As a goal, like losing weight or quitting smoking, "getting out of debt" is negative. By itself, it's not very compelling. It is all about getting rid of something, not getting something.
To be compelling, it must be re-framed in positive terms. Sometimes it's helpful to remember that debt was incurred to get something; and that something that the debt was incurred to get is a positive goal. Debt just happened to be one way - but certainly not the only way - of getting it.
So instead of looking at debt, look through it, at the goal it was used to buy. Then, wonder what kinds of things like that you will continue to need and want.
For example, maybe you ran up a credit card balance to afford car repairs, medical expenses, or a vacation. Is it possible to plan for those things - even unplanned surprises like car repairs and medical expenses?
For long-term planning, to anticipate things like emergencies, vehicle replacements, retirement and so on, do a Lifetime Savings Plan. To prepare for shorter-term things like vacations, do a budget.
One outcome of all this planning will probably be the realization that you need to improve your income.
But you probably knew that already.
The difference that this planning process makes is knowing how much you need to increase it, and how much is enough.
When it is complete, you will see light at the end of the tunnel. (As one client said, "This is the first time I've seen light at the end of the tunnel, and it wasn't a train!")
Debt is not all bad. If you're a young family just starting out and you want to buy a pleasant house where you can give your children a healthy upbringing, chances are you'll probably need a mortgage. To minimize the interest rate on this mortgage, it's advisable to have one credit card on which you maintain about a 7% usage ratio. In this way, you'll maximize your credit score and minimize your interest expense. Later, you can slam-dunk the mortgage.
If for some reason you have incurred a lot of debt and need to formulate a "snowball plan" for paying it off, the best way I know of to make this plan is Zilchworks.
Wall Street Journal article, "In Denial About Your Debts?
The First Step Toward Solvency is Facing Financial Reality."
April 14, 2014