Step-by-Step Guide to Get Out of Debt

14 Steps to Change Your Life
Take these steps as fast or as slow as you can take them. There is no need to feel overwhelmed by them. Take a deep breath… and dive in! 

Step one

Change Your Mindset

Don’t underestimate the importance of this first step. For myself, it was believing that I had extra money from my paychecks to put towards my students loans. It was also about believing in myself to stick to a budget. Believing the reward would come after the sacrifice. Once you can see yourself doing all these things… your mindset has changed.

Step Two

Create a Account

There are a ton of budgeting apps and other solutions out there so we can create a budget. However, I like working with Mint because of one simple feature… it connects to my banks and automatically imports my transactions. If I had to spend the time entering all that information in, I would have failed getting out of debt. Create an account. Connect your bank accounts. Start budgeting.


Categorize Old Transactions Using, assign transactions to these basic categories: Paycheck Bills & Utilities Charity & Donations Groceries Shopping Gas & Fuel Restaurants Entertainment


Track Future Spending Going through old transactions is tiresome and tedious – but you have to keep doing it for every future transaction that comes through. This is part of knowing where you’re money is going so you can make adjustments down the road.


Determine Average Spending Some months we spend more, and other we spend less. Determining your average spending over any given time period will give you a more realistic budget to live within each month. will help tell you what you’re spending in each category each month. You’ll use a spreadsheet to figure out the rest.

Step Six

Set Your Budget!

Congratulations for making it this far! By now you should have your account created. All your transactions categorized and your average spending figured out. The research phase is over and its time to buckle down and start living within your budget. What you do from this point forward will determine the kind of success you have, and how much of it you have.

Step Seven

Decide to Commit & Dedicate Yourself

Getting out of debt is not for the faint of heart. It is not easy or quick. Otherwise, everyone would be debt free. Your committment and dedication to tracking your spending and getting out of debt is not a one and done sort of thing. It’s ongoing. It’ll be monthly. Weekly. And for some, daily.

Review Budget Weekly

Stay caught up on recent transactions. Make sure everything is categorized correctly for your budgets.

Re-evaluate Budget Limits

Things change over time. Spending habits change. Different expenses comes and go. Take time to account for this.

Supplement Income

You decide what this means for you. For myself, it was donating plasma and photographing engagements and weddings.

Left Over Budget Money

Did you underspend the money set aside for your budget? That’s awesome! Try to do this as often as you can!

Repurpose Extra Income

Whether you underspend each month, or it’s supplemental income… make sure you put as much as possible towards your most expensive loan.

Tackle Most Expensive Loan

Focus on your loan with the highest interest rate. The sooner you bring down the balance, the less interest you pay and the faster you get out of debt.

Step Fourteen

Rinse & Repeat

Moving forward, many of these steps will have to be revisited. Whether it’s adjusting your mindset again. Or adjusting your budget limits. Your finances are living and breathing just as much as you. It requires constant tender love and care to thrive and reach new heights never before seen.

It took me a lot of time to figure all of this out. I was constantly tweaking, reworking, and discovering new ways to budget and know 100% where my money was going. I had to be consciously involved 24/7, or spending would get away from me.

Dustin Olsen, A Debt Survivor

Want More?

Get my eBook!

I’ve got a ton more detail about me, my story, and how I paid off $50,000 of debt in 2 years. I’ve included detailed instructions on how to setup your Mint account. I’ve provided a spreadsheet to help you gather together the financial insight needed to setup your budget and allocate spending.

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