Using Monzo for budgeting

Explained via example here; Account Summary - Left Over Question

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Thank you :slight_smile:

I started this topic a little over a week ago and then the thought of me using Monzo as an account to handle my day to day spending was still in the deciding stages, one week on I now have the majority of my day to day spending on Monzo with all my bills and committed spend still over at HSBC while I find my feet.

I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to provide a little bit of feedback at the end of this thread on my thoughts so far.

Transfers

Transferring money from HSBC into Monzo has been so easy I get a notification almost instantly every single time to say the money is in the account, I load up the application and it is there to either assign to a budget, put in a pot or just leave it for available spending, there was only one time when I asked a friend to send me some money to Monzo from HSBC and it took about 2 hours, given the max is 4 hours before it becomes a problem, this is great.

Notifications
I would say hands down notifications of payments is one of the best features in Monzo, being alerted that something has been bought instantly in the application is amazing to me and something I always wished YNAB would be able to bring to the table but never could for what every reason.

Budgeting

The budgeting functionality in Monzo while more high level than that in YNAB is still really good and it is also retailer aware which is amazing, I have n in my grocery category, did my shopping today and Monzo categorized both transactions without a problem and the available balance from groceries updated in real time to show me how much was left in that area for spending.

One of the down sides here though is the inability to split transactions across a few categories, for example if I went to Tesco and did my grocery shopping there but also bought something else at the same time which wouldn’t be part of the grocery budget it would be good to say “£30 of that £60 was for Groceries and £30 was for something else” as I get used to Monzo this may be a non issue but at the moment that is something I do regularly in YNAB and missed it today when I needed it.

The App

The app itself is really quick, I have it running on iOS 12 on an iPhone 6 at the moment and it loads quickly, navigating within it’s own menu structure is fast and moving things around is pretty good. The only thing I came across was when I was investigating pots, money would take a few minutes on some occasions to update in the Pot even though it was now in the available balance, same when I deleted a Pot, it was still in the summary for a little while after I had actually deleted it, I put this down to some background tasks still cleaning up and after a short period, it was gone.

Hole in the wall

Hole in the wall withdrawals were seamless, no issues and as soon as the cash machine had spat out my money, the app had a notification to say an ATM transaction had taken place…pretty cool.

Support

I have only had to contact support once so far, that wasn’t for an actual issue it was more a question I sent my message and went about my day I got notified just like any other chat app when an agent had responded and I was able to pick up, just where I left off, in the event that something more serious had happened, I would more than likely phone but the chat app seems to work really well. (for me at least)

Conclusion (so far)

SO far, I am really happy with the move, I am going to carry on using the account over the coming days and weeks to see just how I get along and will be sure to report back in another week when I have finally bedded in properly.

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Yeah. There’s a few apps which offer this, but Monzo ain’t one. You’ll need to put the different items through separately to generate two bills.

The trick to getting around this at the moment is to use a credit card - then transfer the grocery part to the card separate to the other part - then you can categorise them individually.

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What a wonderful post. I’ve not used the budgeting at all but feel I might be able to do what you do, given you have bills elsewhere (which is the same as me).

The splitting of payments across multiple categories is a feature that has been requested, so you aren’t alone in wanting that.

Budgetting is kinda new to me, but this thread might be the impetus I need!

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That is a good idea but in the long run it is still a little bit inconvenient and I have to remember to use the CC. I will give that a go though and see how it works out.

Thank you

Budgeting was never something I did either, I had a spreadsheet, all of my money was lumped into one account and things got out of control - it took me a while to get back into a position I was happy with which is the main reason I was so anxious about giving Monzo a shot, I didn’t want to mess up the flow.

When I first discovered YNAB it totally changed the way I thought about money, how I handled money and how I plan for the future - this now paired with Monzo feels like it is going to be the perfect setup for my day to day spending - only time will tell.

If you have any questions about how I budget at the moment or plan to budget with Monzo please let me know and I will do my best to help :slight_smile:

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It was cashback that caught me out on this occasion.

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We are part way into the week now and here is another short update on my Monzo journey.

YNAB is sticking around

For me YNAB provides a more granular layer on top of Monzo, for me it compliments Monzo allowing me to budget on a more granular level, which I can’t do inside Monzo itself, for example

Groceries

I like to break this down into the individual weeks (shown below)

This allows me to see at a glance how much I have available on a week by week basis, if I relied soley on Monzo it would just show me how much I have available for the entire month, one splurge and I could be short the following week.

To get this to work with Monzo, I have created a category in YNAB called Monzo - Groceries which is the same as the Groceries category in the Monzo app, the only difference being that in YNAB I have added sub-categories to that main category.

This may not be the way that everyone budgets, I may have a more intense budget than most but it gives me a clear view from the top down of just how much money I have on hand at any given time.

Monzo has so many great features that I am sure it will become my bank for day to day banking, the notifications alone when you spend money are enough to make me move, having to wait 2-3 days for a transaction to show up in HSBC can make budgeting a pain but the instant view that Monzo gives is a breath of fresh air.

Anxieties

The only nervous point I have so far is all the posts I am seeing about poor CS but having yet to experience that myself I am not holding that against them.

The App

Finally, the app took a turn for the worst today, it was resolved by deleting and re-downloading but it did get my heart racing for a moment, the Monzo splash screen would show up and the app would just close, I thought I was going to have lost access to my money but a quick search of the forums got me right back on track.

Thanks to everyone that has helped and supported me on this journey :slight_smile:

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Thank you for posting this follow up, very informative and useful to see how other people run their budgets.

Really useful thread (as a fellow YNABer)… My wife and I put our income into a joint account and each take an equal allowance each month. I’m currently using Monzo to manage my monthly allowance to see how I get on.

YNAB is brilliant; however, it did turn out to be another vehicle in my 30yr journey of budgeting where I significantly reduced the number of categories I used simply because many categories served no actionable purpose. I did not actually do anything with the information so why have the overhead of categorising, splitting etc. The key, in my mind, was to simply focus on how much money I could save each month. Everything else was largely immaterial because my savings would inform future spending behaviour.

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Here we are a little while down the road now and I have been using Monzo as my main spending account since this topic’s creation, for about two week’s I guess.

The main question is will I be putting my spending money into Monzo next month?

At the moment I am really not sure, there are some missing features that are really holding me back, the biggest being split transactions, If I had that I think Monzo could be my daily driver, the alternative for me is to put ALL my money into General and re-allocate every transaction I ever make to that category which kind of spoils the whole point of the functionality.

The other thing that is really catching me off guard is the way Monzo handles ACC transactions, I understand that other bank’s do the same but the don’t make it visible to me and is never really cleared like it is with Monzo, it is slightly confusing.

I will continue until the end of the month and see where we are when we get there. I love the ethos of Monzo, the community and pretty much everything about it there are just some little things really stopping me from making that final jump.

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Sometimes it takes a leap of faith, however uncomfortable, to change direction. Especially with finances. But you have to land on a spot which makes you feel confident and in control. I’ve been there several times and the (calculated) risks were worth taking in hindsight.

At the mo I understand your comments. But for me, the annoyances with Monzo don’t add up to challenge the benefits of Monzo at this time. So for an admitted tech-freak, Monzo is one of the better options.

And I do feel involved in helping to shape what Monzo offers - even at a minuscule level - which helps justify my current direction.

But this is about you, not me, and regardless of your decision at the end of the month, I wish you the best of luck!

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100% and I don’t think I will be making the decision over night. I really like Monzo, the community, the app & the ethics along with the transparency are all things that I really really like and are things that set Monzo apart from the big banks.

I just need to spend a little more time with it to get totally adjusted, I need to find my own way of working around the niggles that I am presented with at the moment and see if Monzo will be a perfect fit for me.

One thing I am a little scared of and I will be honest is the customer service and the horror stories people have been posting of late, some of them may be rash but it still add’s worry having said that on the two occasions I have contacted Customer Services both through the chat I have had my query resolved within two hours.

I am also admittedly a tech-freak and work as a developer within a public organisation and Monzo is something I would love to be part of and help mold into a bank that could become something of the future.

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Out of curiosity, does your current bank offer split transactions? If not, what do you lose by switching to Monzo and continue using YNAB as your budgeting tool?

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Out of curiosity, does your current bank offer split transactions?

No, but my current bank doesn’t offer budgeting functionality either.

what do you lose by switching to Monzo and continue using YNAB as your budgeting tool?

Nothing, but the point at the very start of this thread was that I was trying to use Monzo as a replacement for YNAB and that didn’t work out.

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I have decided what I am going to do at least in the short term while I settle into Monzo.

Wages

Wages are going to continue to deliver to the legacy bank

Bills

I am going to keep my Bills handled by the legacy bank. For me a bill is anything that has a monthly commitment.

Spending Money

Any spending money that I have left over from my wages is going to be moved into Monzo in bulk, I am not going to assign it to a budget category I am going to use YNAB as the budget layer on top of Monzo to manage my budget.

Outcome

I think Monzo offers some amazing features, as I have said in other replies, the community and the application along with the bank’s ethos are all in line with me individually but the App doesn’t fit 100% so instead of me discarding it totally I am going to “hack” the workflow to make it work for me by still continuing to use YNAB for budgeting.

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I’d gently suggest that it’s only when people have an issue that they take to the forums to complain. Like you I’ve used Customer Services chat a handful of times and it’s never been an issue. I’d take the (legitimate, granted) complaints that are raised here with a pinch of salt given the overall volumes they are handling successfully.

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I did exactly the same for a while. Then I realised the planning features in Monzo, specifically Summary, were useless because it was getting limited data. At that point, I shifted everything across to Monzo, salaries, all bills, all outgoings, everything.

I still use YNAB because the one feature that Monzo currently lacks - forecasting - isn’t yet here. I know, I know, YNAB also isn’t a forecaster but with the YNAB Toolkit running, the overall balance in the future works really well to show me if I’m going to hit a negative figure at some point in the future unless I act now.