Why I went back to a spreadsheet instead of using pots

Pots are a great idea - even more so with the new payments feature being developed. However, I spent a good amount of time trying to get them to work but ended up going back to using a spreadsheet for keeping track of expenses and savings.

I don’t want this to look like self-promotion, however, I wrote a detailed article about how I use Monzo and a spreadsheet for budgeting here: making a monthly budget with a spreadsheet & Monzo …when I first started to write the post, it was going to be about using Monzo and pots for monthly budgeting, however, as I started to experiment I realised it wouldn’t work.

Summary: offer a competitive interest rate with easy access to pots. Most people will have bills that aren’t monthly or saving for something like a holiday, so it’s nice to earn along the way. I appreciate you don’t want to over complicate your app but some way of tracking asset depreciation would be cool and perhaps an avenue for you to monetise. I buy a laptop/phone every ~3 years so I need to put aside money for this; the vast majority of people don’t. This could be another nice way to encourage saving and paying for things when you can afford it vs getting ripped off on your next phone contract.


It’s a useful read for anyone who doesn’t currently do any budgeting. Is it just the ability to track depreciation you’re missing? Interest can be gained on Monzo Plus or easy access pot with a 1 working day withdrawal.

I currently use a spreadsheet and pots in parallel without the asset depreciation as that’s a bit over the top for me. The main benefit for the spreadsheet is getting a nice birds eye view of my finances which isn’t easy to do with Monzo, otherwise Monzo does everything I need. I could budget a washing machine replacement every 6 years and it breaks in 3 and only be half way into saving so the remaining cost would just come out of my savings. I appreciate it’s just a forecast but I only budget for things that are are known.

As for getting it to work with Monzo. I currently have a pot for each irregular payment you’ve described and they will build up across the year for when they’re required (e.g. Car servicing, dentist, family/friend birthdays, grounds maint, etc). All of my regular monthly payments can be left in my current account as the summary handles them coming out for me so I know what’s my money and what is committed for bills.

With all of this setup I then have the money dance that occurs on a monthly basis that moves an amount into each pot and then on the given known dates it gets moved back out whether it’s a regular or irregular payment.

I use a combination of pots and spreadsheet. I have a sheet for each month - all linked. I give every penny a job.

I find the spreadsheet extremely useful for that which we need to save up for / pay back over a long term. Eg:

I enter the cost of a holiday and the number of months until the bill is due. Each month I can see how much I must to set aside that month to hit the target.

I do the same with any loans. The spreadsheet tells me exactly how much we need to pay to stay on track. Also, if I pay above what I need to all the figures update. We often pay loans off sooner than required.

When saving, I also make sure the savings account is paid first (although, if we have any loans, the loans get paid first as there is little point in saving when you have debt). The spreadsheet tells me what to do - and I do it.


Interest from Monzo Plus is offset by the cost of Monzo Plus itself. Overall it isn’t worth it if you are only looking to gain interest.

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I completely agree and would never recommend people use Monzo Plus just for the interest only (in fact, only if you’d make use of any of the benefits that cover the cost) and the key part of your sentence is “if you are only looking to gain interest”. For example, I utilise one of the benefits from Monzo Plus that has a discount so every month I automatically get back the cost of Monzo Plus and then have the interest on top of it as well.

Going back to the topic, the alternative is still an easy access savings pot (albeit a low interest rate) with a 1 day withdrawal and if we’re dealing with budgeting and known dates it can be done. However, it’s a bit of a faff to get it all setup and makes banking feel harder than it should be compared to other bank accounts with higher instant access savings.

Hi James, the depreciation tracking isn’t essential but I’d rather have a load of pots called: iPhone, boiler, holidays, dentist etc in Monzo vs creating a separate savings account. I’m sure Monzo would rather I keep my money with them too :slight_smile: I just checked out Monzo Plus - yeah, that’s ideal but without paying £6 per month, otherwise, I’ll stick with whoever is on the top of Money Saving Expert’s league table of savings account.