Monday, January 13, 2020

How Monzo Helped Me Changed My Finances

Hey lovelies, in 2019 I mentioned finance a lot on the blog, mainly because I was in the mist of paying back around £4,000 worth of debt from university and from being an idiot who didn't really understand how budgeting or living post university life worked. I'm definitely going to be adding a finance section to my blog now, and I thought I'd start with showing how getting a Monzo account really helped my finances.

Why I made the swap to Monzo

Let's first talk about my financial position, when I made the decision to leave my god awful Santander account behind, I had maxed out my student overdraft to over the limit, meaning almost every payday I was instantly paying them £100 back. £100 every month and I was still over my limit every month. After I sent them a letter, asking them to stop the overdraft going over the limit, and they got back to me saying they wouldn't in the circumstances I decided I would move my pay into a different account to stop them profiting off my inability to pay off my overdraft.

As I had been with them for many years, it was a decision to move but out had to be done since they were offering me no reasonable way to start paying off the debt and they were taking £100 in fees, every single month.

What is Monzo?

"Monzo works in a very similar way to any normal current account. When you apply for an account, you'll be issued with a bright coral contactless Mastercard. However, the account is entirely managed through the Monzo app, which is packed with cool features and much slicker than your average banking app."

It was around this time that one of my work friends showed up to work with one of these beautiful pink coral cards, and I'd never heard of the bank before this time. He talked me through the app, and showed me some of the features, and that afternoon I made the request for an account because it seemed perfect to me. I also really liked the fact that it was an online only bank, and that I would never have to go into the store to talk to anyone, and everything could be handled via phone or through their help desk.

How it helped

Now this is going to be a really long section of the post, so if you don't already I would suggesting getting a cup of tea/coffee.

For me the app layout, was an actual god send because I could see exactly where my money was, where would be going, and I could see how much I could realistically afford too save. The app has such an ease of access when you open it up.

As you can see the app tells you at there top, how much money you have which is pretty standard, and you go through to your transactions  anything that will be coming out off your bank in the next working day will show in translucent text at the top of your outgoings. Then every payment that has gone out of your bank will one listed, if any money from those payments has gone into your savings through the round up feature this will have a small circular icon next to it.

By clicking on the two arrows at the bottom, you are able to check when your scheduled payments are coming out and exactly how much they are, for me the only direct debit I have is for my Credit Card and that's just £15. There is also a page here that allows you to send money, and see how much money you've previously sent out.

For me the ease of this layout, leaves nothing out, all payments are taken instantly from your account. The only ones that I've found can be exceptionally difficult are the ones that come out through Paypal as the Paypal app doesn't always take money out instantly and can be a business week before it even appears in Monzo. 

If I'm honest the way I could physically see all my money (or lack of it) made me want to be better, to save better, and showed me how much money I recklessly spent elsewhere that I really shouldn't have. By clicking on the bar underneath your balance you are able to see your spending, the app breaks it down into categories, like bills, shopping, food so you can see exactly where your money goes.

The use of a savings pot in Monzo allows you to save money from everyday transactions, I have mine on the basic setting which means it rounds your transactions up to the nearest pound and puts the extra in your savings pot. For those of you like me who are absolutely want at saving, this can be so helpful because you barely notice the change that is going into your saving pots. There are many ways you can set money up to go into your savings pot/pots either through a monthly transfer, or small payments when you tweet etc ( there are some really funky ways). I personally for now have just kept to the rounding up to the closest pound, as I don't want to try and save more than I can actually afford too.

Let's talk bill-splitting, this is one of the features that I didn't use on the app straight away as it confused me a little bit at the beginning. If you pay for a meal for example, on the app, when you click the payment you are able to split the bill with other Monzo users. Meaning that you can get paid back very quickly as the app with send a notification to the other users app, so that they can pay you back. In my experience with other people this has always worked really well, and I've not had an issue with it. I've used it twice and I've been paid back very quickly - it saves awkwardly having to ask your friends to pay you back when you're in a tough financial spot like I was.

As I mentioned above the bank is sorted entirely through the app. As for incoming money, my wages are paid straight into this account, because there aren't any branches like with a tradition bank account, you are able to pay money into your account at any Pay-point  in the same way you'd top up and electric key or bill card. They do charge a £1 fee for doing this, but this isn't something I mind. You are able to deposit between £5-300 in one go, and you can pay in a maximum of £1,000 every six months. For me this was life changing in December, working a hospitality job, I made a lot of extra money through tips, drinks, working basically, which I was able to deposit into my account. Normally in the past I would just spend this money day to day as the idea of going to an actual bank to cash it in would have been far too much for me, but the ease of access of going to a pay-point meant I could input money daily if I wanted to.

Through using the app and being more conscious of my money, I've almost paid my entire debt off in the space of a year. I'm honestly so grateful for finding Monzo and learning how to utilise a bank properly.

I'd love to know if any of you have had pleasant experiences with Monzo, or if you've thought of making the change.

- I'd like to stress this isn't an AD I just really love this bank -


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