The Enemy of Debt Questionnaire – Congratulations to Serguei Merzliakov!
How much debt did you have and how long did it take you to pay it off?
Took a relatively small 20k loan to finance my nightschool studies (professional education with chartership at the end). Took 4 years of sweat to repay it as I became unemployed in year 3. Used advice from Eliminate the Muda, Wisebread, and The Motley Fool.
Finally, going shopping with the list and not being afraid to donate old things (without replacing it) was also helpful – gave me understanding of my own spending habits.
How does becoming debt free actually feel? Does it feel better than you imagined it would?
Being debt is somewhat similar to having extra money – it’s addictive. All months was used to going to the shops, wanting everything and buying nothing.
First month out of debt felt unreal, but suddenly, I found myself going to the shops and buying everything, which showed – the problem is not money but what I was doing with it.
What were some of the struggles that you had to deal with along the way? Was there ever a time where you almost gave up?
When I became unemployed, my relationship collapsed and I was effectively homeless for three months. Getting used to this fact was hard. I almost gave up in month 3, because I found it hard to get a house. It was almost like I was giving a certain vibe and people just refused.
What would you consider to be the most important key to becoming debt free? What helped you the most?
Asking for help. In our modern hi-tech world we are all independent. My friends who helped me out with a) putting me in 2) giving me encouragement 3) helping me buy a proper set of shoes and clothing (I lost 2.5 stone) – all of these were priceless. And my family supported me emotionally and financially the best way they could.
It seems a lot of people have bought into the idea that debt is essential in order to prosper, what do you have to say to those people?
What was the biggest sacrifice you would say you made in order to become debt free? What about you changed the most?
I guess swallowing pride and accepting myself the way I was, jump started my life.
Did your friends and family give you a hard time about your new mission to eliminate the debt from your life? If so how did you deal with it? Do you think you inspired others by your journey?
A friend of mine who had been unemployed and had similar situation before said, “Only those who have been here will understand.”
It is true that I cut off a big circle of friends, who kept sending me invites to their parties. Yes, it was hard to understand that I had not a tenner to spare and come to their “lovely” picnic. It is one of those ‘experiences’ in life, but it changed me forever. People who didn’t have it – won’t ‘understand’.
What is next for you? What financial goals do you plan to accomplish?
I am now learning about saving and investing as well as business. I also met people who taught me about sustainable living and learned a great deal from them about our civilization. I am trying to promote sustainability in the company I currently work for. I guess, I have a great deal to learn still but I am more open-minded, tolerant towards the world, and listen more than ever before.
This story was submitted by Serguei Merzliakov, a professional with hefty interest in all things classy – culture, good food, and stylish girls ; ). Serguei found himself in debt over student loan and faced an incredible turn when he became unemployed. His story should be inspiration to many who are in debt, unemployed, and feel there is no hope for a brighter future.
Debt Free News From A Debt Free Reader Series
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More to come…but only if I get some new submissions! 😀