A Month on Monzo
As students go, I like to think I’m pretty good with money. I know how much my rent and bills cost each month and I can predict roughly how much I spend on food and generally I don’t get myself into any issues. That being said, I do sometimes wonder how much I spend on my ‘oh we’ll just have a takeaway for tea’ night’s or my ‘sure I’ll join you in the Student Union’ lunches with the girls. When I found out about Monzo, a budgeting app that links up to a prepaid card, I thought ‘well it wouldn’t hurt to give it a go’.
5 months later and I’m using it more and more every month.
Because of this, I decided to use it exclusively (other than for rent and bills) for the month of January and I thought I’d share my thoughts on how that went with you.
What Do I Use It For?
I don’t use Monzo for everything. My rent and bills generally come out of my student bank account which is where my student loan and the food money my parents give me goes. Monzo is to track the smaller things for me. I top up my monzo card as and when I feel like I need to (usually when my balance gets to around £10) and generally do so using apple pay as it’s the quickest, easiest way for me. I use Monzo for daily spending, takeaways, and to transfer money to my boyfriend if he pays for our food shops etc.
Keeping track of the one-off meal deals or the grabbing a snack whilst on campus has been surprisingly interesting. Sure, grabbing a meal deal every once in a while because you didn’t have time to make lunch that morning is fine, and whilst I don’t spend much money on that each month, its interesting seeing that added to our big food shops. My spending on food is surprisingly low so I can justify it, however it is definitely interesting to see the difference spending £2 here and there makes.
At most, we get a takeaway once a week. Any more than that and I just can’t justify it. Once a week is still a lot more than I would have if I were at home, but whilst living in a house that is round the corner from dominoes I feel like I want to make the most of it, especially considering I can’t get it at all at home. Collecting it from the store is definitely a lot cheaper than having it delivered but even with the collection discounts it adds up quickly. Like I said, with my average spend a week on food being so low, I don’t mind spending £5.99 on a dominoes every week or so, but for someone who gets a lot of takeaways it would be very interesting to see how this adds up.
Transferring Between Friends
One of my favourite things about Monzo is how easy it is to transfer money to your friends. Living with my boyfriend, there are a lot of costs that we split. We’re very aware of splitting everything so its fair (whether that’s the Tesco food shop or a meal out) but it’s a lot easier for one of us to just pay it and the other to pay it back. With Monzo, I can send him money on the spot and he’s got it in his account instantly. It’s so much quicker and easier than transferring it across using normal bank accounts and makes life so much easier for people like us who are often transferring money to each other. Being able to put little notes for reference in also makes it a lot easier to figure out what we have/haven’t paid each other back for in a way that’s much clearer than using a normal bank account.
I won’t go into detail about all the individual features of Monzo since you can find out all about it online, however some of the features such as being able to freeze and unfreeze your card on the spot if you lose it, being able to request a pin reminder in the app if you forget it and the monthly spending reports that tell you how much you spent and on what are really useful and are definitely worth knowing about.
So Is It Worthwhile?
As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of Monzo and although I don’t generally spend a lot of money, I do like being able to see what I have spent and on what. Whether you struggle to budget or you’re just interested in seeing how much you spend, its worth giving it a go. Although the initial top up has to be £100 for regular users, if you’re a student and sign up using a university email address you can top up £25 initially instead. That being said, you never have to pay money to Monzo, as this money goes straight onto the card that you then use to pay for things in shops so don’t be alarmed. I was initially put off by having to top up the card before receiving it, and I do personally prefer to keep my balance on there fairly low but like I said, you won’t ever lose the money.
Have you tried Monzo? Would you like to try it? Do you want me to post more about student budgeting? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!