Q: With everything happening with the economy, I find I’m having trouble making ends meet. I’ve run up a considerable credit card debt and I want to ask my parents for some help, but I don’t know how to do this. We never talked about money and I’m ashamed that I let my finances go down this far. I feel like it’s a shame having to go to them for money now that I’m an adult. What should I do?

Signed, Financially Desperate

A: Stop using your credit card NOW! Never be ashamed to ask for help. If your parents are financially stable, discuss the matter with them. Perhaps you can make arrangements with them to borrow the amount of the debt and pay them a certain amount each payday.

Another means of obtaining money is getting a loan from your bank.

Here are some suggestions to keep from getting into deeper debt:

1. Try to discipline yourself on how and why you spend your money. Think to yourself, “Do I really need this?”

2. Don’t be tempted to go to department store sales.

3. Look through the grocery store ads, which are delivered every week, and watch for sales. On some Fridays at Vons, you can purchase a whole roast chicken for $5. (You can always freeze half of the chicken.)

4. Buy the large size of mayonnaise, ketchup or relish. After using for the first time, keep them in the refrigerator and they will stay fresh for months.

5. Shop at the 99-cent stores for greeting cards (birthday, anniversary, etc.), paper goods such as lunch bags, food storage bags, trash bags, Kleenex.

6. Do more cooking at home and try not to eat out too often. (If you don’t enjoy cooking, try those in my article “Potpourri Recipes” or buy Marie Callender’s or other companies’ frozen dinners.)

7. Limit your entertainment expenses to $30 a month.

8. Walk to do your errands if the distance is four blocks or less and then you can save on gas — that is, if you own a car.

Q: If a friend is using racial humor, what should one do?

A: If the humor is obscene, soul-piercing or derogatory, try not to react by laughing or smiling. Don’t say anything. If your friend continues to use this type of racial humor, just let him know you don’t appreciate such humor.

For example, during World War II, there were many cartoons representing the Japanese emphasizing slant eyes and buck teeth. That is an example of derogatory racial humor and unacceptable.

However, I think racial humor and/or puns can be enjoyed, such as the following:

Mr. Sato goes to an optometrist. The optometrist, after examining Mr. Sato’s eyes, says, “Mr. Sato, you have a cataract.” Mr. Sato replies, “Oh no, I no have Cadillac, I have a Rincon Continental.”

I will always remember Walter Mondale was vice president when Jimmy Carter was president: Kata monderu (“massaging shoulders” in Japanese).

Please note the following: Since Michael Hirano-Culross, a kind co-worker, made it possible for my email to once again function, I would love to hear from you at: Also, I just LOVE receiving letters.

Meow and have a great week!

Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. She can be reached at Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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