For years, I’ve been trying to find a solution to my biggest financial struggle – budgeting my day-to-day spending. In general, I’m pretty good at saving as I put the majority of my salary away each month and don’t touch it, even when funds get low.
However, when it comes to making my budget last, I’m pretty hopeless and on more than one occasion, I’ve found myself at nearly zero, with a week to go before payday. Enter Monzo.
Monzo is (I think) the answer to all of my financial worries. In the short time I’ve had my account, I’ve already seen a huge difference in the way I view my money. If you haven’t heard of Monzo, don’t worry – I’ll be going through what Monzo is, how it’s helped me and why you should get one.
What is Monzo?
Put simply – Monzo is a bank. It doesn’t have any branches and it doesn’t have the full range of products like credit cards or mortgages that, say, Natwest does. But, it’s a certified bank authorised in the UK by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This means that your money is as safe and up to £85,000 is guaranteed by the British Government should anything go wrong.
It originally started as a prepaid card, but after gaining bank status, Monzo launched their current account early 2017 and now it’s available to everyone in the UK.
Okay, that was a lot of boring money talk, but it’s important that you understand that Monzo is safe and that I’m not recommending a dodgy product.
So, it’s a bank, what’s the big deal? Well, it’s so much more because it has a ton of features that answer a lot of our modern day concerns. Below are just a few of my favourites.
Keep your money separate with Pots
As I mentioned in my 6 Money Mistakes We All Make post, I don’t think keeping all of your money in one bank account is a sensible idea – however, Monzo may have just changed my mind. They have a feature called ‘Pots’ which allows you to separate your money into virtual ‘pots’ that then excludes that cash from your available balance so you won’t be able to accidentally spend it.
While I still don’t advocate keeping your entire life savings in your current account, this feature has changed the game. I can now have my weekly budget in my available balance and keep the rest in a Pot that I withdraw from once a week. I can also put money aside for an event at the end of the month, instead of just hoping it’ll be there when the day comes.
For me, the Pots feature alone sold the idea for me. It’s something I’ve always wanted and it works so well, I’m just sad I didn’t get one sooner.
Split the bill with Monzo.me
Gone are the days where I, or any of my friends, carry cash around. This doesn’t bother me except for when I have to split the bill with someone. Faffing around with different cards and whipping calculators out to figure out who owes who what becomes a nightmare.
Monzo has a feature called Monzo.me which it allows anyone to pay you using a debit card, Android Pay, Apple Pay, or their own Monzo account using your own Monzo.me link (mine’s monzo.me/amymcdonnell in case you wanted to test it out 😉).
However, what’s even better is under each transaction there’s the option to split the cost, which means you can send your friend a request for half the bill which they can pay you instantly. The only person this is bad for is that guy who always conveniently forgets to pay you back.
Keep track with #TagYourTransaction
The only way to be in charge of your finances is to know what you’re spending your money on. This is why I love the #TagYourTransaction feature. It allows me to keep track of how much I’m spending on vanilla iced lattes or lunch.
Every time I pay for something, I tag it with something like #icecream, #latte or #lunch. Then, just like Twitter, I can search through my hashtags to see how much I’ve spent on something and reassess if it’s too much, or that I can justify another trip to Starbucks.
Save your spare change with Coin Jar
This feature is a virtual version of the bottom of your bag because it’s where you keep all of your spare change. If you make a purchase that’s over £1, Monzo rounds it up the nearest pound and adds the difference to your Coin Jar.
It only does this if your balance is above £10 and while I was sceptical at first I’ve already saved £5 (in a week) and haven’t noticed it make a difference to my daily budget.
Other honourable mentions
If you lose your card, you can instantly ‘freeze’ it in your app and get a new one sent to you the next day. This avoids any potential issues if someone decides to use your lost card!
Spend for free abroad
I hate having loads of money on me when I’m on holiday, so the fact you can use your card for free is a major plus. You are also able to withdraw £200 every month with no fee and after that, there’s a 3% charge.
I love a plan, so being able to set monthly targets for my spending using the categories (eating out, shopping etc.) is right up my alley.
Should you get one?
If you’re looking for a way to get complete control over your spending habits, then I would recommend getting a Monzo account. It’s quick and easy to set up – it took me about five minutes and my card came within two days.
Some people are sceptical about app only banks, but I honestly think they are the way forward and the fact that you have 24/7 customer service (which is also really good) actually makes this a better bank than most.
They’re also incredibly community focused and take your suggestions into serious consideration with many of the features I’ve mentioned being a product of customer ideas.
Have you got a Monzo card? What do you think of app only banks? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @amyjmcdonnell 🐦