Feelings about earning and spending are usually rooted in childhood, which is why it's helpful to think about how you were raised. Maybe your parents conducted business privately, so for all you knew, bills were paid by magic. Or perhaps they were nervous scrimpers, conveying that financial matters were inherently scary. "Once you look at your parents' influence, you can choose which of their habits and attitudes you want to save and which you should discard," says Susan McCarthy, PhD, author of The Value of Money (Tarcher). "It's about being very conscious so you end up using your resources exactly the way you want to."