I'm fortunate enough to have great parents who taught me to be responsible with money and credit cards so the only debt I ever had was my student loan. During university I worked part-time while I was taking classes and full-time during the summer to pay for tuition and expenses. I had a small $8000 student loan when I graduated. I got married shortly after university and my wife and I agreed to just get rid of the debt. After a short period of paying the minimum payments, we decided to put as much as we could towards it. We cut back on everything, we didn't buy a TV, simple meals and very little eating out, etc. We paid it all off in a few months and have been debt free since.
I'm grateful that my parents taught me about credit card debt before I was able to get in trouble. In my experience, the best way to beat debt is to stay out of debt in the first place.