Using Monzo for budgeting take 2

Hey All,

Back in June I wrote about how I was trying to use Monzo for budgetting alongside YNAB, you can find that post here for various reasons it didn’t work out and I ended up moving back to a legacy bank, mainly because I was trying to over complicate things between Monzo & YNAB.

Roughly 1 pay day ago I decided to give Monzo another shot and I thought I would document my experience here for other’s who may be interested.

As part of my workflow I am still using YNAB, the main reason being for me and the way I manage my money Monzo doesn’t yet offer the granularity that I wanted from my money management, if it was possible for me to create my own categories within the budget things may be different but right now you can’t do that so I had to figure out a way to make both services work nicely together.

One of the main things that I have done within YNAB itself is create on budget accounts for pots, this allows me to allocate the money from my Monzo account to the “Pot Account” in YNAB and have a true representation within YNAB of what is on hand in Monzo and keep reconciled balances in check because Monzo moves pot funded money out of your available balance and trying to manage that was a nightmare in YNAB and nothing ever added up.

Bills bills bills

Lots of my bills are non direct debit bills and are rather charged directly to my card as an example GiffGaff I get charged for my Goodybag once a month and I had that money sitting in a pot, without using some IFTTT wizardary it isn’t possible to pay for GiffGaff from a pot so what I decided to do was create a category heading in YNAB called Monzo - Bills within that create a sub-category for each bill and just keep the money for these items within my main balance, when the money is then taken by the service provider it gets allocated in YNAB and the balance matches.

What I love

Notifications are amazing, getting an instant notification from Monzo relating to Transfers, Payments etc. is fantastic.

The app is brilliant, this is a very split opinion but I really like it, I think it is clean and easy to use

What I don’t like

Monzo Budgeting - It isn’t customization enough (for my needs)
Temporary transactions for £1 at things like pay at pump, I understand why we get notified of them in Monzo but…yeah.

To Wrap Up

I am loving Monzo at the moment, I haven’t moved over fully yet and I haven’t got any of my savings in Monzo, there are a few reasons for this but this isn’t the thread for that, I am just a little nervous about putting my safety net in Monzo but to counter that I have just been paid and moved my spending money and some bills from the account where my wages get paid into Monzo and am loving the workflow.

Monzo is my daily driver, I haven’t swiped the legacy bank card in almost 5 weeks now and loving it.


I use YNAB with Monzo, but for forecasting and granular reporting only - and my set-up is probably the polar-opposite;

  • I’ve set my YNAB budget categories to be the same as the Monzo Categories
  • My Monzo transactions are pushed to YNAB automatically as they happen
  • I use Monzo Bills Pots and so I never enter recurring transactions that are paid-from-pot into YNAB - they just appear when the payment is made, as does the income from the pot transferred to pay the bill
  • I don’t use different accounts for different pots in YNAB and concentrate only on the main Monzo account
  • I do manually enter the recurring amount(s) into YNAB as recurring payments to account for the Monzo payment(s) to the bills pots, then delete them when they are automatically entered when the Monzo transaction actually occurs
  • So YNAB (in conjunction with Toolkit) only has future ‘one-off’ payments like estimated Petrol, groceries, etc. and the list of upcoming non-scheduled/recurring payments and acts as an accurate-as-can-be forecasting tool

This all keeps manual entry in YNAB to an absolute minimum and shows me how much I’m going to have left for the foreseeable.

As you can probably tell, there’s not much point in me running with YNAB anymore for expense tracking - Monzo does most of it.

The missing link for me is the ability in Monzo to enter future one-off/recurring payments which are calculated in Summary when looking at a future Summary period. The ‘future’ bit here is an important feature for me. Without it in Monzo, I’m blind beyond the current Summary period and wouldn’t be able to spot an upcoming disaster in time to deal with it. Hence the current ‘doubling-up’ by using YNAB to provide this essential forward-looking.

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