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You and your money: personal finance in context

Are you interested in making more informed decisions about your personal finances? You and your money is a practical module that will develop your financial skills and improve your understanding of the constantly changing social and economic environment in which financial decisions are made. You’ll explore questions such as: Why do people borrow so much? How can I plan for my retirement? By the end of this key introductory OU level 1 module, you’ll have a detailed understanding of some key personal finance issues that affect people’s lives, and the skills and knowledge needed to improve your own financial capability. 

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OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module code
Study level
1 7 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

Student Reviews

A nice course that fills the gaps in terms of knowledge you might be missing encountering daily finances. Quite enjoyable...
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This was an interesting course that covers many areas of personal finance. The units on mortgages was interesting as was...
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What you will study

This module covers four broad themes. The first theme is the importance of the changing economic and social environment to your personal finances. This is taught by placing financial topics – such as borrowing and debt; savings and investments; the housing market; and pensions – within the context of social and economic change. So, for example, you’ll examine not just the different types of mortgages available, but also explore the underlying social and economic changes such as the recent financial crisis currently affecting home ownership, interest rates, and borrowing.

The second theme is the relationship between individuals and households in financial matters, a relationship that is crucial to situating financial decisions in their real context. This relationship can include various issues, from thinking about how a couple manages their money, to the financial implications of having children, or of caring for an elderly parent, and the way the social and economic context, such as government family policies, can influence these.

The third theme considers the importance of change over the course of a lifetime. This means thinking not only about how your own income and spending plans might change, but also how such change interacts with broader social and economic change. For example, as the government and employers reduce pension provision, it’s increasingly likely that individuals will have to think ahead in order to plan and provide for their old age: this module discusses some of the options.

The final theme is financial planning. This is a crucial element of personal finance and you will explore the financial planning process, working through the four key stages: assessing your financial position; deciding upon a financial plan; acting upon this plan; and reviewing the plan. You will also learn about –and practise using – all the main tools used in personal financial planning, from personal balance sheets, to budgeting and cash-flow statements. These tools can be kept and used for your own personal use after the module.

Taken together, the knowledge and understanding you gain from studying You and your money will deliver two types of skills: skills that are highly practical and relevant in your everyday life, and academically-relevant skills that are useful for further study, particularly in social sciences, economics and business modules.

This module is particularly suitable if you are considering studying higher-level business or social sciences modules. Normally, you should have completed this module and Introduction to financial services (BD131) before studying Development of financial practice (DB124).

Vocational relevance

This module has particular relevance for anyone working in, or thinking about working in, the financial services industry such as banking and insurance. It will provide important background and contextual knowledge for anyone working in financial services. It is also relevant for people who may be offering more general financial guidance to people in their everyday lives.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance with your studies. If you are new to the OU, you will find your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. There will also be group tutorials which you are encouraged but not obliged to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the number of students doing the module locally to you.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You can choose whether to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) on paper or online through the eTMA system. You may want to use the eTMA system for some of your assignments but submit on paper for others. This is entirely your choice.

The end-of-module assessment (EMA) must be submitted online.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2015 and February 2016. We expect it to be available twice a year.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school


This is a key introductory OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to modules at OU level 2.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 £1350.00

Registration closes 10/09/15 (places subject to availability)


You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

06 Feb 2016 Sep 2016 £1350.00

Registration closes 07/01/16 (places subject to availability)


You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2018.

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you register.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time that is convenient to you.

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2016. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

This information was provided on 30/07/2015.

What's included

Module textbook, DVD-ROM, study guide and website.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available. For this module you will also need to install software provided by the OU on a disk or USB stick.

A Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system is suitable for this module. You will be required to install Microsoft Windows specific software.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and the DVD-ROM will not be readable in this way so you may need an assistant to help you. The printed study materials are available in the DAISY Digital Talking Book format. The books are available in a comb-bound format. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.