We all have different reasons for going into debt. But the way out is the same for each of us: re-evaluating our relationship with stuff.
I was raised with the following values regarding stuff: 1. buy the best quality of everything so it will last, and 2. buy what you want when you want it, because you deserve it. I think number 1 is valid when making purchases, but number 2 simply has to go, for at least 2 reasons.
First, "what you want" is hard to quantify, because in many cases what you want is actually what has been sold to you. Someone told you that you want it, and if you watch television, they have told you over and over and over again. Do you really want it, or did the advertisers convince you it would make your life better? How many things do we buy that get used only a couple of times and then just take up space?
Second, why do we "deserve it?" This is where our major mind-shift needs to happen. We deserve freedom, access to healthcare, safety. We do not deserve plastic doodads or one more pair of jeans made by baby hands (or underpaid adult hands) in China (or anywhere else for that matter). We've done nothing to deserve that. I think if we can save money above and beyond our expenses, we deserve to spend that on whatever we like. But if not, we don't deserve anything.
How much stuff do we really need? Why would we possibly want more? Again, I blame the advertisers. And I'm just not going to let them tell me what I "want" anymore.
How did you make the shift to stop buying so much? What do you struggle with?