The Monzo Card – Digital Envelope Budgeting?

We’ve done really well lately with all aspects of our spending and saving but I noticed over the last two months our agreed £300 monthly spend on the food/household shopping had increased; March £440 and April £558!

The one area we’ve always struggled with is the spend at supermarkets, we are foodies and always will be, we cook all meals from scratch and eat really healthy diet. A Good quality diet of fruit and vegetables, meats and fish seems to be expensive and our shopping bills could certainly be a lot cheaper if we were happy to eat ready-made mass produced, preservative filled rubbish, but we are not. Included in those figures are household products too, so food isn’t entirely to blame

After Gill selling her business, we went down to one income so over the past three months she has been in work again and the income has gone back up. I hear a lot around the FI arena that when your income goes up, what tends to happen is that your spending also goes up to meet the extra you’ve made, leaving you wondering why you don’t seem to be any better off. I would agree that has probably been the case here.

I decided to take over the meal planning and supermarket shop from my wife (read between the lines there folks), in a bid to get this back down to £300 per month which should be more than enough for us.

I’ve always thought the envelope system was a great idea for budgeting, though I’ve never really liked the thought of having a full months expenditure in cash sitting around the house. Combining the fact that most of the bills are paid by direct debit as well, a cash envelope system wouldn’t really be a viable option.

Pete at The Meaningful Money Podcast sparked an interest in my head recently regarding having more than one personal account and dividing up the money. You’ve got your fixed bills every month which you know are certain and then transfer perhaps your grocery shopping and entertainment money to another account. So enabling you to budget better, you know that in the second account once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Pete’s also championed the Monzo card for doing so, down to the fact of being able to track the spending so well in the app. So that’s what I decided to do, ordered us Monzo cards and in effect set about doing a digital version of the envelope system.

So we went on the App store and downloaded the Monzo app, filled in all our details and scanned our identification into them and then for security recorded a short video through the app requesting a Monzo account be opened. Incredibly easy to do and didn’t even take five minutes in total I don’t think. I must say I was incredibly impressed with just how easy the application was.

Two days later the cards came in the post and were then authorised through the app, added into my Apple pay wallet and grocery/entertainment budget money loaded on. Incredibly swift service.

We’ve had two cards/accounts, one for our entertainment budget and the other for grocery/household shopping, leaving our joint account essentially just paying the bills. Money transferred into the accounts tends to show up immediately as do any purchases, enabling you to keep a good eye on what you’re spending and how much you’ve got left.

As we’ve both loaded the cards into Apple pay it means that I can have the grocery card on my phone and the entertainment card in my wallet and vice-versa for my wife, so we’ve both got access to either account separately should we ever need them.

Our supermarket shopping has been on track since we’ve starting doing things this way around, I’ve no doubt by continuing to budget in this way will certainly make it a lot easier to keep to the agreed amount. Separating it all out stops the spends getting lost in all the other busy transactions of a joint bill paying account. Everything about Monzo is great, everything works perfectly without any fuss, how banking should be. The app is full of useful budgeting tools and much much more.

By budgeting this way it is essentially the same as the envelope system only in digital cash free form!

Also If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you have a listen through the huge back catalogue of episodes of The Meaningful Money Podcast by Pete Matthew. A fantastic show, Pete offers an incredible wealth of information across all things money related. I’ve personally put a number of his tips into practice always with good results. If you read this Pete, thanks for everything you do, all your hard work is making a massive difference to peoples lives, well-done sir!

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3 thoughts on “The Monzo Card – Digital Envelope Budgeting?

  1. Hey Mario

    Thanks so much for the kind words about MeaningfulMoney – I’m delighted it’s been helpful for you!

    This is a great post, and I’m really pleased that you’re getting on OK with Monzo.

    Good luck for the future!

    Pete Matthew

    1. Thank you Pete, the Monzo card is working perfectly for us, a simple change but it makes such a difference to our spending. Another great tip from The MeaningfulMoney Podcast!

  2. Thank you so much for the recommendation about the Meaningful Money podcast. It’s great to find a British financial podcast – I listen to so many American ones and although some of it is useful, sometimes a lot can be irrelevant. I started listening to Pete Matthew this week whilst driving to work and he is great.

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