Get financially fit with the click of a mouse

You can learn about managing your finances without paying for it.

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Reliable free online financial courses show that you can learn how to save money in a couple of clicks.

Times Money has created a list of three most useful options to learn more about your financial capabilities online without paying.

The Open University: Finance Fundamentals

The best provider of free online education on finance is the Open University that has created a set of three courses to help you establish financially. They are included in Finance Fundamentals trilogy: Managing My Money includes 8 lessons, Managing My Investments includes 6, and Managing My Financial Journey includes only 4.

There is one class for a week, it takes you three hours to pass and a bit of extra time to go through a test at the end of the lesson. The classes include video messages, diagrams, useful links – everything for you to study at your convenience. The tutors talk to the students and explain everything they don’t understand about pension, household budget, mortgage, etc.

Martin Upton, the director of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance, which sponsors the OU’s program, says: “When we started putting these courses together, we thought maybe we would have possibly 4,000 people taking them over a couple of years, but the number of registrations is over 125,000. It has clearly touched a financial nerve.”

One of the aims of the program is to encourage people to think about what Mr Upton calls the “essential non-essentials” for a comfortable retirement. He says: “Everybody knows you’re going to have to cover household bills and food shopping, but what are the things that would make retirement enjoyable, like gym membership, golf club membership, and the ability to go on holiday.” According to the centre, 57 per cent of those who completed the follow-up survey after the “Managing My Money” course said that they were financially better off as a result. Four in ten respondents said they had not received any personal finance education before registering and very few had received guidance on money matters as part of their school education.

ALISON: Financial literacy course
ALISON (alison.com) offers a money matters course divided into seven modules. It aims to improve your understanding of insurance products, the housing market, government benefits, tax and consumer rights, and how best to plan for retirement. The course takes between six and ten hours.

Money Management : International Webinars
You can register for a selection of webinars which are streamed live on moneymanagement.org and last for about an hour. Different topics are covered each week so it’s a case of checking for the ones that interest you. There are also ebooks, podcasts and quizzes to give you a clearer sense of your financial health.

Studies show that many adults in the UK struggle with basic arithmetic and, therefore, the ability to manage their finances effectively. Mike Ellicock, the chief executive of National Numeracy, a charity that works to improve maths skills and awareness, says that 78 per cent of the population are below the equivalent of a C grade at maths GCSE and need help to make good financial choices.

Financial education has been on the secondary school national curriculum since September 2014 after a campaign spearheaded by the Personal Finance Education Group (Pfeg), part of the charity Young Enterprise. Organisations such as Young Enterprise and MyBnk.com, another financial education charity, offer a range of online tools to support personal finance skills teaching in schools, including a Money Marathon game where students are quizzed on the concepts of saving, borrowing and interest.

Free personal finance apps
● MoneyHub (Android and iOS) This app gathers live transaction data from your current and savings accounts, loans, credit cards and investments. It tracks your progress in meeting financial goals, and includes calculators for taxes, pensions, savings, house prices and net worth.
● Toshl Finance (Android and iOS) You can set up bill reminders and export your expense reports into PDF, Excel and Google Docs. The budget keeper compares the rate of your spending over the month.
● OnTrees Personal Finance (Android and iOS)Owned by MoneySupermarket.com, OnTrees lets you view your bank accounts in one place. It divides your spending into colour-coded categories such as eating out, groceries and utility bills, making it a useful for anyone assessing their monthly budget.

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