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What do you want from a budgeting tool? Share your thoughts with Barclays and you could win a £200 voucher - NOW CLOSED

(68 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 16-Nov-13 09:56:57

You're invited to take part in a Brainstorm for Barclays!

They are in the process of developing new budgeting tools which will sit on the Barclays Pages on Mumsnet (and possibly on www.barclays.co.uk/) and now need your help to find out what's important in this sort of thing. The tools will be available to anyone to use - not just Barclays customers - and will be interactive - allowing you to input details to get advice and help.

Barclays say "when you discover you’re going to be a parent (or parent again!) alongside that rush of excitement comes all the practical questions you can’t avoid – not least, how will this affect my finances? We understand that managing your money when you’re expecting can be tough, so when Mumsnetters told us that two new tools could make life that bit easier for new parents, we were determined to make it happen. So, we asked our digital team to build a calculator to work out maternity pay, and a separate tool for budgeting". And of course the budgeting tool could be used at any life stage too.

Barclays have had some initial feedback to the concepts via a workshop they held with MNers - they say "we know Mumsnetters are the people to help us decide how these tools should actually work".

They'd now like to make these tools as easy to use as possible. This is where you come in. Now they've got the ball rolling, they want to know what you'd like to see from their tools; share your thoughts / needs/ wants/ love to haves below - for example

~ what would make a tool like this an absolute lifesaver? What would just be a plain old nuisance? What would you include in the perfect online budgeting tool? What could you do without?
~ how often would you like to use a tool like this? Every week/ day, just once or twice, or monthly?
~ what should it look like? What sort of options would you like to have covered?
~ have you used anything similar elsewhere? What makes it good and what would you improve about it?
~ what areas would you like it to cover? How do you categorize your expenditure/ income?

They'd love to hear all feedback. Barclays tech team can't promise to include all the suggestions but all will definitely read by their team and where possible added to the mix - keep an eye out for it coming soon(ish)..grin

Add your thoughts below - everyone who adds a comment below will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £200 John Lewis voucher. Closing date: 29 November at 9am

thanks
MNHQ

IAlwaysThought Wed 20-Nov-13 19:55:52

Is like some sort of tool where I could log all my direct debits. I would want it to include the dates and the details of the recipient. It would be good if it was clear (colour coded) which are fixed amount direct debits and which are variable.
It would also be useful to be able to categorise the type of direct debit. Eg utilities, memberships, donations, car, etc

It would be useful to have a place where I knew all this info was collated. It would be useful to compare year on year expenditure and it would be useful to highlight all those direct debits that you can easily forget about - such as national trust membership or AA membership.

I would probably look at it once or twice a month.

I am not sure how it should look. It would need to be easy to update and add new info.

manfalou Wed 20-Nov-13 21:13:45

Simple is key. I hate spreadsheets, they look too 'formal' and for more people to use the tool I think it needs to be more fun and inviting than a usual spreadsheet.

I think if you're going to try and budget for a car or something on a larger scale then as others have said, the things that come with those items need to be pointed out to the user. New drivers think 'oooo i'll get a car' but don't think about tax, petrol, insurance...

JacqueslePeacock Wed 20-Nov-13 21:28:13

Linked to my bank account would be great. I just wouldn't use it if I had to type everything in by hand. But if info could be transferred across, perhaps by "tagging" different items of expenditure on my online bank statement, that would be perfect.

HootyMcOwlface Wed 20-Nov-13 21:32:44

I currently use an Excel spreadsheet and I have one page for budgeting, then additional pages for mine and my son's savings, my shares, my credit card bills etc..
I like the fact that I can personalise it for my requirements as other tools may have sections I don't need or have too much/too little detail.

I update mine about once a week when I use the laptop but it could be useful to do it on a phone/tablet.
I'd also want the option to password protect it (maybe not everyone would want to bother but I do with my spreadsheet).

Diagonally Wed 20-Nov-13 21:41:53

I currently use a spreadsheet for budgeting, after pay day and then check a couple of times through the month.

Something that would be really useful would be the ability to set income on different cycles, eg my wages are paid monthly but tax credits and child benefit are 4-weekly so I'd like to set that up in advance so I can see each month when those payments are due to come in.

Categories need to be customizable.

I'd like the ability to add actuals myself via an on demand download from online banking.

Trending of historical data and forecasting options by category would be great.

I'd probably use online rather than an app, but the option would be good.

I like colour coding!

GetKnitted Wed 20-Nov-13 22:17:15

~ what would make a tool like this an absolute lifesaver? linking into excel (or my statement online, if I was a barclays customer) so that I could colour code and categorise my actual expenditures
What would just be a plain old nuisance?
having to fill out everything again every time I used it.
~ how often would you like to use a tool like this? Every week/ day, just once or twice, or monthly?
every 3 months or so

~ what should it look like? What sort of options would you like to have covered?
don't care what it looks like.

~ have you used anything similar elsewhere? What makes it good and what would you improve about it?
I've never really used anything similar, other than to take the categories for examining our spending.

~ what areas would you like it to cover? How do you categorize your expenditure/ income?

sashh Thu 21-Nov-13 09:36:39

The website needs to be very user friendly I hate the term 'user friendly' it is meaning less, what is friendly to one user isn't to another.

But it should have options to change the font size, colours etc so that it can be used by someone with various disabilities. Do not have a white background, it is fine unless you have dyslexia or some forms of visual impairment, then it is the worst colour to use.

I know you can usually override these things if you own your own computer but if you are using a computer in a library you can't. And if you are short of money you are more likely to be using a library pc.

Something that you can personalise with things like birthdays, anniversaries that are coming up with a link to amazon sales (and other places) so if you have a birthday coming up for a 12 year old boy you can opt to link to different websites with gift suggestions, but if a sale is on with things heavily discounted, even 6 months before you get a message.

Estimates of utility bills linked to weather forecasts, and then updated with actual weather so if it snowing you can see how much you will need for the bill if you put the heating on rather than shivering and worrying. Can this be linked to smart meters? Also links to price comparison sites so you could get an email or another message saying when it is the best time to switch.

RubyRR Thu 21-Nov-13 13:52:52

I'd like a salary calculator for the year which I can also deduct household monthly bills, weekly food costs,insurance phone bills which are quarterly to see how much I can possibly have left. At the moment this would be utterly depressing but I'd have more of an idea where I'm up to. It's hard to forecast when some direct debits are for 10 months of the year, car costs etc.

gretagrape Thu 21-Nov-13 14:19:38

I want to be able to put in what I spend each month on some things, what I spend each week on others and what I spend each year on others and for it to do the sums for me, rather than me have to work out the monthly cost for all the things that don't happen monthly.

CMOTDibbler Thu 21-Nov-13 20:38:38

I'd like an app so I could just snap a picture of a receipt and it would read the total, allocate it to a category if it was an obvious vendor (BP=petrol, Costa or Starbucks=eating out) or let me allocate them once a day or when I wanted

Hopezibah Thu 21-Nov-13 22:26:40

Love the concept of it. In particular a good budgeting tool would be really useful.

~ what would make a tool like this an absolute lifesaver? What would just be a plain old nuisance?

I'd say if it included a very comprehensive list of things to include in your budgeting eg not just say 'bills' but specifically list anything and everything that would come under that heading eg phone / mobile phone, gas, elec, water, council tax, etc etc.

and rather than need your own exact amounts which I don't always have to hand - some indicators of what is average would be helpful eg. average gas bill for 3 bedroom house would be x.

That way I can do some guestimating using the tool and then come back to it with specific figures later on.

It would also be useful to not make every field compulsory to fill in.

~ how often would you like to use a tool like this? Every week/ day, just once or twice, or monthly?

I'd probably say monthly for me.

~ what should it look like? What sort of options would you like to have covered?

As easy as possible - drop down menus,

~ have you used anything similar elsewhere? What makes it good and what would you improve about it?

not used elsewhere. I used to use a paper version to work out maternity pay.

~ what areas would you like it to cover? How do you categorize your expenditure/ income?
expenditure: bills (all categories listed separately), insurances, car expenses, clothes, food, childcare, outings, gifts, eating out, mortgage, other house expenses eg repairs.

IncaAztec Fri 22-Nov-13 21:00:31

~ what would make a tool like this an absolute lifesaver? What would just be a plain old nuisance? What would you include in the perfect online budgeting tool? What could you do without?

Easy to add onto multiple devices and available on them all would be great. Android and iPad/phone with ability to display the same info on them all. Too often I don't have the right device with me, eg my work phone is android - then I get out the habit of using it. I could do without the maternity pay part.

~ how often would you like to use a tool like this? Every week/ day, just once or twice, or monthly?

I think I would try to remember to look every day, maybe an automated reminder would help?

~ what should it look like? What sort of options would you like to have covered?

Running totals/ability to compare with previous years.

~ have you used anything similar elsewhere? What makes it good and what would you improve about it?

Yes, there are a few similar apps around.
~ what areas would you like it to cover? How do you categorize your expenditure/ income?

I categorise expenditure as fixed (eg direct debits) and unfixed compulsory (food/fuel) and unfixed voluntary (going out/Xmas etc)

Kezzareece Sat 23-Nov-13 10:11:29

On trees.co.uk is a great model to look at. It brings all your bank and credit card details in to one place and you can categorise each transaction...eg grocery, entertainment. It produces some great graphs and text warning when you spend too much in a specified category.
Maybe Barclays should look at this as an idea.

gazzalw Sat 23-Nov-13 10:17:10

Think I'm asking too much but something which assesses monthly income and outgoings:compulsory household expenses (such as insurances, mortgage, bills, council tax etc...), food spend, children-related expenses (school dinners, uniform) etc..and then apportions remaining income into other 'pots' for luxuries, unexpected events etc..... Then you would have a better 'eye' on what's there to fritter away play with?

DinoSnores Sat 23-Nov-13 10:58:26

It would be really useful if some options were already populated and updated,. For example, child benefit calculated for your number of children., road tax, to save looking it up. Make sure that you can enter daily weekday expenses, weekly, monthly etc.

JHart0 Sat 23-Nov-13 11:31:16

The most important thing is usability. It must be easy to use and tested in real people.

I want it to be and easy to use. It would be useful to give advice for planning such as "Think about committing x% towards your pension"

I currently use an excel spreadsheet for each tax year, it tells me total income, total outgoings, how far over/under target spend I am each month and what % of the year's projection has been earned and spent for each category.
I'd like software that could pull transaction info from my bank each day and add it to my spreadsheet securely, so I could have an up-to-date picture of the household budget.
Perhaps for the set-up, you'd have information such as "how much do you spend on X appliance, how long would you anticipate it lasting?" And use that info to calculate how much to save up each month for future planned expenditure.
After a year or so, you'd have more accurate information in actual spends so could link up with companies offering discounts on items we said we were saving for, helping us get the best deal.
Reward early adopters of the system, as they'll help you iron out the bugs, making it more user friendly for late adopters.

mrsbunnyw Sat 23-Nov-13 14:22:54

Working out all the tax etc when you pay a nanny or childminder would be very helpful, like on the nannytax website, especially if you can tie it in with your other expenses.

DixieWest Sat 23-Nov-13 17:58:03

Here's my ideal:

It should be easy to use and colourful, with little boxes where I can put in income/expenditure amounts and crucially the dates they come out. It should then have a calendar where I can look forwards and click on a date in the future to see how much money I should have in my bank. I'd then be able to compare this with how much money I actually have to see where I'm up to! It would be a massive help for working out when I can afford things.

JS06 Sat 23-Nov-13 20:34:17

what would make a tool like this an absolute lifesaver? To get it kickstarted with some accurate info. Could there be a personal web chat service to get a budgeting tool populated with actual info.? It could possibly be done in say a 30 minute appt. Starting off with real data and supported by a real person could influence how much a tool like this is a valuable 'life' tool and how often it is used.

What would just be a plain old nuisance? Having to upload all my own information

What would you include in the perfect online budgeting tool? All expenses every month, documented accurately. Colour highlighting could be useful, visual prompts using symbols or photos would make the whole subject less deadly. I'd like to see a blippar type app which could 'read' a receipt in a shop or restaurant as you receive it and then populate the data into the live tool.

What could you do without? Techno speak and flashing adverts at the side of the screen distracting me

How often would you like to use a tool like this? Every week/ day - I'd like to see a tool so slick that it would be a 'go to' option (a bit like Mumsnet!)

What should it look like? What sort of options would you like to have covered? It should not look like a balance sheet although I know this is a big ask. It should look interesting with colour, a font of choice - perhaps like my own handwriting with options to ring the changes as I wished. Maybe a pinterest type display or something like a mind map with the central panel being 'December' and the outer layer being represented by 'heating' 'food' 'petrol' 'income' 'train fares' 'subscriptions' 'judo fees' 'National Trust' etc etc. Maybe a rolling stock of pie charts could demonstrate over the year how big or little the slices of different expenses really are.

Have you used anything similar elsewhere? What makes it good and what would you improve about it? I haven't used anything similar, I tend to rely on a sprinkling of good judgement about my bank balance and a bit of luck and trust mainly to chance. For an educated, forthright and astute woman this is shameful but I am holding my hands up to my own reality.

What areas would you like it to cover? How do you categorize your expenditure/ income? I'd like it to cover fixed expenses, variable expenses, luxuries, absolute waste of monies, that sort of thing. I'd like it to help me focus on what's important and ideally ditch some idiotic spending which over the years has wasted some astonishing amounts.

michmum Sun 24-Nov-13 00:04:17

A page that is easy to navigate. Simple but interesting with nothing to download. One that works well with apple and Microsoft.
One can that calculate savings with small changes such reducing phone bill would save you so much.
Mortgage predictor if paying off so much.
Easy input such household expenses, leisure expenses etc but then an option to define it further with breakdowns on actual spending.
Maybe an option to include a child's page to show them how long it would take to save for something or how much money they would have if saving. Obviously this would have to be very colourful and interactive for children to get the bug of saving.
Apart from the usual budgeting tools how about a saving calculator on petrol. W
If inputting postcode it could come up with cheapest fuel cost in area and also if inputting journeys, something that could show how much petrol spending on school runs, or local shops - how much you could save by not doing these journeys?

Twoplus1 Sun 24-Nov-13 08:47:09

I already use an excel spreadsheet but it would be good to have actual tool and maybe an app that I could use.

For me it would have to have all those regular payments I make on there like mortgage, gas, electric etc and be able to add how much that is. I look at my finances weekly but for the month so something that would accommodate that would be good and It would be great if my regular items populated the tool every month without me having to do it but also leave the the option to change the amounts.

It would be good to have income and expenditure on it but also have a tool to help work out how much pay I may expect if going on maternity leave again. For area' sit would be good to be able to split it into household, memberships, savings, other but maybe with the option to be able to give each section your own title.

It would have to be easy to use and come with a good user guide.

It would be good to be able to set your pay dates in it and when u want a new month to start as I get paid every 4 weeks My current spreadsheet it set for that.

RubySparks Sun 24-Nov-13 09:03:39

Call it a Financial Planner rathe than Budgeting tool, drag and drop should allow amounts to be moved between categories and add a 'tip of the day' so there is built in financial advice e.g have a no spend day, daily habits build up over time, the power of compound interest, paying mortgage down early.

Bluecarrot Sun 24-Nov-13 09:49:27

Id love a budgeting app that is linked to my cc. It would automatically add the shop name, date and amount onto my budgeting app but I could go in later and add details if I wanted eg the tesco £50 shop was actually £5 food, £20 gifts and £25 clothes.

I would also be able to photograph receipts for transactions I paid cash for and the app would automatically recognise the store and amount and add it in to the main tally.

I'd like to have "envelopes" to separate my spending money and app automatically deducts as appropriate. ( even better, if my banks savings account could be "pretend" divided into different savings goals eg holiday goal £1500. Allocated savings £750. 50% complete!" But this would be virtual and just for me to use. I prefer having my savings in one account rather than several small ones.

zimbamummy Sun 24-Nov-13 16:33:26

We currently use a plain Edexcel spreadsheet that we update every few months (a bit old school) but I really like the idea of having the ability to scan the bar codes of products I buy and these immediately being accounted for as others have suggested. A 1-3(?) year forecasting tool might also be useful which takes into account projected costs so you can think about future nursery fees / holidays etc.

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