Thank you to Monzo for changing my Finances

I reached a bit of a milestone this week; one of my pots has hit the £500 mark where I can move the money over into a interest earning pot. Now this isn’t a lot, but I have 7 pots in total for various purposes including savings for gifts, clothes, holiday and even my barbers (don’t ask, they are an expensive old school London style barbers)! So I thought it was a good time to sit down and take stock of where I was financially. Much to my surprise, once I had a look at my my finances between my account for the mortgage + other house related expenses, my Monzo account and my longer term stocks and shares savings, I have access to over £4,000 in cold hard cash if I so desired. Now it may sound like I’m bragging a bit here, but this is a massive milestone for me, so if you would indulge me, let me explain why.

Rewind this 3 years ago. My main current account with my bank was overdrawn permanently by at least £1,000 to £3,000, my credit card permanently had a balance of over £4,000 meaning my short term borrowing was always £5,000-£8,000 or worse. I wont talk about my mid term borrowing on loans, that was embarrassing. I was paying a fortune in interest simply because my finances was always running to catch up with my outgoings due to years of bad habits and those habits were bleeding me dry of my spare cash and making it impossible to save anything. I was slowly but surely sliding into a bigger and bigger hole of short term high interest debt which ended up getting shuffled onto medium term lower interest debt. When those little life crises came along I had no buffer and no wiggle room other than to get into more debt. The idea of actually having any money in an account that was my own was inconceivable at the time.

2017 I signed up for Monzo Beta. I read all the informational stuff about Monzo and the type of bank they wanted to start and the overall vision and I wanted to get on-board. I started topping this card up away from my main account with my spare cash after my bills but always kept what I needed plus a little more in that account. I also opened my Stocks and Shares ISA account of which it takes 7 days to receive the money from if I sell (no impulse purchases) and started putting £50 a month away into it. I chopped up my main Banks Debit Card and cancelled it. I also chopped up my Credit Card.

This at the time wasn’t really enough, I still for a while struggled, constantly running out of cash as I tried to reduce those debts down. At this time almost £150 of my money was going on interest and borrowing fees every month. But my Monzo card was the only thing I kept in my pocket. But I still found myself struggling with unexpected costs because I had zero buffer.

Then Monzo released pots and not long after in 2018 as I started to use them more everything changed.

I started small, a single pot to round up transactions into and this little but often started building up.

One day I needed a plumber to fix a water pump in my flat, I hadn’t even realised that, in the few months that had been running, I had the money in that pot to pay the bill. I withdrew it and paid the plumber and for the first time hadn’t had to scrape the money together by dipping more into my overdraft at my main bank, or putting it on a credit card, the money had been put aside in an almost unnoticeable fashion and was right there when I needed it and it felt good.

This is when my pot usages really started taking off. Every time I started predicting a cost that I needed, if it be a service for my car the insurance or tax, saving for clothes anything else there is a pot for it. Small amounts, regularly.

Now just over a year on I no longer have a credit card, its gone, paid off and the account is now closed. My main bank account is permanently in the black and no longer has an overdraft facility. I am well on the way to being short and medium term debt free, all that remains is a loan on which I pay a grand total of less than £40 a month interest on, which is a far cry from the £150 a month I was paying just in interest and fees.

Small amounts, regularly, and made so much easier thanks to the tools that Monzo provided. I’m prepared better for those unexpected costs, my budgeting is better and my spending more disciplined. I honestly don’t think I could have done any of this without Monzo.

Thank you, and I’m looking forward to integrating more of my finances into the future Monzo market place.

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Im at basically the begining of your story, after an hour with the app i managed to work out a plan to live within my means quite easily. not sure why i hadnt done this before. guess the usability of it actively encourages this behaviour! hopefully it works out as well for me as you!

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What an achievement Stuart! I am glad to hear you improved your relationship with money.

I agree with you that Monzo has a great tool which help me(us) develope my finance skill. But it would be useless if I didn’t make my decisions a few months ago. And thank God I did! When I saw cristal clean where my money goes (and my plan what it should be) I did my research and the first step. Of course, I worried how many steps I have to do(and how long does it take), but I tried focus only one step at a time.
And I feel already more relax/less worry because I know I am on the track.

Long story in short:
I wanted to say that you are not alone!
And I believe you already helped for many Monzo users with their bad habits/debts just because you shared your story.
Well done and I wish the best.

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I’m the same, but I did it using my Monzo account as a spending account (I wrote about it here: In defense of Pulse Graph). The result is the same: Someone who swears by, and is extremely grateful for, Monzo.

Why they don’t push this as the primary benefit of using Monzo I don’t know. Instead I see adverts on the tube for using Monzo on holiday :man_facepalming:

I’m guessing Monzo is going to ultimately fail, seeing how the people that run it can’t understand the primary, life-changing benefit of their product. I hope the fast-followers who come after them do at least.