Drowning in $20,000 of credit card debt, shopaholic Karyn Bosnak asked strangers for money online – and it worked!

What would you do if you owed $20,000? Would you:

A) not tell your parents?
B) start your own website that asked for money without apology? or
C) stop coloring your hair, getting pedicures, and buying Gucci?

If you were Karyn Bosnak, you’d do all three.

Karyn received e-mails from people all over the world, either confessing their own debt-ridden lives, or criticizing hers. But after four months of Internet panhandling and selling her prized possessions on eBay, her debt was gone!

In Save Karyn: One Shopaholic’s Journey to Debt and Back, Karyn details the bumpy road her financial – and personal – life has traveled to get her where she is today: happy, grateful, and completely debt-free.

In this charming cautionary tale, Karyn chronicles her glamorous rise, her embarrassing fall, and how the kindness of strangers in cyberia really can make a difference.

You’re probably jealous that you didn’t think of it first.


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Today Show


The Washington Post's "Color of Money Book Club"

NBC's "Today Show Book Club"

The New York Times Magazine's "Year In Ideas" list

#31 on VH1's list of the 40 Greatest Internet Superstars


Original Save Karyn Website



Read it. You’ll love her sweet ‘internet panhandler’ tale…
— Marie Claire
The former spendthrift spins an incredible true tale...
— Us Weekly
You’ll marvel at this babe’s brazenness, as well as the kindness of strangers.
— Cosmopolitan
Save Karyn is a fascinating read… Bosnak’s book is sort of a Scared Straight for shopaholics...
— The Washington Post
She has optimism...which she keeps lively with daily postings of her hard-bitten frugality.
— Kirkus Reviews
A funny read. A bit like Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, Bosnak is naïve, honest and shares enough self-deprecating humor to keep you reading.

Some episodes (going for a bikini wax) are laugh-out-loud funny, as are her money-saving tips and responses to mean critics…
— USA Today


Prologue: The Summer I Stared at the Ceiling

Have you ever made such a mess of things that you were sure there was no way out? That's basically the story of my life. In June 2002, I was in that position: dead broke and $20,000 in the hole. How did I end up that way? Well, I guess you could say it all started three years earlier, during what I now refer to as "the summer I stared at the ceiling."

It was May 1999, and I was twenty-six years old. I was living and working in Chicago. I wasn't unhappy; I was unfulfilled. There had to be more to life than what I had experienced so far. I was born in Illinois, raised in Illinois, had gone to school in Illinois, and was working in Illinois. That summer all I did was stare at the ceiling and think. I didn't know who I was. I was the person my parents raised, but I never felt like my own person. I felt like an extension of them, an extension of my job, and defined by my friends. All I did was stare and think.

At the end of the summer, the conclusion that I came to was this: I had to get the hell out of Illinois. I needed to pack my bags, leave the Windy City, and move to a faraway land. I needed to be alone to figure out exactly who Karyn Bosnak was. And the faraway land that I chose to be alone in was... New York! I had been there once–for a day. But I liked it, and had seen tons of episodes of "Friends" and "Seinfeld" and decided it was going to be my new home.

The next year all I did was work and save money. Well, I tried to save money, let's just say that, but I've never been really good in that department. But I saved enough for a one-way plane ticket and a security deposit for an apartment. I had enough for everything except the movers. I had to charge the movers...

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