When we’re at school, we learn maths, English, science, and whole bunch of humanity subjects. But apart from the occasional PSHE day, there’s little in the way of real-life lessons. This means that many kids leave school with very low awareness of how finances work and what good financial management looks like. While some may believe this kind of education should be down to the parents, a lot of adults also struggle to build a good relationship with money.

There are online tools, like the Money Advice Service which provides articles, calculators, and how-to guides with the sole aim of improving your financial literacy. There are also money advice experts who produce free content and some banks even provide tutorials to demonstrate how online banking works and the features that could help you manage your money.

We’re not financial advisors and it’s difficult to give specific suggestions without knowing your exact circumstances, but there are some general day-to-day things you can do to increase your financial literacy and learn more about money.

Easy Tips to Increase your Financial Understanding

  • Sign up to money saving advice emails for easy and effortless access to tips about saving money. The emails often include voucher codes which could make your weekly food shop cheaper, free trial suggestions and advice on applying for the correct benefits or tax credits, among other useful pieces of information.
  • Read your bank’s weekly newsletter emails. They might contain mortgage advice, loan tips, and even offers like £50 cashback if you take out house insurance with your bank, although remember to always do your research first as you might find a quote that’s more than £50 cheaper elsewhere. Usually, these information pieces will also contain any new updates or features being introduced to your normal banking services which you might find useful.
  • Talk to friends and family. People often underestimate the value of discussion and sharing ideas. Your friends don’t have to be financial gurus, but sometimes hearing their money saving tips or if they’ve recently switched bank accounts for rewards can be enough to inspire you to do the same.

We as a nation are very private when it comes to money and financial habits but it’s not always a good thing. We’re not suggesting you blast your financials on a megaphone every Saturday morning, but just having quiet discussions with trusted friends or family can really help you increase your awareness for the different financial products around – plus you might also instil some wisdom on them.

Of course, these are just quick tips that should take no more than 5 minutes a day, but if you want to get really financially savvy, there are so many free resources online that can help you. In-depth research might only take 30 minutes, and can be especially helpful if you’re looking into something specific like first time buyer mortgages or whether you can save money with a packaged bank account.

If you prefer discussing things in person or over the phone, you can usually call your bank or other service provider and ask questions about the service and the different financial plans available. Most annual insurance covers, for example, will have options to pay monthly instead of in one lump sum which might be much more affordable for you, and means you don’t have to put the payment on a credit card.

Whatever you’re researching, always make sure the source is reputable so as not to consume false information or articles that are only relevant in a different country. There are several UK government-run websites and webpages, so these are a good place to start.

Financial wisdom: passing it on to your children

Start conversations about money with kids early – once they understand the concept of numbers, they will start to understand the concept of money. It’s not necessary to drill financial advice into them, but it’s good to get them clued up on the value of things and this can be done quite easily. For example, if you give your child 20p a day to spend on what they want, you could also tell them that if they save each 20p for a week, they’ll have £1.40 to spend on what they want. They will probably view it as a game, but it ignites ideas about saving and value which they can build upon as they grow up.

For older kids, whether they receive pocket money or they do a paper round to earn their own wages, start talking to them about the benefits of earning cash and how to save money. Older teens can be difficult to talk to about serious matters, so keep the conversations casual. They may be thinking about opening a current account, so maybe suggest they open a savings account too. Even if you aren’t brilliant at budgeting and saving yourself, having little and often conversations about money can go a long way to increasing everyone’s financial literacy.