How do you use goals?


Hi all,

A money management question.

I’m the first to admit I am not particularly good at money management. Despite recently getting a promotion and increasing my take-home salary by over £200/mo, I still feel like I hit the end of the month roughly at the same point. I want to continue to have a decent surplus at the end of the month.

I’m very keen to hear how you all utilise Goals to achieve your aims. I’ve seen people talk of having over ten different Goals and I want to understand how these people make Starling work for them, allowing me to steal all of your ideas.


for me, unless you can bind direct debits and standing orders to them, they are useless.

maybe for automatic round-up savings… oh, I forgot that doesn’t exist either


I haven’t really used goals with Starling, but do elsewhere.

I have a few.

One for bills, each month I put away enough to cover the basic bills, like gas, electric, water, phone, broadband, TV etc

One for car, so that will cover insurance, tax plus extra for servicing etc as and when that comes up

One for holiday, I save a set amount each month, so when it comes to booking a holiday the money is there

One for Emergencies, I put a set amount each month, not much, but it soon builds up.

One for Going out, each month on payday a set amount goes into the goal, and each time I transfer a set amount into my main account, so I only spend what I’ve transfered

One for Presents, each month a small amount is put away for birthdays, christmas etc

One just for savings, I put a bit in each month, when it gets a set amount, I transfer it to an account that has a minimum deposit amount which is high interest.


I create a goal for rent, mortgage, HMRC bills, money for the kids, all my main expenses and put money in there as soon as it arrives in my account. I then withdraw it on the day or the day before it is needed.


I use mine for annual bills. I have, amongst others, car insurance, car tax, bike tax, bike servicing etc.

I have divided the approximate cost for each bill by 12 and contribute that to each goal. (If only goals had a target, due date and payment frequency so it could figure out how much to automatically transfer)

When each bill is due I transfer the amount back to the main account for payment (if only I could allocate Direct Debits or card merchants to goals)

I’d love to use goals for monthly bills, but it’s too much hassle without DDs/Card payments/ Faster Payments from goals. As such I have my own application that runs on my server and uses the API to work out when each of my monthly payments is due (of the 3 types I just mentioned). It’s knows the due date and amount of each bill and then deducts my outstanding bill total from current balance to tell me how much disposable cash I have until payday.


I even considered putting a “please don’t complain about what goals can or cannot do” in the OP but thought maybe just for once Starling users may be able to just let that slide…


I wouldn’t let a chance like this pass by, sorry :wink:


Schedule £1 each day, manually round up and sweeping the account at the end of the month into a goal


@daedal @MIROW @Daesimpso

Thanks all for your input. It’s obviously very clear that they’re used in different ways but also apparent that they’re used in very similar ways! Ultimately it seems to come down to using one goal per significant outgoing.

Until joint accounts are a thing my other half and I have a joint legacy account (still working on getting her over to Starling!) for mortgage and bills, so that doesn’t go in my goals. Otherwise I just keep everything in my main account and spend without a care in the world!

Another question - do you manually move money across or have this set up as a scheduled payment?

@Cragmireuk I also have that set up but with £2. No manual round ups (too lazy) but could be interested in “sweeping” at the end of the month. Cheers.


I have mine set to transfer automatically into the goal. I know basically what needs to go into each goal each month, so that never changes. There is always a few extra pounds in each goal if a bill is slightly higher than expected.

When something is due, I just transfer it into the main account the day before from the relevant goal.


It’s scheduled for 1st of the month as I get paid on the last day of the month


I’m hoping for reverse scheduled payments out of goals or boomerang goal payments (pay £X into X goal until X date then return to main account).


when your card is coral you can use IFTTT to automate this juggling :wink:


I have goals set to long term, like everyone else, for annual things like car insurance, services, etc… I also have even longer term goals like house deposit and stuff…

But NONE of these goals have ANY money in them! :joy:

At the moment, like you have suggested, making the money get to the end of the month can sometimes seem like a challenge.

One thing I do is allow myself an amount per week for shopping, take aways, groceries, toiletries, etc etc, for example £65, and multiply it by the amount of weeks until I next get paid, like 4, then stick that amount in a goal… I then “release” my £65 back from my goal every week and refuse to allow myself to ever dip into future weeks. I normally have extra money that I can use too, which is fine, but if I go a bit mad with the extras at least I always know I’ve got that budget. And it also means that the dreaded “last week before payday” still has a minimum of £65 to get through.

I also do the same with fuel (£180 per payday) and one of the kids activities is £20 a week so I stick £80 in another.

It doesn’t really count as a “goal” unless my goal is to get by (which it really is!), but it still works for me and really helps with budgeting. As has been suggested elsewhere, a way of getting apply to schedule withdrawals from a goal also would actually be quite useful.


I’m using Goals for Savings and RoundUps.
For my savings goal I chuck a lump sum in their every month and then for the RoundUps I’ve got 2 processes:

£1 transferred every day automatically

Using the API I’ve got a script that rounds up the previous days transactions and transfers it into my RoundUps goal every day at 10am.

And I’ve also just got an Alexa skill that transfers an amount I ask to go into my savings goal.


I wish they had a webhooks library where you could enable things like this from other users. I want a roundup so I don’t have to do it manually.


That’s next on my to-do list. I’ve got the previous day’s transactions and round ups calculated but got too busy with other things before I sorted the code to do the transfer.


So, I’m going to be the exception here…

I do not use my Goals for keeping recurring payments/bills.

To me, the idea of a “Goal” is to have something you are looking forward to, something you want to save towards - It sounds ridiculous, but personalising the goal picture (recent holiday), encouraged me to keep topping it up with any spare money I had.

At the start of every month, I know what income we have, and I know what the rough outgoings will be (give or take). I then transfer absolutely everything else (minus a few hundred for random things that crop up), into a Goal (or Goals, if I’m saving for more than 1 thing).

I couldn’t be doing with moving money from a goal to my main account to cover a bill - That becomes a chore very quickly.

As for the automatic payments from Goals, again, I wouldn’t want this. I’d love automatic payments from somewhere, but I reckon they should create a new area “Bills” maybe - Somewhere that doesn’t muddy the picturesque view of “Goals”.

Who wants to see their boring Electricty “Goal” next to a Goal for an upcoming holiday?

So, the way we save…

Salaries come in… All money transferred into savings, minus scheduled payments and £200.

As the money is already saved, we are less likely to withdraw it - There are times when the £200 for random things doesn’t cover it (being truthful… this is pretty much every month), but we then only take what we need from the savings account.

It’s not a nice feeling withdrawing from a savings account, especially for something trivial, so it encourages you to do everything you can to keep it there.

Appreciate this wont work for some people, but it’s allowed us to save thousands without trying too hard.


I also don’t use Goals for anything other than regular saving or ringfencing an amount of money that will be needed at some point in the future.

I get paid on the last day of the month and all of my Direct Debits and Standing Orders come out on the 1st. I have money going into “Christmas” and “Rainy Day” Goals. I also put my daughter’s pocket money for the month into a Goal then drip feed it to her weekly - she can’t be trusted with getting it all at the start of the month! Anything that’s left is available to spend.

I have a Coin Jar Goal where I manually round up each transaction - got £26 in there now. I only do round-ups to the nearest pound - no rounding up to £5 or £10, no daily deposits and no sweeping. This effectively recreates my old actual coin jar where I just used to put my spare change.

I have two other Goals. One is “Income Tax” as I know I’ll have a tax liability come next April, so I’ve ringfenced that money now.

The last Goal I have set up is called “Overdraft Buffer”. I have £100 in there and it means that even if all my other Goals were empty, I effectively have an interest free buffer of £100 on my current account. (I had £250 interest free with Nationwide and it came in handy from time to time.)

Although I have no interest in paying DDs and SOs from Goals, I would find it handy to be able to move money out of a Goal and into my main balance on a schedule. For instance, I could move my daughter’s weekly pocket money out of the Goal each Monday. I do this manually at present.


@danmullen I’d be interested to know if reverse payments from goals into the main balance has been considered, it seems like an easy solution and would solve the DD issue and your pocket money. I’m not a developer though so it may be more complicated than it seems. @Harry has this ever been looked at?