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Oscar*, 31, from Telford in the West Midlands, is a self-employed personal trainer. He earns around £33k a year and lives with his wife, whom he married last year. *We’ve changed his name.
Oscar originally joined Monzo in 2019 to use it while travelling, as he was attracted by how easily his friends on Monzo could manage their money abroad, split bills and spend with no extra fees.
He’s been using Monzo for all his money, with no other bank account, since June 2022. He still uses Monzo to save for holidays and pay for things while travelling, but nowadays he uses it to manage every other aspect of his money as well. Having been unable to put money away consistently for years in his twenties, Monzo has helped Oscar save at least £10k. He’s put this towards his wedding in Portugal last year and paying off credit card debt.
Here, he shares how he went from only using it abroad to full Monzo and why it was one of the best things he’s ever done.
I went to Prague with some friends in 2019 and two of them had Monzo. They were splitting the bill and sharing tabs, and I was there paying with my bank card and getting charged ridiculous fees, or having to take money out of the wall.
I got Monzo as soon as I got home because I knew I'd be travelling a lot that year – to Italy, Spain, America and Portugal.
At that point I only used Monzo as a travel card. I’d load it with money when I went away to get good rates when I paid for things. It was great when I went to America because the group I was with all had Monzo. One person paid the bill and we just split it, which made life much easier.
“I started using Pots to save for holidays and travel”
Because the money is out of sight and not in my main bank account, it’s much easier to save for travel.
I’ve got a bills Pot for things like my car and subscriptions. A golf Pot to cover golfing holidays and other golf-related things, which is where my roundups go. Roundups amount to quite a lot – when I went to America a couple of years back, my roundups went into a separate hidden Pot and when I got to the airport to come home, I un-hid it and there was £190 in there.
I’ve got a holiday Pot that my wife also contributes to because we’re going to Mallorca with a big gang in August.
I’ve also got a skiing Pot as I'm saving for a skiing trip, and a campervan Pot with an image of the van I want. I don’t plan on getting one anytime soon but it helps having the Pot for clarity, to see how much I’ve got saved.
The custom Pot images motivate me to save – I see them and remember what I'm saving for, rather than just seeing a number.
“Pots also make it easier to budget while I’m away”
When I went to Bali for three weeks I transferred all my money from my current account into my savings Pots, including my bills Pot, to make sure the bills got paid.
I had a Bali Pot that I’d been saving into and I transferred £100 every day into my current account to spend while out there. I knew that was my budget for the day. If I needed more I could get more, but when you actively have to go into the app and move the money around it makes you think, should I be spending this much? Because then I won't have enough later.
“I never used to be able to save – money would come into my bank account and I’d just spend it all”
Before getting Monzo, I had no real view of what money was. I’d buy things willy-nilly, my bills would come out and at the end of the month I'd have no money left. Then I’d get paid again and the cycle would continue.
Whereas because I can visually see my money with Monzo, it motivates me to put money aside into Pots. And then whatever's left in my current account is mine.
“Using Monzo to manage all my money is one of the best things I’ve done”
I first heard the term ‘Full Monzo’ on the Saving Squad Facebook group. The longer I was in the group and the more I read about it, the safer I felt having Monzo as my main account.
I was struggling to save money and my previous bank’s app was pretty rubbish. I loved what I had on Monzo and realised there was no reason why I had to stay with my old bank. So I decided to switch and I thought, if it doesn't work I can always move the money bank.
“Having clarity around my finances makes life less stressful, because let's face it, we all stress about finances”
I pay myself monthly because I'm self employed, and for years I’d take money out of my business account to pay myself and wouldn't know what I was left with. It was a nightmare.
Once I moved over to Monzo fully in June last year, I realised it was so much easier to budget for things, to syphon money off into different Pots, and then I knew what was my expendable income. It's helped me save massively, because I can see my money.
“It’s still so much easier to save for travel than it ever was before”
Since moving completely to Monzo I still use Pots in exactly the same way to save for holidays and travel and budget while I’m abroad.
It’s also really helpful being able to break down every trip I’ve taken by reading the spending reports when I get back. It's good to see how much you've spent and the exchange rates, etc.
“I’ve saved over £10k since getting Monzo”
It has enabled me to save money to pay off credit cards and other debts, to pay off bills from our wedding, and for our honeymoon at the beginning of the year.
I’ve just booked a ski trip, which I'm paying off, so even though I'm not saving a huge amount right now, I'm still budgeting a lot better than I ever was.
If I hadn't had to have paid off the credit cards and things like that and I had a lump sum of money in my account, it would be well over £10k.
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