WELCOME to Money Matters, a column designed to offer you some practical tips on how to manage your finances. Actually, kick-starting this weekly column has not been as easy or simple as I originally thought. With Hong Kong being an international financial hub and its people reputedly money-minded (what a stereotype!), one would have thought there would be many experts who can advise us on how to spend and invest wisely. Not so. Many weeks later, I still could not find anyone who could dish out some sound and sensible advice on money management. Except my mother. Now here is someone whose advice is not to be sniffed at. For most of us, especially during our school days, parents are (as one of my friends quite happily put it) our first source of wealth, our ATM machines. Remember the day when you walked pass a sports-gear store and spotted a fantastic pair of sneakers in the window? You looked at them again and you could hear them pleading 'buy us, buy us!' Not being able to wait any longer, you ran home and switched on your CD player (Abba's Money, Money, Money) - and pestering power - full blast. First target: Mum, but it didn't work. She said (as usual): 'Well, learn to save some money next month! In advance? What do you think I am? A bank?' Second target: Dad, but that didn't work either. He said (as usual): 'Ask your mum.' You started to think up all sorts of promises that you knew only existed in the Book Of Fiction, but your mother just would not 'buy' them. But she did have a point. So, how can you manage your money better? Look out for this column next week. Hopefully by then I would have found someone who really knows what they are talking about! If you have a money-related question, send it to email@example.com with Money Matters as the subject.