An all too-familiar story
I'm normally quite reluctant to throw my lot in with millenials. Not that I have anything against them, but I find it quite ridiculous wearing a usually-derogatory label based on my age.
Anyway, as I'm subject to the same economy - or lack thereof as other people my age, I find myself burdened with the same problem; that is, not ever having any fucking money.
Granted not all of it is entirely the government's fault. When I first left mum & dad's house, I didn't really organise myself. That'd be the day! Instead I spent a lot and failed to always pay it off. I had no savings to speak of. With that said, I was paying somewhere between 90% and 150% (it varied month on month) of my wage in bills for a shitty one-bedroom place with mould and rats.
Last year, my circumstances drastically changed and I saw the opportunity to finally organise myself. In my now-spare room (I'd moved somewhere nicer), I decided to get a lodger.
He moved in and began paying rent and things eased off a bit. I wasn't able to pay very much off - apart from the odd £20 here and there - but I wasn't racking up more debt any more.
Now, I've moved with said friend into a house with another friend and things are even better. I'm beginning to actually pay stuff off. It has occurred to me however that I'm going to fall into the same trap unless I make a change to my spending habits. I need to utilise the resources available to me.
My Solution: Monzo
I should point out, this isn't a sponsored post. They're not paying me to say this. That'd be nice. No. I did a bit of research and remembered reading about Monzo a year or so ago.
The point of Monzo is to eventually become a bank. They're not officially a bank yet - so you need to be careful not to transfer too much money to them in case they fold. In the UK, if your bank folds, you're insured for up to a certain amount of money (I think £70,000).
Roughly, how it works
Currently, you pay them a sum and they top-up a pre-payment card that you can use in shops etc. Seems like an annoying extra step, right? Well, yes, currently it is. But, you gain a few benefits from doing it.
Every time you use your pre-payment card, you receive a notification on your phone saying what you've spent and where you've spent it.
You receive instant, real-time information on how you're spending your money. In theory, it means no more waiting three days to see how your account balance has changed. In theory, you're no longer able to spend and forget that you have because you bank hasn't reflected the change yet.
Image courtesy of Monzo.com
The other benefit is that you're able to categorise the charges against your account. You create categories such as groceries, bills, take-out, etc. and store your charges against them.
I'm not sure if it'll help me but in theory it seems great.
The down side
Monzo is still in start-up mode. They're getting more new customers than they can handle and so I'm currently in a queue of tens of thousands of people waiting to receive pre-payment cards. Without the pre-payment card, there isn't much I can do. I'm keeping a weather eye on it.
It's possible to bump yourself up the list by sharing a link to your friends and family and encouraging them to also sign up but there's a problem with this philosophy. I don't like advocating for something I haven't yet tried myself.
I'll let you know how it goes!
The waiting list is currently about a week long, when I get my pre-payment card and have tried it out a bit, I'll update you on how my budgeting is going.