot concept makes the style in YNAB a bit redundant - YNAB’s thing is basically creating ‘virtual’ pots you track in YNAB, rather than real pots in your Monzo account, so having both becomes a bit complex.

It encouraged me to stop using Pots, because YNAB could track it all better than Monzo could, and I didn’t need the separation of funds in pots because I knew stuff was covered elsewhere.

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Yeah that makes sense. I think this is the reason I’m grasping onto monzo adding these features themselves. Since currently, even with a third party app I still check monzo more than the app and so for me having physical monzo pots makes sense. I either need to fully switch to using a third party app or just love the current inconsistencies monzo has and be hopeful for the future :grin:

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Given monzo’s pace of development on this, I know what I’d do!

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Let me know if you need any help. :slight_smile:

Thanks! I have to say it’s very good, I think I must have gotten it confused with something else I used. Seems to have one of the best (if not the best) Monzo integration I’ve seen (being able to handle pot transfers etc and link up split bills).

The only petty thing I find annoying is that the trial is only 7 days and that there is no monthly option. As I liked what I saw in the 7 days, but didn’t have enough activity to test before paying 1 year upfront. Although I am still trying it out and do like being able to have an offline account such as car finance on there :smile:

I think the only thing missing from my (probably very specific wishlist) is the ability to manually link a transaction together. I see that when looking at the spending summary for a category income and outgoing is included in the same place (which is awesome compared to Monzo’s!) but I like to be able to open a transaction and see links that have been made. Any plans to include something like that? :smile:

Other than my tiny wishlist above great job with Emma, it really seems like one of the best I’ve seen/used and am sure I’ll be a pro customer soon!

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So, I regularly buy a shared takeaway and get the others to pay me back. As long as I put all the transactions in the same category, it works out fine. Are you thinking of something more like a shared tab?

I agree with this 100%. It took me a while to find a setup with Emma that worked for me. I think PFMs are complicated and each one takes a different approach, so it does take time and a bit of effort to discover what works for you.

Yep I agree, so far the way income/outgoing is merged into the same category works really well. And the more I get used to Emma I likely won’t need the ability to link transactions. But wondered if there are plans given they seem to auto-link split transactions via Monzo’s split bills feature, which is awesome! :ok_hand:

You might have more luck in their community! There’s lots changing all the time with a Emma, so it can be hard to keep up…

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