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Managing My Money for the Just About Managing


Money Advice Service
What Works Fund

Total value of project


Value to Coventry University


Project team

Professor Sally Dibb, Dr Lindsey Appleyard, Dr Helen Roby, Dr Hussan Aslam


The Open University (Lead)


Community Action Milton Keynes

Duration of project

01/02/2017 - 30/04/2018

Money Advice Service logo

Project overview

Being financially capable can significantly improve an individual’s ability to make good financial decisions. Through this project in collaboration with the Open University, we explored the potential for education-based interventions to increase people’s financial motivation and generate more positive financial behaviours. 

Working with people in low-to-moderate income households, we developed and used teaching materials to improve these individuals’ financial understanding and increase their ability to make good financial decisions. These individuals were introduced to simple budgeting and saving tools to improve their financial decision-making and help them build a modest ‘emergency’ fund to reduce their vulnerability to unexpected bills. The research tested the effectiveness of delivering these teaching materials online and face-to-face.   

The behaviour-change outcomes that we measured included whether participants start to save more, reduce their debts, or cut their household expenditure, such as by switching to a cheaper utility provider to reach their financial goals. 

A combination of quantitative and qualitative data gathered from over 4000 participants showed that the teaching materials and budgeting and savings tools improved the financial understanding of those participating. After using the teaching materials, these individuals were better able to budget, understood the need to save for the future and to create an emergency fund. The findings also showed an increase in the level of savings held. The final project report concluded there was ‘…good evidence that a short, low-cost, behaviourally-informed intervention can work to improve financial behaviour and resilience, and can do so for people who are Just About Managing who are most in need of financial capability but tend to be hard to reach’.

The findings revealed many insights about the challenges people face in managing their money. For example, new insights were gained into the complex role of emotional factors in influencing how people spend. 

We used the findings also as part of a Coventry University Impact Acceleration project to create a free-to-use app called MoneySkills as a vehicle for impact. The app, available via iOS, Android and in web-based format, has been used by a wide range of national and community organisations and can also be accessed free by the public.

Project objectives

To improve the financial understanding and ability of individuals to manage their personal finances, using teaching materials that help them to: (i) be better able to budget; (ii) understand the need to save for the future; (iii) set long-term financial priorities; and (iv) create an emergency fund to increase their financial resilience.

To evaluate the effectiveness of delivering those materials through various channels with individuals who are financially struggling.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023