Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money.

Over the past few months, I’ve been brainstorming ideas about future book projects. It’s been four years since I started writing Your Money: The Missing Manual, and I’m eager to delve deeper into the subject of personal finance.

As part of that, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concepts that helped me take control of my money. After spending nearly twenty years floundering, there were a handful of ideas that led me to financial success.

For instance:

  • It wasn’t until I discovered the debt snowball (or Dave Ramsey’s version of it, anyhow) that I was able to change directions, to begin building wealth instead of losing it.
  • I hated budgeting until I discovered the balanced money formula. This is less a detailed budget than it is a budget framework, and that’s why I like it. It’s simple. Complicated budgets are a burden to me. Since adopting the Balanced Money Formula, I’ve found several similar budget frameworks, all of which I think are keen.
  • The notion of conscious spending revolutionized how I viewed my disposable income. I no longer had to feel guilty about buying things I really liked. But at the same time, I learned to recognize how important it was to curtail spending on the stuff that doesn’t matter to me.

These are just three of the concepts that have revolutionized my relationship with money. What about you?

Did you manage to pull things together when you realized you ought to be spending less than 25% of your pre-tax income on housing (instead of the 41% the banks will let you spend)? Did you find financial freedom by ditching your car in favor of a bike and public transit? Did money become less bothersome when you automated all of your bills and investments?

What skills or concepts have had the greatest impact on your financial well-being? Which ideas to you keep returning to in your own life? Which do you share with family and friends? If you were to write a book about money, what tips and tricks would you make sure you shared with your readers?

Postscript: I’d also love to know your favorite “money hacks” — you know, those little tricks and habits you use to save (and make) more money here and there…

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