How Monzo changed my fiancé’s life

I wrote this title a good 6 months ago and have just got to writing the actual content of the blog.
At that point, this statement was true beyond any doubt. Fast forward to now and it is missing something. The title should read, ‘How Monzo changed both my fiance’s and MY life’. (And if you’re reading this post 14/09/19, then it should read ‘How Monzo changed both my wife’s and MY life’.)
I’d also like to caveat this blog with the fact that I don’t know anyone from Monzo, nor do I have any specific allegiance or kick back for this. Their product has simply changed our lives for the better and therefore I want to share it with you so that it might do the same for you.
Monzo, to those who don’t know, is a mobile-only challenger bank, set up in London by a super smart guy as recently as 2015. Since then Monzo has grown from a pre-paid, snazzy coral coloured card, to smashing through its millionth customer, gaining over 20,000 new users per week and growing to over £1billion in value.
Monzo’s clear mission is to “Make money work for everyone”. I think this is something that, for us, is more than on its way to becoming a completed mission, with no friendly losses and the enemy captured alive.
I am not going to explain all the benefits of Monzo, you can find a pretty good list of them directly on their website here. The single greatest thing that Monzo has done for us, is given us immediate and in your face access to exactly how much (or how little) money we have left before the end of the month.
Monzo works with a slick app that has loads of excellent functionality. But the key thing for us is that the second you spend £12 on a round in the pub, a notification hits your phone that says '£12 spent in The Fox on Paul Street'. Click on that notification and it tells you how much you have spent that day, how many days left until your next payday AND how likely you are or not to run out of money.
Compare that to NatWest, with whom my fiancé used to bank, where if you bought something online or in a shop, it could take up to 5 working days before that even appeared on your online bank statement. It would never tell you anything practical and certainly wouldn’t help with managing your money. It would just offer the chance to increase the overdraft in 60 seconds and yet wouldn’t tell you what was going in and out for up to a week.
Monzo gives you nowhere to hide and nowhere to turn, you simply can’t avoid managing your money on a day by day, week by week and month by month basis. The initial phase can be rather painful, because it highlights your bad spending habits, but then it makes you realise how little control you have over your money and it partly shames you into improving your financial habits and prevents you from going over budget.
What it does allow you to do is accurately measure. I am a firm believer that 'Measuring is Improving'. I’ve done it with my weight, with my work and now we’ve both done it with our money. Measuring starts off sh*t, because it’s an extra thing to do and usually the measurements are worse than you might hope and the pain is too much to take so you sack it off. However, it’s worth it so stick with it.
Monzo makes the measuring so easy it’s ridiculous. The hard part is riding that pain for the first few months, but after a year, measuring on a daily basis, really is improving.
It has, without doubt, changed both of our lives for the better and I’d recommend anyone gives it a whirl.

Alfie Mullan, September 2019