Budgeting – There has never been a better time to start

In times past, keeping track of your finances and budgeting could really be a chore. Checking statements or logging into multiple bank, credit card, and store card accounts, then collating the data into a spreadsheet, or even just into a notebook. It was time consuming, fiddly, easy to make mistakes, and hard to get a full picture. Luckily, in the last few years, new innovation, regulation and technology has emerged that can make it all far easier, and even fun.

Open Banking:

One of the biggest reasons that all of the apps that make budgeting easier are possible is Open Banking. In 2015, the European Parliament issued a directive that aimed to open up the European finance industry to innovative new technologies. The UK was the first country that took up the baton, and in 2016 the UK financial regulators stated that all of the large banking providers had to give access to customer transaction details to licensed Fintech providers (upon the request of the customer of course). In 2018 this came into force, and by 2020 there were over 200 of these new companies operating in this area.

The way that it works is that if a customer requests that their bank gives access to a particular app/product, then the app can then get all of the transaction data, and can then do analysis on this data. This becomes particularly powerful when the customer connects several bank accounts, credit card providers and other financial institutions into one budgeting app – as it then allows the customer to essentially see their entire financial life in one place, which is a fantastic tool for budgeting.

There are many categories of app that utilize Open Banking, but below we focus on 2 – budgeting apps, and saving & investing apps.

Budgeting Apps:

Given that Open Banking is so perfect for budgeting apps, it is not surprising that many companies have entered the market. Indeed, some apps have already been and gone, such as Yolt, which closed down last year, and Cleo, which recently left the UK market to concentrate on the USA. There are still many options to choose from however.

Money Dashboard:

The budgeting app with the longest history, Money Dashboard have been around since 2011, and have over 600,000 users in the UK. They are a completely free app, and allow you to connect multiple financial institutions to the app and then see a unified budget across all of your providers.


Moneyhub costs a mere £0.99 per month or £9.99 per year, and allows you to fully integrate all your accounts within their app and analyse the data.


Emma are a newer entrant to the market, having launched in 2018. They aim to take a gamified approach to budgeting that makes budgeting fun. The basic version of the app is free, but they also have paid versions that have extra features such as the ability to calculate your net worth. 


Snoop are also a newer entrant onto the budgeting scene, having launched in 2020. They have a similar suite of budgeting tools available as on the other apps, but also offer Checkers, which analyse your spending on key categories such as energy, broadband and insurance, and suggest other providers who may save you money.

You can see a more detailed summary of the best budgting apps here. (https://www.wiseabout.money/best-budgeting-app-take-control-of-your-money/)

Saving & Investing Apps:

The budgeting apps are a great way to manage your finances. However, once you have organized things, and identified ways to save money, what can you then do with those savings to grow your wealth?

That is where saving and investment apps come in. They also utilize open banking to analyse your spending, and then suggest an amount you can easily afford to save. They then offer savings accounts, and easy to use investment funds and ISAs which are perfect for beginner investors.


Plum was launched in 2016, and since then has utilized Open Banking to facilitate their product. It is based around their algorithm, which analyses your spending and calculates an amount which you can comfortably save, and then moves it automatically into your Plum account. They then have savings and investments that you can put your saved funds into.


The central concept behind Moneybox is that they aim to be like an actual moneybox. Using Open Banking, they use their Round-Ups function to round up all of your spending to the nearest pound, and then move these funds from your bank into your Moneybox automatically. The idea is that you can save without even noticing. You can also set other regular or one off payments to go into Moneybox. Once the funds are there, you can choose to put your money into one (or more) of their many savings accounts, investment funds and ISAs.

App based Banks:

Another option if you wish to have more budgeting tools at your disposal, but you want to do it all within your bank account, is to look at some of the app based banks that have been growing fast over the past few years.

These will offer you various options to separate out different areas within your account. For instance you can ensure that your money for bills or subscriptions is automatically ringfenced from your spending money, so you can’t accidentally spend it.

Starling Bank:

Starling Bank allow you to create Spaces within your account, with which you can separate your money. You can also get spending insights which categorise all of your spending.


Monzo had attracted an impressive 5 million customers to their platform by early 2021. They have a variety of budgeting tools, from Pots, which allow you to separate the funds in yoru account into different areas, Salary Sorter, which distributes your salary automatically into your Pots, and the ability to set monthly budgets for all of your different spending areas.

Overall, the 2020s are fast becoming the best time to be looking to budget and manage your finances – which, in an ever more complicated financial world, can be a fantastic benefit to anyone looking to take back control of their money.

Wiseabout.money (https://www.wiseabout.money) brings you reviews, comparisons, best of lists and more related to personal finance in the UK.