This topic is for paid for discussions. Please mail us at insight@mumsnet.com if you'd like to know more about how they work.

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

My first thought is that working out what maternity pay is hardly rocket science - what matters to new mums, especially if it's their first child, is knowing how much child tax credit and other benefits (housing benefit? income support?) they will get whilst on maternity leave and then how much help they will get with childcare costs via working tax credit they will get if/when they return to work.

Hints if people are putting in implausibly large or small figures would be a good idea. So if people put in petrol costs, they should be reminded to also budget for insurance, car tax, servicing etc. This page is debt orientated, but notes some general things that people get wrong when they try to set up a budget: debtcamel.co.uk/snapshot/financial-summary/

I think people should be allowed to categorise their own expenditure. Having lots of lines for things yoiu never need (I don't smoke, use a gym, have Sky etc) makes it harder to focus on the ones you do, so if these could 'disappear' after the initial set up, that would be good.

If you want it to be used every day, it needs to be on an app.

I like YNAB.

ceeveebee Sat 16-Nov-13 15:03:41

I would like a tool that could somehow go through all my actual spending and use that to estimate future spending. So it would need to link to my credit card and my bank account. That would help me to work out what the hell I am spending my money on (or at least, which shops) and would pick up annual and quarterly dd which I always forget about

Ruby6918 Sat 16-Nov-13 15:10:24

The website needs to be very user friendly , no having to download things
It needs to be inviting, colorful and with plenty of easy option for browsing
people dont like to put personal financial info on line so an option to print out the budget planner is a must so it can be completed at home
clear concise numbers for contacting h m revenue and customs, citizens advice and other helpful numbers and other financial help organisations
A pregnancy planner would be great, so if you posted you due date you can follow what benefits and rights you have as the pregnancy progresses, say maternity grants, when you can go on maternity leave,
help through information as to save money at home, by recycling more, using vouchers, planning meals etc
Little or no Advertising
A sign up option so you can decide how often you want the information
Other member tips on maternity pay or financial advice when pregnant or a parent,
Advice on saving if planning a pregnancy, pregnant or for the childs future, tax free options, bonds etc
No hard sell tactics asking for phone numbers so sales teams can try to sell you insurance/mortgages/loans etc
Oh and an Audi TT for me,

ladygoingGaga Sat 16-Nov-13 20:21:09

I've been looking for the elusive perfect budgeting tool. It needs to be clever so it knows what are regular monthly payments, it produces averages to show for instance how much cash you take out.

Then more importantly it needs to separate expenditure, for instant I spent £39 at Tesco today, food, but also lottery, Xmas present. So what category does it go under..

Also an app on your phone to account for cash expenditure, I take £50 out and can't account for where its gone a week later, however if I could 'scan' my purchases by barcode to categorise my cash outlays.

SteamWisher Sat 16-Nov-13 20:24:20

Yes definitely link to current spending somehow. So the ability to code your expenditure when doing online banking then that feeds into the budgeting tool. Eg code "f" for groceries, "p" for petrol with tick boxes so when you download it, the tool can filter.

I like something which would be compatible with smart phones. Doesn't have to be an app, but could be used on say my iPhone without silly formatting on the website.

I'd like the ability to plot graphs so I can see progress in cutting costs.

Also like the ability to set targets for a budget or savings, then see how cutting expenditure helps meet that target.

Having the ability to calculate post tax income also useful eg link to "listentotaxman" website. Useful for thinking of switching jobs or going part time.

I currently track my expenditure in Excel: weekly columns, 13 weeks to a spreadsheet. Top half is outgoings, bottom half of the page incoming; in the middle is total incoming, total outgoing, and what's left. It covers about 80% of what I need from a budgeting app.

~ how often I use this varies through the month: near payday I will check /update it every day or so, then mid-month things are quieter & I only update the food spends.

I would like - to be able to update spending using my smartphone ie an app that links back to the main document. So type in 'Tesco, £15' and it gets added into the weekly food spend.
-to have direct debits auto generated onto the sheet instead of having to enter each month manually. I guess most apps will do this already.
-to have reminders sent to my smartphone a few days before direct debits /s.o. are due to leave account, to give me time to get money transferred if necessary.
I already have the bank auto-alert me when balances drop low.*

My daughter -from her usage of a different app - would like her bank to send an email alert when unplanned charges are generated (for missed things) with the amount & date the charges will be taken out and the option to log this.*
* starred items are bank generated so unlikely to be built-in to your app.

For each of outgoings, I'd like to be able to pull up a note of the consequences if I am late with the payment. Some are severe, some not. This will help when I have to decide which bill can be delayed by a few days, and which can't be moved.

~ what would make a tool like this an absolute lifesaver? Ha!
An app that identifies when you are going to incur charges, and warns you with enough time to avoid them! The pinch points, the 'close things'. For those of us who don't have an overdraft or a mum that's handy with money.

tinypumpkin Sat 16-Nov-13 20:42:22

~ 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?

Links with my phone (windows) as well as the PC/laptop.

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

Maybe monthly. I keep a keen eye on our bank account via the internet any way.

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

Flexible options, we don't all have the same salary each month (neither DH nor I do). most budget systems don't allow for this.

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

No.

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

Insurances, salaries, food, clothes (children/us), petrol, car related things (tax), etc

NothingMoreScaryThanAHairy Sat 16-Nov-13 20:55:20

I want a budgeting tool that isn't linked to my bank account (paranoid muchhmm)

I don't want it stored on a cloud but on my computer where only I have access to it.

Maybe that's not a modern and forward thinking idea but until I can find something that does this (like my handy notebook) I won't be using one! (and in all honesty I would really like to use one to update it each year and review how our spending patterns have changed <sad> grin)

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 16-Nov-13 21:28:06

I'd like to be able to scan receipt barcodes and the contents of my purchases to be allocated to supermarket, clothes etc. For my bank statement debit and credit card payments to consolidate with the scanned receipts and show total spend by category (categories I would allocate like utilities, food, clothes, eating out, petrol, school, loan, mortgage, saving etc).

As the current trend for payment by phone and contact less payment inevitably grows these could also go straight to budgeting app.

I'd like the app to be able to show me average spend, peeks and troughs in my spending year, forecasting facilities for budgeting for predictable annual expenses like insurances and car servicing/ mot.

I'd like it to have a rolling twelve months rather than jan to jan.

I'd use it without thinking daily but delve into it monthly. It'd be good to be able to set flags to tell you if you've hit typical monthly spend in a month or if you overspend a category. This could help highlight overpayments. Also you could set flags for unrecognised/ categorised payments in a month - a list you could quickly scan that excludes all your usual debits.

I don't know of any decent budgeting tools available now. A rather complex excel spreadsheet is my current system but integrating my bank statement etc takes time so its more of a quick skim read/ manual edit than automated in the way it ought to be able to.

I do a fair few surveys and I'm aware that this is an area that others are currently working on to - hopefully something good will come out of it due to the pressure of competition.

sharond101 Sat 16-Nov-13 21:38:00

I'd like it to be able to tell me the cost of my meals as I mealplan. I would like it to work out an average daily/weekly/monthly spend. I'd like to have access to it on my mobile so I can type in/scan receipts as I spend money so as I can add up all the small things you forget about. I'd like it to forecast my savings for the future based on the current money in/money out ratio.

Punkatheart Sat 16-Nov-13 23:47:36

~ 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 problem is - the word budget. If you could respin that and make it sound less dull and oppressive, you would be on to a winner.

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

Once or twice, at most.

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

Easy to read and navigate. No frills.

~ have you used anything similar elsewhere? What makes it good and what would you improve about it?
No

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

Blimey - it's a minefield. Food, rent/mortgage etc

telsa Sun 17-Nov-13 12:00:08

I would use a tool like this every month or so, when wages come in. I would want a really good analysis of where my money goes and links to places that might suggest better deals or ways of cutting.mi would like it to show when the pressure points are and if there would be a more logical way or spacing DDs and SOS.
Categorizing spending by type....food, children, leisure, clothes, bills etc would be useful.
Also showing interest charges in major loans and options for spreading or concentrating the borrowing period would be helpful.
It would be nice to have incentives to use it....vouchers, spot prizes and so on. Otherwise I probably would not bother, as I know what I have and know where I can save.

Willemdefoeismine Sun 17-Nov-13 12:05:59

I would like a tool that would track spending patterns and try to help me address the "it's the last few days of the month and I've got no money left to spend" scenario. I am not really a spendthrift, but it does usually happen that as we head towards payday, I have to be ultra-careful with the household account. Perhaps something which makes one think twice about making that must-have purchase when not do so would mean available funds at the end of the month.

Also something which might point out financial expenditure weaknesses -like the quick lunches/coffees when out and about.... - which could easily be addressed!

I think I would like this tool to be ongoing.....

Yikes it would have to be categorised by non-negotiable expenditure (such as all the household bills) vs 'flexible/negotiable' expenditures (the treat side of life!)

kateandme Sun 17-Nov-13 15:48:17

having different catorgories for different expenditure.like a easy to use spreadhseet.
it would need my total available finance and then work out into each catorgory where its going.a running total.a calendar tool to flick to see what coming perhaps.so you could have your main account with all the figures in.
then an easier to see and layed out calender of all the things on,then links on each day or bit of info so you can go in to see more of this calendar occurance.
email alerts perhaps.
a section of just help and support for budgeting,with info for budgeting but places to go if you need more help.
a forum.this would be helpful for many things.support and also finding out twheres the best buys.
you could have a best buys for budgeting with banks,shopping,food,holiday etc.
a calculator tool.
a compare tool for each cotorgory to find the best deals.
an app.
feeling secure but not daunted layout,.you dont want to be dreading going onto a grey business set out website.

mindlessmama Sun 17-Nov-13 19:41:11

Something that seperates things that go in and out consistently month after month and those things that go in and out as a one off during that time.
Grids/tables/excel sheets do not appeal to everyone. Personally I see things better with different colours for each section.
Something easy to access but with secure settings. Would probably use it once or twice a week.
Something that joint account holders can share, add to or view.
Hth!

CrewElla Sun 17-Nov-13 22:07:25

I currently use an Excel spreadsheet - one tab per month, total of money coming in and then running total subtracting each expenditure. I haven't ever used anything fancier than this.

I could use something that keeps a running total of where my money is going, e.g. energy, food, petrol, child care, etc.

I would also appreciate hints and tips, ways to save & things to think about (holidays, education, insurance, etc.) This feature should be optional.

CheeseTMouse Mon 18-Nov-13 16:08:58

As a new mother the thing I found hardest was knowing what the costs of a baby were actually going to be. Yes, I knew I needed to budget for nappies etc into our shopping, but I had no idea how much it was likely that the baby would get through until she was here. So to make this useful to people ahead of having a baby I think there is something useful to do about estimating the day to day costs associated with having a child in advance.

BlackberrySeason Mon 18-Nov-13 18:30:10

I know this is probably beyond this tool, but I would like something that covered the impact of maternity leave and part time work / being a sahm on pension pot.

Theimpossiblegirl Mon 18-Nov-13 19:49:02

I would like to be able to personalise it, add birthday, anniversaries etc. and for it to be really easy to use.
I'm not that good at budgeting but am getting better. I'd use it at least once a week so categories for expenditure including breaking the supermarket shop into food, cleaning products, luxuries etc.
And while I'm asking, text alerts when I hit certain levels in my bank account: "You have £100 left in your account and 6 days til payday and £x going out in direct debits" type of thing.

BitchinInTheKitchen Mon 18-Nov-13 21:21:04

For me, the main thing is that it shouldn't take too long to set up. I've tried a few budget tools but they all seem so clunky that they take forever to set up.

I'd like a setup wizard that asks you basic questions about your finances to build a basic set up and then lets you add the refinements in from there.

So questions that cover all the main outgoings (rent, mortgage, utilities, insurances), then some that cover the annual outgoings (say car tax?) then from there allow you to add in the smaller ones later.

Each item should be able to be input as a one off, for 'x' number of months or as a recurring monthly expense, and ideally have a 'skip this month' option too.

nobalance Tue 19-Nov-13 08:07:52

I'd like a spreadsheet set up that will allow me to easily track spending - including different categories of spending (and ability for me to set what they are), amounts in different accounts (so linking spending page with which account money being spent from / going in to etc) - to make it easy to keep track of finances and see exactly where everything is being spent.

Include a running total showing where on track with annual budget would be useful.

Ability to put things into the budget as annual / weekly / monthly / one off amounts

10thingsihateaboutpoo Tue 19-Nov-13 18:34:45

I already have a budget on excel, I initial did one for our wedding, then buying our first house then first baby and it's evolved over the years into one comprehensive budget that covers everything from outgoings/salaries/long terms savings/savings for other things like holidays/new cars etc. It's quite complicated but I know it inside out.

Lots of running totals is very useful. I love to be able to adjust a figure (eg see what would happen to the figures if I stopped work/changed hours etc or one of us got a different job) and it adjusts everything automatically.

A graph or piechart or two in funky colours also helps!! :-)

Bubbles85 Wed 20-Nov-13 17:17:03

I think I would use this a couple of times a month. I would like to be able to input as much or as little detail as I want depending on how much time I have and for it to still give me a sensible response. It would be good to have an option of choosing large categories such as groceries or dividing it up further as to types of food bought.

We use a google docs spreadsheet, which is great as both me and my husband can edit it at the same time, at any time. I'd be concerned about using a tool with a bank if there's a chance I'd move banks and then not be able to access it anymore, so something independent of an account would be best.

Our budget spreadsheets show 3 months on one tab so we can plan ahead. We've set it up as a basic p&l with income at the top, expenditure and surplus calculated automatically.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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 .

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

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.

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!

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.

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!

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

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>

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.

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

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

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.

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!

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!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now