If your debts are getting out of hand, you could take a leaf out of cheeky Karyn's book. The cash-strapped American has set up a website begging for donations to help her out of the red.

The Save Karyn website tells how the author managed to get herself into $20,000 (about £13,000) worth of debt, by buying the latest fashion must-haves from one of New York's most expensive stores, Bloomingdale's.

While you might not imagine there'd be much sympathy for the self-confessed shopaholic, the site has received over 200,000 hits, and in just one month Karyn has been given £2,700 in donations.

In a further attempt to clear her balance, Karyn is also selling off many of her belongings on auction site Ebay.

But not everyone's happy with Karyn's plan to get back in the black. Bob and Ben, two guys who call themselves panhandlers have set up a rival Don't Save Karyn website.

They request you send your money to them instead, so that they can blow it on frivolous purchases — perhaps buying up Karyn's cast-offs on eBay?

After a quick look at our bank statement, we're considering importing the idea over here…