Joan Otto

Joan Otto has been the editor and community manager for Man Vs. Debt since late 2011. In addition to sharing her family's journey to pay off almost $90,000 in non-mortgage debt ($30K down, $60K to go!) via MvD and facilitating the You Vs. Debt course, Joan is passionate about being a great wife to Chris and a wonderful mom to Sarah, who's 12, and who is unschooled. Other things Joan loves, in no particular order, include organization, tae kwon do, Diet Pepsi, scrapbooking, Facebook games, sushi and Pinterest, all in sometimes unhealthy quantities.


We’re Doing It Wrong

“We’re doing it wrong.”

It’s our joke as a couple

The thing we say

When what we really mean is

“Debt has left us black-eyed and bleeding.”


It’s not really keeping up with the Joneses.

It isn’t about your vacations or your fancy houses – yes, plural?!

Your new cars or your HDTVs.

(Though we make our secret faces

When we read about them in your Christmas letters.)


When we lean together and whisper

- oh, we can be so snarky -

It comes out “We’re doing it wrong”

But what we’re really saying is

“We’re trying to do it right.


$90,000 to pay off, and we’re only

Two people working hard with four hands

And eight (closed) credit cards and

Just as many part-time jobs

And only 24 hours in a day.


So we crack our jokes, share our secret battle cry.

We’re strong enough to be debt-free for good,

And if “doing it wrong” looks an awful lot

Like wearing dollar shirts and watching Redbox,

Then I guess you can keep your Hollister.


When debt’s gone

 - we’re still learning to drop the “if” -

We both know it’s not the things we crave.

It’s the freedom we envy.

To do it wrong ourselves if we want.


Or to do it right.

3 comments / Add Yours

Karin, oh, I’m so glad my snark is appreciated! :) To you and Rachel, both, I so much appreciate the support… trust me, we need it!


WE DID IT! You can too.


Wow, what a crazy experience. I love your comments–snarky or not, haha–about the entire situation. It’s quite a narrative on the daily struggles of an average person struggling between the economy’s allowance and the secret desires we all have for *more.*


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