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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 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


manzanillaplease Sat 16-Nov-13 14:57:49

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:

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.

wobblywindows Sat 16-Nov-13 20:25:42

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?


~ 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?

~ 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, 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 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 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 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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

LittleBallOfFur Wed 20-Nov-13 17:26:27

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.

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