How I used programming to outdo the rising star of British banks .Beating Monzo Plus with Python and Pandas
I started banking with Monzo about two years ago now, and back then I found it fascinating that there was this bank that was completely online — no high street locations in sight. Even now I’m impressed with how far these digital-only banks have come, boasting useful features like savings pots and transaction categorisation.
I’ll be honest, but until recently I wasn’t too fussed by Monzo’s ability to automatically categorise transactions depending on the vendor, but since starting my university life, managing my finances has become vastly more important to me. I decided to take a closer look at this feature, and while it was cool, I was greatly disappointed by the lack of options.
Don’t get me wrong, Monzo’s selection of categories, is fine, but there was a distinct lack of some important options like ‘Rent’ or ‘Recurring Subscription’ or similar. Of course, these could both realistically come under ‘Bills’, but what about other things a scrounging student has to pay for on the regular, like laundry? There’s certainly no category for that, and ‘Expenses’ could be anything.
Feeling a bit defeated, I settled for creating a spreadsheet and spending an hour or so looking through my transactions once a week, filling out cells and totting up how much I’d spent on different things each month. I ended up configuring my spreadsheet for my three main accounts — my Monzo account, my student bank account and my Help-to-Buy ISA — and setting up some Excel formulae to automatically deduct from one account if I made a transfer to the other, and so on.
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