A while back, I read about this new banking app called Monzo via The Debrief. Please note - back then it was called Mondo and it's probably worth reading The Debrief's feature about it too as it'll likely be explained better by them!
I was immediately intrigued because I am TERRIBLE with saving money. I wouldn't say I'm not money savvy, as I find I'm quite good with finding bargains, earning extra money online etc but I'm just no good at budgeting.
I'd tried budgeting apps before but had never really got on well with them so, definitely tempted by the pretty card and the fact that you actually get a physical card, I decided to sign up with Monzo.
I suppose the app is more so kind of like an alternative bank as opposed to a budgeting app - so far you can't cap your limits via the app, but it has been helpful.
You get your own card/account (and they have actually just received a banking license so soon you'll be able to use the account for direct debits and stuff like that, also) and it kind of works like a pre-paid card.
It works well because you can load a certain amount onto the card each time - I tend to load £100 every fortnight and once I run out, I don't load anymore on. This gives me a budget of £50 a week.
The smart part is that every single spend you make via the card is immediately registered via the app, so you can instantly log on and see where your money has gone that day and how much you have spent per day, too.
This saves time and is also helpful with budgeting if you tend to forget to log something. There's also a receipt scanning feature too.
It's really nifty, but does it work?
In short, yes.
I haven't used it to budget via the app per se - for example, on other apps you can create a pie chart to see where your money is being spent the most and set a cap to your spending.
But it has helped me budget in real life. Leaving my bank card at home and just using this on a day-to-day basis has definitely helped me become more aware of how much I spend on random crap.
If I go to the shop to grab a quick Red Bull for example, I knowingly stop and think whether or not I have enough cash left on the app to do so. So it definitely makes me more aware of my spending and helps me save.
It works really well as a separate budget too. Although soon enough you'll be able to get the full benefits of a bank account, currently you cannot use this to pay off direct debits and such. I tend to think of these direct debits and bills as necessities - a while back I took the time to cancel any direct debits I didn't need so nowadays it is pretty much bills like for my phone or car - and anything else is a budget I live off.
It's great because when you log onto online banking, although you can see your balance, a lot of the time half the transactions can be up to three days behind which makes it tough to sit down and work out your finances.
The card can be cancelled via the app immediately if need be, in case it gets lost or stolen, and, of course, the card is super pretty.
All in all, for the past month or so, Monzo has been my go-to budgeting app and I feel it has really worked. It's dubbed as being for anyone who lives on their mobile phones, and that's entirely true.