Money Is Only Paper


This week bubba talks money matters

Dear Bubba,

I got myself into a bit of a mess and I don’t know how to get out of it…

Some time ago, I really struggled to make ends meet. My job simply did not pay enough and yes, I guess in hindsight I now can see how lived above my means.

At the time, I made the mistake to apply for one of those one year 0% interest credit card offers and I also bought a few luxury household items on higher purchase agreements.

Bubba, I think you can see where this is going… I now have myself in such a financial fix, paying through my nose on interest and trying to cope with my day-to-day expenses. I have taken on a second job to supplement my income, but I am so over-worked and over-tired that I don’t sleep enough. I don’t see my friends anymore and my family are starting to get worried about me.

I’m too scared to talk to my family or friends about what is going, but also think, at the pace I’m going, I won’t be able to cope for much longer.

Please help me.


Dearest Darling Debra,

A financial fix, you say. Meh!

If I asked my father for the same advice you want from me, he would’ve said: “You got yourself into this mess, you get yourself out of!” 

You probably think my father’s words aren’t exactly the advice were are looking for, but part of what he would’ve said is true: You did get yourself into this fix and ever since, you have been trying to get yourself out of it… on your own! And that is so far your biggest mistake.

Why do you think we have friends and family? For decoration in photographs? Of course not! They are there to help us and support us through thick and thin.

You are not the only one who is trying to go it alone. People never talk about their problems. They love to talk about their success and when life is good. But when life is bad, we all go quiet. Suffer in silence, as they say.

In your case, I think you are more ashamed of your situation than what you are scared to talk about it. And if there is something you need to understand, then it is this: There is no shame in having financial difficulties. People make mistakes with money all the time.

So here’s what you need to do:

First, take that credit card right now and cut it up. No ifs. No buts.

Next, you are going to write down all your debt and prioritize what needs to get paid first. If I was you, I’d put the small amounts at the top of the list. Paying these first will give a sense that you are making some progress and from what I hear, you can certainly do with a boost of confidence.

Also, work out a basic budget showing your income from both jobs and all your outgoings. This might be the first time you see your financial reality on paper, but whatever you do, don’t panic when you see that you are spending much more than you earn. You know this already. So please, no drama. Once you have it all written down, you are going to review your budget to see where you can realistically cut costs. Remember: A pound saved is a pound earned.

Once you have done all of this, you take your budget and your list of debt and you visit your family. Speak to your papa and your mama honestly about your situation and ask them for help. By showing them your budget and your plan to pay your debt, they will see that you really want this to go away…

I tell you, if my Rochelle came home like this and asked for help, my Harry and I wouldn’t have thought twice to find a way to support her. After all, money is only paper and people often allow it to hold too much power in their lives.

I have to warn you though: at first your parents may not be impressed with you. Your papa might have some hard words to say and your mama might even cry… You just have to grin and bear it. In the end, you’ll feel better for being honest with them and I’m sure they will appreciate that you’ve come to them for help.

Of course, there are other things you can do too. For instance, you can speak to your bank about consolidating all your debt into one single loan, which is much easier to manage in one single monthly payment and since you already have a credit card with them this should be easy to arrange.

You also tell me that you work two jobs, don’t sleep, never socialise or don’t eat properly. Are you looking for your death? Your body can only take so much and by working all the time, not sleeping or eating enough and by isolating yourself, you will fall apart much sooner than you think.

Make time for yourself and give yourself some space where you are either resting and relaxing on your own or laughing and socialising with your friends. Take a break from your worries. Laughter, darling Debra, really is the best medicine… And no matter how you spend your time away from work, make sure that you have enough food to eat — you are Jewish, how can you not eat?!

Finally, I want you to remember this: Nothing in life is permanent. There are good times and there are bad times. We live through all of them. We survive the bad times and we celebrate the good ones. Don’t take any of it too serious.

I want you to walk to the mirror and take a good look at yourself and say: I am strong. I can do this!

Hold your head high and trust me, before you know it you will have control over your finances and life again.

Much love,

Bubba Ruth

If you have a dilemma and would like bubba’s advice, you can email her at, she can’t reply to you personally, in between her kalooki club and watching Masterchef, she doesn’t have much time but she promises she will post her reply on Jewish News and HotSaltBeef&Mustard (such lovely boys, as she says!).

Bubba believes ‘It doesn’t matter who you love, only that you choose to love’. We love bubba’s wisdom.


About Author

Bubba, or Ruth as her family knows her, is ’70-something young’… widow. She shared 35 wonderful years with her husband Harry. Bubba has a stunning daughter, Rochelle, and is grandmother to four wonderful grandchildren (including her beautiful lesbian granddaughter, India), who gives her more "nachus than she knows what to do with", as Bubba puts it. Bubba likes nothing better than a game of Kalooki and solving the crimes on Murder She Wrote… apart from watching every re-run of Masterchef. And of course, she loves your problems, because she can solve them… or at least try to help.

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