Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back by Karyn Bosnak (2003)

Ever wondered how is shopaholic's day-to-day life is? You can have it all in great detail from shopping Bloomingdale's, buying Guccis, to facials and bikini waxing. And details on good dates and bad dates too, which in many cases are strangely being associated with restaurants as recommended in Zagat's. One wonders which has the worst impact, the spending beyond means (which was apparently a habit from teenage years) or showing off beyond means (maybe having a semi-clerical, semi-creative job like a show producer does not really "require" you to wear Gucci, Prada and whatever those other names were)? Of course these may not even be separated clearly from each other. But regardless, Karyn does have creative skills (including the accidentally discovered American Express credit refund policy, were refunds are processed right away, while purchases only posted the end of the billing cycle, making it a creative way to finance/roll-forward credit balance), and out of desparation with credit card debt and being jobless, she came up with the idea of Save Karyn website requesting readers to contribute some amount to help her paying out her $20,000.00 credit card debt (it should be mentioned, that she already was working with a credit counselor trying to pay down the debts), which became a recognized success. She posted progress on her site, with "Daily Buck" (how I saved a buck today) and fan/hate mail and replies. The website allowed her to pay off debt, write this book and other books, essentially transforming her from a low paid TV show producer to a somewhat recognized book author. Save Karyn was not the first "tipjar", begging website, that distinction seem to belong to SendMeADollar. At around the same time (2001-2002), OddTodd was also born, describing day-to-day existance of unemployed Todd. Her site also triggered satire, parody and hate sites, including Don'tSaveKaryn, SaveKayrnNot, Save Karyn's Complexion, Save Sheeba, and others (many of them disappeared or taken over spam sites, a good list of related sites is collected at Aid Kim Links), while Save Karyn is still being used pitching Karyn's newest book). There is also the Million Dollar Homepage since, marketing creativity is abound on the Net. Good for a light read.

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