Make more money, spend less money.Debt can really suck, but it’s also the default condition in our society. Student loans, car loans, mortgages‡ you’re seen as some kind of weird hippie if you don’t have these things. And that’s saying nothing of credit card debt.“I can’t afford that right now” is no longer a thing. We want something, we pull out the plastic and buy it. Some rough mental justification comes into play. We say we’ll pay it off when we get paid next, or we’ll cut back on some other expense this month. But we rarely do.And the debt begins to pile up. Soon, if we don’t pay attention (and most people don’t), we find that it has gotten completely out of hand.I’m fortunate enough that I had this ‘awakening‡ early enough to stop it before it got too far, but some people owe more than their yearly income in debt! If it’s that bad for you, you may want to consider things like bankruptcy or just not paying it, but for the purpose of this question, I’ll assume we’re talking about debt that is unpleasant but not catastrophic.Your debt isn’t a financial problem, it’s a mental problem.Your brain, your attitudes, your thoughts, your discipline, and your habits got you to where you are right now. Until those things change, nothing else will. Want to hear the most empowering thing anyone has ever told me?It’s your fault.Everything.“Fuck you, you don’t understand my situation!”Listen, this is good stuff. The reason this idea is so powerful is that when it’s your fault, you can change it.If you’re just a victim of circumstances, oppression, society, etc, you’re screwed forever. Take ownership of your life. Of everything.Don’t be a victim.This is simple but not easy, so take some time to figure this out. Got it? Good. Now you’re ready to pay off the debt.If you’re like most people, your debt was accumulated for‡ nothing in particular. You just sort of drifted from one thing to another without really thinking about it. Without any goal or destination. This is the first thing to fix.Decide on a definite goal to pursue. This could just be ‘paying off debt’, but it should probably be bigger than that. What you need is a direction to be moving in. Then, with every decision, ask yourself if it moves you closer or further away from your goal. Act accordingly. (This book really helped me grasp these ideas, so I recommend you check it out if you’re struggling here.)This alone should drastically reduce your frivolous spending, but let’s get more specific. Cancel cable TV. You don’t need it. Don’t go out to eat. Stop drinking so much.Can you sell your car?Can you sell your house and move somewhere more affordable?Think of your debt as an emergency condition, because that’s what it is. This is not going to be comfortable or fun, but it is necessary.Would you go out and have 6 beers and watch the game in the middle of an emergency?Great, you’ve reduced your spending. You’ve quit spending your time on dumb shit, which for most people, leaves a big time vacuum. You could just sit back and relax, but you’re forgetting, your debt is still an emergency! You’re making progress, but can’t you do more?Make more money.Think about hobbies you could turn into a side hustle. Sell all the dumb shit you racked up the debt paying for on eBay or Craigslist. Work more hours at your job or consider a second side job. Create an information product about something you’re an expert in and sell it. Get creative here, this answer is different for everyone.Kill your interest payments.For credit card debt, look into a balance transfer to a card with a 0% interest period. Ideally, you want to pay it off completely before the interest rate rises, but at very least you can make a huge dent in it when 100% of your payment goes to principal.Don’t go back to your old wicked ways.OK, you’ve put in the effort. You’ve made the sacrifices necessary. You’ve paid off your debt. Congratulations! Take a moment to celebrate. Pour yourself a nice glass of whiskey and realize that you’re now in a position most Americans can’t even dream about. You don’t owe anyone anything!This is a HUGE accomplishment, and not something to be taken lightly.So don’t fuck it up, dummy.You’ll find that your income is now much, much more than your expenses. All that money that you were putting towards debt payments is now sitting idle.Don’t go back to your old consumeristic ways.You’ve worked hard to elevate yourself to a higher level. Don’t fall backwards. Keep moving forward.Put away a nice chunk of money as savings. Keep it in something safe. This is your “fuck you” money. (explained more here) If you never use it, good. Imagine never having to worry about what the boss says. Or the car breaking down.Whatever shit comes up in life, you can handle it.This is where life gets interesting.Debt is the ultimate position of weakness. You’re beholden to people, and you can be destroyed very easily. A pile of cash and an income that vastly outpaces expenses is the ultimate position of strength.Learn about investing. Try starting businesses. Spend more time with your family. Spend less time with your family. Your life is your own, and you get to decide what to do now.This isn’t the ultimate end goal, it’s just the beginning. Getting to this position is what makes everything else possible.I’ve just recently started down a similar path myself. I’m not done yet, and it will take time, but I’m putting in the work every day to make this happen. That’s what you have to do. I’m documenting the journey here. Remember, this won‡ be easy, but it IS necessary, and the end result will be worth it.