Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back

Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back

by Karyn Bosnak

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Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back by Karyn Bosnak

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 started a funny yet honest website,, on which she asked for donations to help her get out of debt. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060558192
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/02/2003
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.93(d)

About the Author

Karyn Bosnak spent her early working career as a daytime television producer for various talk shows, including Jenny Jones and The Ananda Lewis Show. She is the author of Save Karyn, an inspiration to shopaholics and women in credit card debt everywhere. She lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Save Karyn
One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back

Chapter One The Move

I awoke that morning to a buzzing in my ear. My head was throbbing. The night before we had a big party to wrap up the ninth season of The Jenny Jones Show, where I had worked for four years. (No, I wasn't there for the murder, so don't ask.) As desperately as I wanted to leave Chicago, I was sad to say good-bye to all of my coworkers, some of whom I had become very close with throughout the years.

The buzzing stopped and then started up again. I finally realized that it wasn't my alarm clock, but my doorman buzzing my apartment. I got out of bed and went to answer the intercom.

"Karyn, it's Robert the doorman. Your mom's here," a voice said.

Ever since I've lived alone, I've had an apartment with a doorman. It's always made me feel safe. Sure, doorman apartment buildings are more expensive, but how can you put a price on safety? This particular apartment was on Oak Street — the Madison Avenue of Chicago. If you walked straight out the front door of my apartment building, you'd hit Barneys. That was good for me, a girl who grew up shopping.

"Oh, right. Let her up." I was moving to New York the next morning. My mom was there to help me pack and was planning to stay overnight so she could take me to the airport. It was my last day in Chicago.

I love my mom. But she was part of the reason that I decided to move. She'd do anything for me, and I knew that and always took advantage of it. I was hoping New York would make me feel more independent, so I wouldn't call my mother every minute to ask for her help. "Help" to me usually meant "help with some cash," which meant "I spent too much at Marshall Field's and I need help paying the bill." And Mom was always there in that department.

After packing all day, we slept for a few hours before we had to get up and leave for my 6 A.M. flight. I was going to bring some of my clothes with me, and movers were coming to my apartment the following day to pick up the rest of my stuff. The reason for the early flight was that I had a job as a producer for a new court show called Curtis Court and had to be at work at noon the day I arrived.

That morning my mom and I woke up, loaded the car, and drove to the airport in silence. I've always had this horrible separation anxiety when it comes to my mother. When I was little, I would cry at school because I wanted my mom. My sister, Lisa, who is two years older than me, would have to leave her class and come to help my teacher quiet me down. I also was unable to sleep over at any of my friends' houses until I was in fourth grade because again, I would cry at bedtime because I missed my mom. I would fake being sick and have my friend wake her parents up and tell them that I needed to go home. Every time I'd attempt a sleepover, my mom always knew the midnight phone call would come, and would get in her car to come pick me up.

After the twenty-minute ride to O'Hare, we pulled up to the United Airlines departure terminal. I got out of the car and my mom popped the trunk. The bell cap came over and took my bags out of the back. I had five of them.

"You are only allowed to check two bags," he said.

"What? Why didn't they tell me that on the phone? I need all of these bags," I said.

Now, I admit that I've never been a light packer, but I had to have all these bags. My apartment wouldn't be ready for me to move into until two weeks after I got to New York, so I had to bring some of my clothes, purses and shoes with me. And two weeks of clothes meant five suitcases.

"Sorry, miss. I can't change the rules."

So, I had to carry on three bags. Three big bags. These were not overnighter-size bags either. They were suitcases.

I turned around and looked at my mother, who was wearing her sunglasses so I wouldn't see her tears, but I knew they were there.

"Mom, don't cry!" I said. "Please don't cry or you'll make me cry."

"I'm sorry, I can't help it. Why won't you let me come in with you?" she asked.

"Because if you come in with me, you'll make me cry, that's why."

I looked at my mom and hugged her. I closed my eyes. I've always thought that if I closed my eyes when I cried the tears would stay in.

"Okay," she said and continued to hug me. Hard. I couldn't breathe.

I didn't want to say the word "good-bye," because I knew that would have pushed me over the edge. So I just said "I love you," and pulled away quickly. Without looking at my mom, I turned around and pushed the heavy cart with my three suitcases through the automatic door.

After checking in and looking around for a while, I finally found a seat at the gate that accommodated me and my three suitcases. After I sat down, I looked to the left and saw someone familiar dart behind a pole. I couldn't see the person's face, but I could see the outline of a black Kate Spade purse. It was my mom! She was watching me!

Save Karyn
One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back
. Copyright © by Karyn Bosnak. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read to take your mind off of things. After reading about how she owes $20,000 in debt thanks to shopping and highlights, my own problems seem much smaller. I think that any woman can relate to this, who doesn't wish they had the money for highlights and weekly manicures? There are some cringe worthy moments, like spending over $700 on lingerie (she spent the amount of my rent within an hour!), but this book is funny, well written, and entertaining.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very well written. If you are a shopaholic, you will definitely relate. And if you are not a shopaholic, you will still love this book. The author wrote this book with a lot of enthusiasm and humor. It's a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book because it gave a great insight to how easily your debt can spiral out of control. It taught this lesson through humor, and you can easily relate to Karyn. I honestly would re-read this book and I don't say that often. It taught me the lessons of finance and what not to do. Definitely a good read and you will laugh and cry with the character throughout. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want to be both inspired and entertained then this is the book for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gam-bler-6 More than 1 year ago
Karyn is in her twenties and decided to move from Chicago to New York City but things did not turn out as she expected. Moving to New York made her icontrol towards her credit cads. She is a very impulsive buyer that lead her to a twenty-thousand dollars credit card debt. Karyn is a producer that makes about one thousands and eight hundred dollars a month but her checks are not enough for her debt so she decided to get another job in where she was accepted and got pay a little more than her last job. The bad news for karyn was that she didn't like this job for the reason that she didn't have any weekends off, worked more than ten hours and couldn't sleep the hours that she needed. After working a year for the company, Karyn and the rest of the employers needed to sign a paper in which they didn't know that the was the new contract for the next year. Karyn decided not to sign it and like a blink of an eye she got fired. For the next six months Karyn apply for other jobs but they denide her because it was occupy or did not match the curriculum. Days later karyn had the idea of creating a website were she told her problem after coming to New York. In November 10, 2002 Karyn had no debt. Many people help as many just critize.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book, i had to read it for my ecomonics class and it showed me alot on how to value money. And its funny!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am 23 years old...good i can related a lot to Karyn. She makes you realize how easy it is to go broke. I know not everyone agrees with her method of getting back on her feet but it was a well thought out idea
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great. Her experiences were hilarious! It is something that people everywhere can relate to!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so hilarious and the author is so down to earth. I LOVED it. I would definitely recommend it to any fellow shopaholics!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book!!! I even had to e-mail Karyn to see if she would write anymore books in the future. I am sad the book has ended and I am done with it. It really was one of the best books I've read in a long time. You go girl!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. It has a lot of humor. Karyn is a great writer and had me interested in her story. It could happen to anyone. She had a ton of courage and gusto to do what she did. My hat is off to her. I read the book in one afternoon - I could not put it down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't care what everyone said about the book. I thought it was a great book, and the author had some guts to write about her experiences! So, don't listen to everyone else, this book was GREAT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book... filled with terrifying and chilling tales of debt, shopping, and more debt. If you've never been in debt, reading this book with insure you'll never make these mistakes - ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw Karyn's website when she started it last year. Very creative idea. The book gave a great insight into her life and how she ended up in debt.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book itself is well written, but the content is a waste of your time. I assumed editors made the book flow well. Does anyone care about how some 30 something chick can't stop shopping, and then begged her way back from bankruptcy. I have met Karyn before, and found her quite nice, and her little dog too.