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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

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 29-Nov-13 11:23:02

Thank you from the team at Barclays for all the amazing insight etc: it's really useful for them going forward.

Pleased to say the winner of the £200 John Lewis voucher is.... TiredDog - well done!

Spirael Thu 28-Nov-13 22:36:12

~ 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?
The ability to easily import data from various different accounts from different providors, and to have it correctly identify the different categories of purchases with minimal training, would be very helpful. I'd also like it to be available in various places/ways. Like the family calendar, that is integrated with phones, tablets and able to be accessed via the PC. I don't mind the odd advert or two... But for gods sake not animated and definitely not with any sound!

~ how often would you like to use a tool like this? Every week/ day, just once or twice, or monthly?
I'd probably check it once a week or so. My financially obsessive DH (he is an accountant...) would probably check it hourly!

~ what should it look like? What sort of options would you like to have covered?
Clean, modern, corporate. No comic sans or rainbow colours or similar. I'd want to check it at work and not look like I'm doing anything other than my job!
An option to produce charts would be nice, as would the ability to set targets.

~ have you used anything similar elsewhere? What makes it good and what would you improve about it?
No, but I haven't really looked. I tend to let DH handle the family finances, because it's his area of expertise and he does so love pouring over a complex spreadsheet. wink

~ what areas would you like it to cover? How do you categorize your expenditure/ income?
Not really sure... DH's area!

AndHarry Thu 28-Nov-13 21:45:08

- Something that would keep the dates of direct debits as well as the amounts would be fantastic. I just keep forgetting. I'd also like to be able to keep track of where money has already gone during the month as well as what's still to come out.

- I'd use it every few days.

- I'd love to see a coloured bar representing my total budget for the month, with sections greyed out every time a direct debit or other payment is made.

- I've used paper-based tools but they're not flexible enough. Not everyone is paid at the end of the month either so my 'month' actually runs from the 24th-23rd.

- My expenditure is roughly split into bill payments, childcare, food, petrol and spending money.

i would want something that had seperate areas for household spending and personal. it would be nice to get advice. i want it to be clear and easy to use as this would encourage me rather than put me off. it could give advice on saving or hints and tips. i would like if it would update correllating to what is going in and out of my bank account in some way. i think if if gave stats would be good like you have spent x amount or x percent of your personal budget on magazines/wine etc

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 28-Nov-13 17:55:25

Thanks for all the suggestions so far....last chance now to add your comment before we close this off tomorrow at 9amish thanks

Forgot to add,

It would need to be an app that was compatible with all platforms. I'd access it maybe 2 times a week. If you could add it into the Barclays online banking app that would be ace.

I'm quite trusting of banks, I'd like to set it up to connect with my debit card and DP's debit card so when the card is use it goes straight into a budget sheet and categorises it for me <lazy>

I need one of these in my life! It would definitely need to be an app and I would access it at least once a week, probably more - I would use it on my commute to work. It would be good if it had alerts so if say a electricity tariff has dropped price elsewhere, it could alert me to it or if a grocery I bought regularly was on special offer, it could draw my attention to this and help save me money. Ability to project into the future would also be useful

MollyBerry Wed 27-Nov-13 18:12:58

A tool that links to all my bank accounts and also notifies me of things like savings rates ending please!

LegoCaltrops Wed 27-Nov-13 17:36:28

I'd like something that would enable me to go through my last month / two months outgoings & mark them so I could categorize them. eg fixed outgoings (rent, anything else I'm in a contract for); non-fixed but essential outgoings I could look to negotiate with the provider; other essential expenses eg groceries; non-essential expenses like clothes & holidays; & other stuff like going for a coffee every week - not any more! blush It would be helpful to be able to see how much I was spending each month on each category, & therefore how much I could save if I was more careful with things.

Would be good if it was available on an app as well as downloadable to print off as a hard copy - I have a banking app & it's a big weight off my mind that I can check my balance at any time. I'm sure it helps me spend less & be smarter with my money.

fossil971 Wed 27-Nov-13 13:26:28

I think a bit of "wizard" for initial set up would help. With suggested categories but the chance to rename them. Normally faced with budgeting tools its a spreadsheet with a load of headings I can't be bothered to change.

It could work out an estimate of benefits/tax credits for you

It could be easy to link to the electronic downloads of your bank statement. BTW it is NOT helpful that Barclays only have a small number of transactions that you can download from online banking, and it takes quite a lot of manipulation to put them into my money programme.

It would learn your regular bills and note from your bank statement that you'd paid them

It would remind you that you are going to spend X on clothes this month and save Y for holidays etc

Not exclusive to people with a Barclays account (although we have one)

Totally agree with having an app

Thanks!

BooMeowson Wed 27-Nov-13 13:20:15

We don't use a budgeting tool - instead we keep track on what we do spend so a budgeting tool would be useful.

It would be nice to have an "ideal" figure and a "realistic" figure that you can compare to an actual spend... With the aim of being able to keep track on watching your realistic budgeting amount lesson over time to eventually match the "ideal" figure.

I really struggle with budgeting because I can't bring myself to budget the truthful amount, of say £30 of takeaways a week - so I budget £10... and always overspend blush

So having a way of tracking towards an ideal figure (I'm not quite sure how to go about it) with a timeline of say 3 months - might make budgeting a bit more realistic and useful for me.

NettleTea Tue 26-Nov-13 12:54:34

linked to the bank account so it keeps a track of what is coming in and out
something that compares prices before a purchase, maybe using a scan function, so if its cheaper in a nearby outlet
alerts if you are near your limits

Meanderer Tue 26-Nov-13 11:57:18

~ 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?

would be great if I could somehow link it to my online bank account, tell it for regular items how to categorise them, then fiddle with the details if any needed correcting.

It should include an 'average spend over last 12 months' column for each item, that updates every month. Also maybe a 'target spend' column so you know how much you have left?

~ 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?

simple. no ads/pop ups

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

made my own but a bit clunky

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

spends - i categorise food, travel, different bills, mortgage, petrol a special line for mine/myDPs 'spending' (we pay wages/benefits into a joint account and each get an equal allowance from it) and a 'big items' line that we get an average for the year .

Cherryjellybean Mon 25-Nov-13 20:34:12

I'd like a budgeting tool that you could set how much you want to spend per month on something, and it tells you how much you have left to spend on that thing eg, on petrol etc. aswell as how much you have spent.
I'd want it linked to my current account, and I'd want an app, so I could check things when out.
I tested 'ontrees' which another poster mentioned, which was a very clear website. I liked how simple that site was.

SolomanDaisy Mon 25-Nov-13 15:01:30

I'd like a budgeting tool that made it easy to compare lots of different options. For example, oneo that could compare going back to work with staying at home without doing everything twice.

pussinwellyboots Sun 24-Nov-13 22:46:44

I'd personally like something along the lines of a financial version of my fitness pal where you could input monthly budget and track spending to.give an instant snapshot of how you're doing. it would also.align things with on line bank account and between computer and mobile however I would envisage day to.day use to.be on a mobile phone app but to look at things in more detail monthly on the computer. there is a big gap for a good personal.finance software package in the UK market so.I don't use anything at present beyond an excel spreadsheet.

TiredDog Sun 24-Nov-13 17:31:03

what would make a tool like this an absolute lifesaver? I already use one and love it so I'm not sure I'd describe anything new as a life saver (sorry)

What would just be a plain old nuisance? Not being able to link accounts so action in one automatically updated the other - crashing database, offline or loss of info

What would you include in the perfect online budgeting tool? What could you do without? As above - multiple accounts automatically programmed so work inputting any data is minimal

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

what should it look like? What sort of options would you like to have covered? Minimal! Works on every tablet/pc etc

have you used anything similar elsewhere? What makes it good and what would you improve about it? Yes Money by Microsoft. It's just very easy to use - initial set up is quick and user friendly. I would make the columns narrower because I usually minimise the window and have it open alongside my account online - quick skim comparison. Job done (columns can be a bit of a struggle to shrink to fit sometimes)

What areas would you like it to cover? How do you categorize your expenditure/ income? I keep it simple so I don't categorise. I don't feel I'm missing any tools

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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