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Money management advice from mom

Several months ago we asked Bankrate newsletter readers to tell us what they have learned from their mothers and fathers about money. Here are some of the readers' responses, complete with a treasure trove of advice from their parents.

We've paired this wisdom with tools and calculators so you can put this advice into action now. You've may have heard some of these ideas before, but it never hurts to reinforce the good practices that our parents instilled in us.

Don't get a tax refund
When I was growing up my mom always said, "You should never get a tax refund. You should always plan to have to pay just a little when tax time comes around. Because if you get a tax refund, the government has had your money all year long, and you aren't able to use it." The reason this advice is all the more interesting is that my mother never went to college or studied finance. She just knew intuitively that getting a tax refund wasn't in your best interest.
-- Jane Walther, Florida

Take action: Use this calculator to find out how much to withhold from your paycheck.

Save and invest your money
The best thing my parents did financially was teaching me how to save money. When I had my first part-time job, I put 1/3 in the bank, gave 1/3 to my parents and kept 1/3 of my paycheck. After my bank account reached a certain level, I was then taught how to invest my money in the stock market and make a "big-ticket" purchase. I am forever grateful for them teaching me the value of money.
-- T. Di Vincenzo, Philadelphia

Take action: Want to be a millionaire? Bankrate's "Save a million" calculator can show you how.

Learn to be independent
My parents made me clearly understand that once I was on my own, there was no fallback party in their backyard. This made me aware that every dime I earned needed to sustain me during good times and bad and that I was not able to spend all my discretionary cash every month. Complete and unequivocal independence is the best gift any parent can give their kids.
-- Robin Fellner, California

Take action: Learn where your money goes each month with Bankrate's household budget tool.

Play the float
My mother taught me how to kite (float) checks when I was 4. I don't think that she meant to do it, but I was a bright child and understood her explanation. I also watched her pay the bills and do the worrying for the family.

The result was that I made it my business to pay off my student loans as quickly as possible after graduating from college. I lived decently, but I'm what the credit card companies call a "deadbeat" because I pay off my credit card bills every month, unless I have some zero percent interest promotion that I can put into a four- or five-month CD and make money on the float.

Never underestimate the power of a bad example.
-- Joanne Fendell, Virginia

Take action: Strive to be a credit card deadbeat. See what it will take to pay off your credit cards.

Next: "Save some money for a rainy day"
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