The things that really matter
Most people don't want to think about money.
Fortunately, that is not an obstacle to a making a financially secure and comfortable life. The key is to focus on things that deliver outsize benefits, and not worry about the rest.
Frugality and deliberate spending have a bad image. Think of the blog posts telling you how to make your own soap in order to avoid paying the outrageous prices at the supermarket.
I think it's fine to make soap if you enjoy it, but it isn't essential to gain control of your finances ;)
No, in order to vanquish money worries, all you have to do is spend less than you earn, and save and invest the difference. If you do that for the rest of your life you will be able to largely ignore money and enjoy your days doing what matters to you.
The biggest payoff probably comes from increasing your income, but only as long as you don't increase your spending along with it. A relatively painless way to take advantage of this is to save a proportion (half?) of any pay increase, which means you get to spend the other half. Win-win!
You can increase your income by getting a new job, getting promoted, taking on a second job, creating passive income (by writing an ebook, for example), or by investing.
The most effective way to keep your spending in check is to focus on the big wins: housing, transport, recurring expenses. If you do that you really don't have to worry about buying a book or getting a coffee.
Housing is most people's biggest single expense, so spending a bit of time thinking about how to reduce the cost will yield huge returns. Paying less in rent or having a smaller mortgage payment can be the difference between a comfortable life where you have money in the bank and can afford to invest for the future, and one where you barely have enough money to pay the bills every month.
Next up is transport, and basically cars. Cars are an enormous money-suck. The worst possible thing you can do is buy a new car every few years (unless you buy two or more new cars every few years). You may as well light your money on fire.
Not owning a car, buying second-hand, buying the smallest and cheapest car possible (and renting for the odd day when you need a bigger vehicle), and not using your car whenever possible is going to leave you with a lot more money to save or spend on other things.
If you really want to spend money on cars, that is of course fine, but make sure it is a choice and not just following the default option for society (I'm still astounded at all the 0-2 child families I see in Japan driving those 'wagon' minivans, presumably to keep up with the Yamadas).
Recurring expenses are things like your mobile phone bill, insurance, subscriptions to things, your grocery shopping, gym membership, etc.
Even a small monthly payment adds up to large amounts of money over time, so be really careful about making sure they are worth it. Even if you think the service is essential, try giving it up for a month. You may find you don't miss it and therefore didn't need to be paying for it :)
How about you? Any good ways to make or save money?