Things I've Learned...
Once I started my first job at Steak N Shake, I had my own money to manage. I could buy things I wanted, be it furniture, or food, or fun stuff. Before that, I never really bought anything except with any allowance I made. I had no money management skills, and was not a good shopper. I was uncertain about everything, and I plagued my parents with questions until I learned enough to trust myself.
Now, even as a SAHM, I manage our bank account and bills and furniture and everything that might need to be fixed or bought or trashed, and with the recent Apartment, Pet, and Furniture searches, I've added onto my knowledge of money/shopping matters. I've never borrowed money, or even needed to; we have one credit card that we only recently got because it had great bonuses from our bank, and so we could use it to occasionally buy dinner with it somewhere as a cheap credit-booster. We've never missed a payment on anything. I refuse to go into debt, so I'm diligent about what we pay and buy, but I don't have to be frugal or penny pinching.
~~~When searching for a cheap desk or a table, and you set a limit of, say, $500 or less, do not go to a website for a place that is specifically for that item only. Even if it's a simple desk. Maaaaaybe if they have a special sale, take a peek. Otherwise, keep looking. When you sort for (Price: Low -> High) and the cheapest desk is a simple child's desk for $200, move on.
~~~Walmart, Target, and K Mart are your friends. Maybe not your best friend, but they are there for you.
~~~Craigslist is also your friend...but bring someone with you. You never know who's a weirdo.
~~~It's good to have a set price cap in mind, as a basic "this is how much I'm willing to spend on this" bar. Browse higher, if you want, but if you have a budget, keep your limits in mind.
~~~Don't be afraid of buying something just because you might have to assemble it yourself. I've put together desks, computer chairs, and couches with good results and no missing/extra parts.
~~~When looking for an Apartment, do your research. Find out what stores are nearby, what entertainment, what the neighborhood is like. Look up reviews on the apartment, try to find the most recent ones. Make sure it has the utilities you want and if not, check what the average prices are around that area. Look at Floor Plans and Recent Photos.
~~~When looking for a pet, don't only look for breeders. Check out the Pounds and Animal Shelters. Look on Craigslist, or on other local websites/areas. Some people have pets they can't keep that are in need of new homes, sometimes for free, sometimes cheap, sometimes not so free or cheap. Breeders usually are very expensive, and you either have to drive miles and miles to pick up the pet, or pay to somehow have it shipped to you, which sounds like a horrible experience to put a puppy through, imo.
I know it's all pretty generic, common sense, but if you were raised to have no financial awareness like I was, learning this stuff can be a kick in the teeth. I remember my mom always said she was so much in debt, or was late on bills or the house/car payments, or we didn't have enough money to go do this or that, and yet every year she bought herself a brand new, top of the line desktop computer and chair, fancy gadgets for it, a new car or furniture we didn't need. She always said we never had enough, and yet she always bought more and more. My financial class in high school focused solely on the stock market, and no one understood it so the class was dropped and we were left without one. It's a good thing that I'm a "Learn as you do it" kind of person.