Small changes to make with your money (Part 1)

Read the article

You’ve probably heard this a lot lately…  but how is it February already?

As 2023 rolls on, you might find yourself looking back at when we were setting New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’re patting yourself on the back (deservedly so) for sticking to yours. Or maybe, like a lot of us, you’re trying to work out exactly when you forgot about them. 

Either way, when it comes to setting goals, it’s worth taking things one step at a time. Being realistic and making small changes gradually will help you get much further. And that’s definitely true when it comes to your money, too. 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share steps you can take with Monzo in minutes to help you stay on top of your money and make it go a little further. They can’t solve everything – but they might make a difference for you.

So let’s get started…

Start looking at your spending regularly (even if you don’t want to!)

Ever been scared to look at your bank balance? We’ve all been there. But it’s a good habit to get into, and we can help you get a clear insight into your spending in just a few taps.

Take a look at your Trends tab in Monzo for a breakdown of what your spending looks like by category and merchant – helping you see if there are any areas you want to try and cut back on. You can also review and adjust how Monzo categorises your purchases so Trends can better learn your spending patterns and deliver more helpful insights.

Gif showing how much you're spending each month in Trends

In Trends, you’ll see your balance and how much you have left to spend, so you can pace yourself until your next pay day. And you can also get a look at the big picture by viewing your spending graphs for this month, previous months and the whole year.

Viewing your spending graphs in Trends for this month, previous months and the whole year.

Catherine, a psychology master's student and part-time staff nurse in Falkirk, relies on Monzo’s Trends tab to help her improve her relationship with money:

“The spending breakdown helps me understand what my financial priorities are. I go over my transactions and break them down into categories: is it general, self care, expenses, shopping or something else? I can then establish which categories I should make changes to and which ones are mandatory.”

Your weekly spending report is a handy reminder to check your Trends tab each week. We’ll show you how your spending has gone up or down, so you’re always on top of your money.

We’ll show you how your spending has gone up or down, so you’re always on top of your money.

Olakunle, a data analyst from Staffordshire, enjoys the feeling of control this gives him:

“At the end of the month, I can look at my spending report and find out: how much did I spend? How come? Where did I spend the money? It’s a way to find out where to be disciplined and it saves me the time of having to pick up a pen to start adding numbers together.”

Organise your spending with Pots

You might have heard of the physical version of this – known as ‘cash stuffing’. It’s a viral budgeting strategy that involves earmarking a bunch of envelopes for different categories of spending – food shopping, nights out etc – and literally stuffing the money allocated for each one into them.

And good news – you can do this digitally by creating Pots with Monzo. Think about how you actually spend your money each month (you can check out your Trends tab to help you). Then, create a Pot for each category to make sure you’ve got the important things covered. 

You can give your Pots names and photos to bring them to life. If you’re a dog owner, for example, you might have a Pot called ‘dog outfits’ – and let’s face it, the photo options would be endless.

A selection of Pots with names like Rent, Groceries, and Doggo's Outfits

Amy, a civil servant from South Wales, uses Pots to keep track of exactly where her money’s going. She says: “I’ve got 19 Pots set up to manage every aspect of my money. I have one for phone insurance. I’ve got a credit card Pot which all my credit card payments come out of. I have a gin craft club Pot – I like gin so every two months I try to treat myself. I also have a Pot I’m trying to put £100 a month in for birthday gifts.”

Pots also help save you from accidentally overspending. Decide how much money you want to spend on each category in advance – then you can top your Pot up with the money. When that Pot runs out, you know not to spend any more until your next pay day.

Simplify your bills and subscriptions

We get it – rising bills are the last thing we want to think about right now. But putting them in one place means that it’s easier to keep an eye on them and make sure you’ve got them covered.

When you add all your bills and subscriptions to Monzo, we’ll factor them in when showing you how much you have left to spend in your Trends tab. And you can even ring-fence your money for bills by putting it in a Pot – and paying directly from that Pot. That way, you know you’re not going to accidentally spend it.

Seeing how much you have left to spend in Trends

And when you have Monzo Plus, you can pay for subscriptions like TV streaming (we know what winter evenings are like) straight from a Pot as well. All you need to do is create a virtual card to pay for that subscription, link it to that Pot and you’re on your way.

Monzo Plus is £5 per month • 3 month minimum • Must be aged 18+ • Ts&Cs apply

That’s all for this week, folks! But stay tuned for more small (and powerful) changes you can make with your money next week.

🌱Small Change is a new series of ideas we’re sharing to help you stay on top of your money and make it go a little further. We'll share practical steps you can take with Monzo in minutes, as well as stories from folks who’ve found what’s worked for them 🌱

Check out our other guides on feeling more in control, and reaching your savings goals faster.