3 Mar 2019

How to manage money when you’re terrible with money

You’ve never even attempted to budget, your savings account is completely empty, and your credit score is crap after going over your overdraft by accident. You should have more than enough money to get by, but somehow you always end up overspending.

If you think you’re bad with money, here’s how you can (try to) keep yourself in check.

Save yourself from yourself

You are your own worst enemy.

Pay yourself a weekly allowance

If you’re always skint at the end of the month, try paying yourself a salary at the start of each week. After you set aside money for the essentials (like bills, rent and travel), work out how much you can spend a week and move it into your account every Monday. It’ll help you control your spending and mean you can’t do too much damage at once.

If you use Monzo, you can do this with Pots. On payday, schedule a payment to send your salary straight into a Pot, as soon as it arrives in your account. Then, schedule weekly payments out of the Pot back into your main account.

You could also try opening a second bank account and setting up a weekly standing order to the account you want to use for your spending.

Protect your savings from yourself

If you’re attempting to save money, try not to keep it in your main account “just in case”. Chances are you’ll end up spending it.

Instead, move any money you want to save into another account. Or if you use Monzo, move it to a Pot as soon as possible. You can even lock your Pots until a certain date, to stop yourself dipping into your savings. So even when you’re broke at the end of the month or see something you like on ASOS, your savings will be safe.

Think about getting a savings account so you can earn interest (in other words, get paid for saving). Here’s a simple guide to the main kinds of savings account, and how to choose one that works for you.

Trick yourself into saving money

If you don’t have the discipline to set money aside, trick yourself into saving instead.

If you use Monzo, you can stash away your spare change using round-ups. Every time you buy something over £1, we’ll round it up to the nearest pound and put the extra in your Pot. You’ll be saving money without even realising, every time you spend.

Cry for help

You’re not alone.

Use an app to help you keep your spending in check

Apps like Monzo can take the hassle out of making a budget (and sticking to it).

You can create a monthly budget in the Summary tab of your Monzo app. Just tell it how much you want to spend in each category. And as you spend, we’ll let you know how close you’re getting to each limit.

For example, you could set a monthly limit of £50 on shopping, so you can still treat yourself without totally emptying your account.

Don’t let your friends drag you down

It’s harder to keep your finances in check when your partner, family or friends keep leading you astray. Why not agree to sort out your finances together?

Catch up regularly to set goals, compare progress and share tips. Or just agree not to drag each other down. If you’re all on the same page, you might be less tempted to eat out instead of cooking, or more motivated to save.

Pull your finger out

You can (probably) do it 💪

Sit down for an hour and set everything up at once

Force yourself to sit down and sort your finances out for an hour. Setting up the right standing orders and doing all the other admin will help you in the long run.

Hopefully it’ll mean you don’t have to make an effort to think about money all the time.

Boost your credit score in five minutes

Managing your money doesn’t need to take ages or require you to understand loads of complex products. There are a few simple, quick things that can make a big difference.

For example, having a good credit score makes it easier to get approved for credit, like a mortgage, credit card or mobile phone contract. You can boost your score in the time it takes to make a coffee – simply go online and register to vote.

This improves your score because it helps companies confirm your address when you apply for credit with them.


To keep track of your spending, stick to your budgets, and find ways to save (even if you’re bad with money) download Monzo today.

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