Budgeting: the good, the bad and the ugly?

Hi All,

Firstly, I wanted to kick off this category with a bit more information on what it’s for. In a similar way to the broader community here, we’d love to see this category being used as a means of sharing valuable information and resources with others. In practice that means any interesting articles on the topic of personal finance, FinTech apps you’ve come across and liked (or disliked!) or hot topics in the news that may be of interest to others on this forum.

To kick off the conversation, I’d like to get a thread going around the topic of Budgeting. As the name suggests, personal finance is something that varies greatly for all of us, and one of the challenges we have as app developers is developing a solution that caters to a large audience whilst also giving you the support and flexibility you need. We know we’ve done a reasonably good job so far based on the user base we’ve built up in the last few years, but we’re putting a lot of focus on how we simplify budgeting as a principle to help as many people as possible so that Money Dashboard can scale.

I’d love to know - are there any particular frameworks (50/30/20, envelope, rollover budgeting etc) you’ve adopted in the past that you found most useful? Have you read any articles or books that have changed your mindset towards budgeting?


I personally think the easier the better.

  1. Start from what you get every month after tax in your bank account (if your current job is stable).
  2. Then add a simple line “rent” because you can’t get away from it and doesn’t really change.
  3. Add another bucket “recurrent outgoings” which might include electricity, heating, council tax, mobile phone contract, broadband, Netflix…This is pretty standard every month. But you can improve it by switching providers or cancelling it completely.
  4. Finally give yourself 3 or 4 more buckets and say how much you spend on each i.e
    • Groceries
    • Going out Restaurant/Bar/Entertainment
    • Stuff for you, for home
      And try to reduce those month by month.
  5. Last bit should show how much you can save aside for your future or a treat.

I belie all of these can be achieved with MoneyDashboard @sean, but it would help if you were giving a storyline like this to help people changing and getting better at this. As right now it feels very informative with loads of graphs.

Hope that constructive feedback helps. And wonder what others think.

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MoneyDashboard - Budgeting

First let me describe my financial position.

  • Used technology to monitor and manage my family finances for more that 30 years. It’s actually become almost a hobby!
  • Evolving from spreadsheets to Personal Finance applications on MS Windows and for the last 10 years on Mac OSX and I0S.
  • Input and check all transactions on a daily basis
  • Based on years of experience I am able to set budgets for individual Tags/Categories with great accuracy
  • Retired in 2001, so only income is through Pension Income and Investments.
  • No need for Envelope budgeting
  • Very little variance in Income and Expenses from year to year.

The Budget features I would like to see are:

  • Both Annual and Monthly budget setting option, e.g. a Bill or Groceries is a Monthly Budget, whilst Enjoyment/Holidays is an Annual budget.

  • Ability to choose to set a rollover for each budget line as appropriate, e.g. Groceries would be a Monthly rollover, but Utility Bills would not be for me.

  • Ability to set the start Month of the Fiscal period, e.g. for me I start my budget year from April as this is when my Pension income changes each year, and is pretty much aligned to the Tax Year, albeit for a few days.

  • The ability to Export Budget data into a spreadsheet for further analysis or retention.


I second the idea to view budgets at an annual level. The six month window is great, but I’d like to see how much I have left in the ‘pot’ over a given period, be it a week, month or year.

As an example, I save/budget for holidays throughout the year. But with the current view, when it comes time to pay up, I lose sight of whether I’ve done enough from the current budget view on MD.

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Reading all the comments above - it seems that people are asking for a working version of the “bunker” described in the Webinar I gave back in March/April for you. Being able to save for costs that are not monthly - holiday, car insurance etc. Starling for example have pots to put money in which is great but on an ongoing basis it would be great to have a system where you can see the rollover from a nonspend. EG: I save £20/ month for clothes. Starting from Jan, by end march I have £60. Ist April I spend £40, but also put £20 back in taking it up to £40. Being able to manage that would be awesome. Also - I budget £400 for food/m. Jan I spend £380 - so I can roll over £20 to Feb. Happy days. Hope this is helpful.


I’ve just joined here from a YNAB (You Need A Budget) background and I have to admit I do like their philosophy “Give every pound a purpose”, I may be paraphrasing there.

but I think it’s based on the “rollover” model. At the start of each month I’m allocating like £70 to coffee, £150 fuel, £200 food shopping etc then at the end of the month I’m setting up the same for the next month but moving any leftover to a “pot” for savings or “wee treat” as I like to call it.
It also allows me to allocate £14\month to a “christmas” pot that rolls over to get me prepped from December.

If the budget in MoneyDashboard allows me to do that then Ideal!!!


I second this. YNAB is the budgeting app to emulate.


I used to use YNAB, and although I love their philosophy of allocating all the money you have actually received for a particular purpose, I found the REQUIREMENT to budget at the start of every month overwhelming.

I very much support the idea of a rolling budget (i.e. I can allocate £xx per month towards Christmas / Birthday / ad hoc gift occasions, and build up that budget through the year). Budgeting for the predictably unexpected (car repairs, boiler repairs, etc.) is also invaluable. A budget that only accounts for the regular and predictable is of very limited real world value.

On the other hand, I do like the ability to also use a FinApp as a historical record (i.e. to comment about WHAT it was that I bought for the household from Amazon or John Lewis), or to note that the payment to a website that I didn’t recognise, but had categorised as Transport actually turned out to be our Breakdown cover. That’s useful if I can search for “cooker hood filters” to find out where I bought them and what I paid for them.

Being able to add notes on the mobile app (Android in my case), and download the data complete with comments is just as important to me as Budgeting.