As a long-time freelance journalist, I’ve had to learn some money management lessons the hard way. For example, a healthy cash flow can easily become a cash ebb without the right savings strategies in place. And there’s a reason why shoe boxes are shaped for low-heeled pumps, not crumpled tax receipts.

Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to have had some excellent teachers guide me on the dos and don’ts of spending, saving and investing.

Here are some of the most important financial lessons I’ve learned from my parents over the years:

1. Do your homework. These days, we’re overwhelmed with fully-stocked shelves. But back in the day, I remember my parents carefully researching their purchases by visiting a variety of retailers to comparison shop. Although many of us don’t have the time for this kind of legwork, there’s something to be said for doing your homework before handing over your hard-earned dollars. The next time you're about to make a substantial purchase, consider taking a bit of extra time to see what else is out there and if you're getting the best deal.

2. Keep tabs. While paper-based cheque books may seem as old-fashioned as acid-washed jeans and black-and-white television sets, there’s something to be said for jotting down how much you’re spending on a daily basis. There’s simply no better way to keep tabs on your finances. How about giving it a try and writing down all of your spending for a couple of weeks? 

3. Share your wealth. It can be easy to get caught up in the rat race. But one thing my parents taught me is that it’s always important to pay it forward. Whether volunteering at a homeless shelter or sponsoring a fundraiser, helping others can deliver one of the biggest returns you’ll ever see on an investment. Sometimes a donation to a charity in lieu of a more traditional gift can have a greater impact.

What are some of the lessons you've learned about money from your parents? How have your parents' spending and saving habits helped shape your own?

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