Maria Nedeva has written a book like no other about debt. Having found herself in £100,000 of consumer debt, she managed to become debt free in 3 years. Her book documents her journey to debt freedom in the hope that her story will help others imitate her success. She begs you to stop listening to the ‘experts’ who tell you vaguely that getting out of debt is about spending less than you earn, and instead suggests you listen to her, a Money Maverick, when she tells you that getting out of debt is about a complete ‘transformation’ of your relationship with money. 

This transformation is broken down into three parts: passions, reason and actions.


Maria’s black belt in karate has taught her a thing or two about managing her emotions. She has therefore devised a money-psychology which depicts the mastery of our emotions as the foundation of a debt-free future. According to ‘Never bet on red’, it all starts with self-awareness: ‘self awareness is the precursor to transformation and requires intentional focus and practice’. The book goes on to explain that if we understand the motives behind our spending actions, we are far more likely to be able to change them.


Maria is Professor of Science and Innovation Dynamics and Policy at the Manchester Business School. She teaches students about innovation, policy and creativity and talks to Prime Ministers about how best to spend the science budget of their countries. She’s an incredibly intelligent woman, yet she freely admits that she was ‘staggeringly ignorant and irresponsible’ when it came to her finances. 

One of the key themes in her book is therefore the importance of learning about money and debt. She admits that ‘money is not straightforward’, it in fact ‘has many dimensions and raises questions of how you make it, how you use it to nourish your life, [and] store it for the future’. When we discussed this during our video interview, Maria also made the point that the financial world has largely been gate-kept by white men in pinstripe suits; she was therefore keen to emphasise the fact that her book aims to unveil the complexities of personal finance for marginalised people. She does not ‘dumb down’ finances, but rather explains them in a manner which is accessible for all. 


This stage of ‘Never bet on red’ consists of practical exercises and actions you must take to start your debt free journey. The idea is that the consistent practice of these exercises will enable you to ‘develop healthy money habits that will ensure you stay debt-free forever’. A key element of this stage of the book is Maria’s ‘ERR’ strategy: eliminate, reduce, replace. Firstly you eliminate waste to streamline your budget. Secondly you reduce your consumption, learning to live off only what you really need. Then finally you replace your needs with cheaper alternatives.

Find out more

To get a further insight into Maria’s debt-free story and her advice to those in debt, be sure to watch my video interview with Maria on our Youtube channel. You can buy her book on Amazon in hardback, paperback and ebook.

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About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more