Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Is it just me, or was September a long month? I had to wait for payday so that I could top up my phone. I don’t have a plain contract anymore… learned that lesson the hard way.

Point is, I’ve been watching way too much you tube, and my data bundle depleted. And I didn’t have any splurge money left for myself.

Monday was payday! So I recharged and bundled and am working on this week’s posts. Hang in there.

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It’s been a while since I have officially updated what’s happening at the building site.

It’s amazing how fast people can build. The only reason it’s taking a bit longer is cause there are other factors delaying delivery of some materials and now our house is sort of in limbo.

But let’s play catch-up quick quick.

The foundation got dug earlier cause the builder had a gap where he was waiting on bricks from our local brickworks Namakwa Stene. [We’re also using these bricks – more on that later. ] The looked really small – I mean, really small. I know it’s an illusion, but still. On a positive note, our garden looks bigger than we expected. Maybe when the house is roof-height we’ll differently, but the garden is bigger than a postage stamp – yay!

After about a month, the contractor had finished his other job and tackled our house – I mentioned I forgot to mention that he prefers to work in one town at a time. I think the plinth is simply gorgeous. I love these bricks. AND they are cheap, cause there is very little transport involved. We’re using Namakwa Stene’s range of clay bricks for the whole house – focus wall and all. Although I would have preferred to have the red clay ‘ugly’ bricks as my focus wall, and not the decorative bricks – but that’s another can of worms I decided not to open.

I met with the builder one afternoon – he came to my workplace – and I showed him … dun dun DUN…  The Book. This book is where I pasted all my ideas for the house. And then it decided to rain inside our current house (the geyser sprung a leak RIGHT above where my pc stands – I still cringe when I think of walking in on indoor rain that steamed up the windows) and The Book got wet. The pages dried ok’ish, but some of them stuck together, so now it looks more like a toddler attempt at spoeg-en-plak. Needless, it seems like he has worked with women before.

I’ve called him a few times since then to discuss ideas. Sounds like this man is also doubling up as my interior designer – or at least my soundboard. I’ll give him my idea and he says if he can make it work. And he’s honest about costs too. He’ll tell me what option is the more expensive one – it’s usually the one I have my heart set on anyway.

He gave me some brochures the other day to look at tans and san. Apparently he can get a good price if I choose there. But tap-wise, there isn’t anything that REALLY catches my eye. Still trying to convince Henk to got with a range I saw at Bathroom Bizarre, but we can get it for a lot less from Builder’s Warehouse. (we need to fit in another Cape Town trip)

(almost up to date)

We’ve changed our minds about the bathroom twice now. They are small. The inside walls are high enough that you can get a sense of the house, and they are tiny. And I asked him to build extra shelves in the shower wall too. NOW the shower are even smaller. Or they feel smaller. But size, too, is sometimes only an illusion. Henk and I saw a way to make it appear bigger. We’re going to use a half-wall with a glass panel on top to give it height, and then still a glass pivot door. Think Henk still has to talk to the contractor to see if he can make it work.

They haven’t started with the braai area yet – and I KNOW Henk has changed his mind on the size and spot for it. Will have to see if we can alter it a bit.

Way at the beginning I was a bit vague with the ‘house in limbo’ part. Specifically, we are waiting for our windows. We had settled for steel ones, but heard from a few people what bad quality our local shops are supplying. So we decided on wooden ones – although I’m dreading the maintenance. And then a funny thing happened. Somehow Henk mentioned our windows to a guy who builds aluminium windows here and he says that really, they are not THAT expensive. Wooden ones a about the same price. Think about it: Wooden frames don’t have glass in yet – you still have to buy that separately. But aluminium windows already have the glass installed. *bing* the light goes on, and now we are waiting for our windows. Apparently they are arriving tomorrow.

Also would have helped if the bank had done the first payment on time. Standard bank assured Henk that all the paperwork was in order – few days later they phoned to say that they need some original wat-wat-wat. So we didn’t have the money ready to buy the windows – and THAT is why the house is sort of not quite on track. Will check out tomorrow how it looks like so far.

That’s it – now you are up to speed, and I’ll do my bestest to update more regularly on our house – and I need to upload the accompanying pics.

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I have jumped onto the online shop bandwagon. Had to get creative as to where to host it. I saw some South Africans on etsy… but don’t know if I’m ready to go that route. My items are relatively cheap (ok ok, they are real cheap) and don’t think buyers will want to spend so much on postage. Locally it’s already pretty high as it is.

Browsing the magazine rack at Spar the other day (I don’t usually buy magazines – unless I’m entirely sure I will read and use at least half of the articles.), so I see a beading mag and buy it. Somewhere near the back is an ad for selling your goodies on Bid or Buy. I saw that as the final sign and uploaded my first little batch on Sunday! So exciting… and so confusing!

 Well, confusing at first. Eventually sort of figured out what all the jargon means (ok, so maybe the words are all in plain English, but I wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer yesterday). I think it’s the negative ratings that scare me. That I might upset a buyer and that will ruin all future transactions.

Will try to upload some more products tonight. And I have to make some more. Check out the ones i DO have up!

And I really need to sell these cause there are these findings I want – the CUTEST ever – and I want to make a special product that I saw in that bead magazine I got… but it’s going to cost me at least R300 to get the beads I want… and postage still has to added. So instead of breaking the bank NOW, I’ll wait until I’ve sold a few things and maybe I can build up a clientele or better reputation… or I’ll just wait for payday and buy those beads anyway 😉

(deliberate typo in the header)

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After giving up on finding financing ourselves, dealing with incompetent bank employees, and wasting time in waiting rooms… we contacted a type of broker.

ABSA (of all places – I left them because of repeated bad service) offered us a 90% loan, which was one of the fairest offers we got. But the broker lady suggeted we wait until all offers returned.

And then we got our ray of sunshine. Standard Bank is willing to give us a 100% loan! At a pretty decent rate. And they accept the bought-and-paid-for empty property as security for a full loan. Bliss! Local lawyers will contact us to come sign the agreement that they’re drafting. Super! No problemo! Right! Right?

More like Not-right-now. We would have signed the document today. But turns out it was set up as if Henk and I are married in community of property. *sigh* we’re not. We did the whole pre-nup/ante-nuptial thing outside community of property.

SO now the bank has to resubmit the request to the lawyers to draw up the contract yadda-yadda-yadda. It’ll take another week at least. Technically we can start building, cause the bank pays out an in 4 installments, the first of which only after the foundation is laid and I tink window sill height. But we’re not going to risk it. Rather wait for ALL the paperwork to be complete.

Here’s to wedded agreements!!

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See a penny, pick it up, and all day long you’ll have good luck.

We don’t use pennies over here anymore. Since 1961 the Rand has been our currency, with 100 cents in 1 Rand.

The R1 itself has also changed face since then; from the paper note with Jan van Riebeeck’s portrait, to the giant sized silver-metal coin with a jumping Spingbuck, and since 1989’ish the smaller, thinner coin that we know today.

Which brings me to my money question, since we are/not/are in a recession: For what value of dropped coins is it not faux pas to bend down and pick it up?

Just a photon thought that struck me as a kind stranger picked up my dropped coins today at the supermarket; I was carrying Amelia in one arm and trying to put change in my purse with the other. As I watched my R1.05 roll away, I thought ‘Is it really worth the effort to chase after the 2 coins, or can I let them go?’ Then I started thinking that if I let it go, people might think that I don’t care if I dropped it, it won’t make me any poorer, to heck with the economic strain. Or they might think that I’m so hard up for cash, that I will stoop to pick up a 5c piece; things must be really bad, or I’m just a Scrooge.

Then the other part of my brain said to quit worrying about what other people think, leaving the coins on the floor is just as bad as littering – and look, that nice man has picked them up for you while you’ve been debating loose change.

I pocketed the money and put it in Amelia’s piggy bank when we got home.

(To put it in perspective, you can buy…maybe…not even, a small packet of Snax chips with R1. Almost a lollipop. Can’t buy anything really. A third of a pack of 2-minute-noodles on special)

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We got the plot. We got the plan. Now we need the money. We definitely don’t have the cash, so we gather all relative documents and get ready to humbly grovel on the scotch-guarded carpets of our local banks. Even make appointments: We start with FNB and Nedbank (Yes, I will name them, cause then I get to shame them)

Henk fetches me from work a few weeks ago for our back2back appointments with relative consultants. We get ushered us a creaky staircase at FNB (notice how FNB banks are always in the oldest, museum-y type buildings). We announce ourselves at the little window; gosh, that lady was rude. She asks if the consultant is expecting us. We reply yes, we have an appointment. She looks over to a closed door; says that it looks like there is someone in there with her, we have to wait.

Now, I am sorry but since when is having x-ray vision a pre-requisite to work in a bank?! She didn’t phone to check if there’s anyone in there, but we trusted her judgement – LAST TIME I EVER WILL. And we wait. We wait 20mins. Another customer stumbles up the stairs and insists he is waiting for important documents and wants to see the consultant NOW – presto, no one in the office except the consultant lady herself. Glare-glare mumble-mumble we walk in; only to be told that this is the first time in 12 years at working at the bank that she has to apply for a building loan. We should have turned around and walked out. But we didn’t. We waited patiently while she downloaded the needed paperwork – No, she wasn’t prepared for our meeting. (I was tweeting furiously by then about staff incompetence; cause I like my coffee with a bit of passive aggressive milk in it.). Half an hour of answering questions later, we trek across the road to our next appointment.

At Nedbank the consultant was ready with papers and terms and conditions and advice and a pen. I felt more at ease when she said that she regularly applies for building loads. Our expenses were also more thoroughly discussed and documented. And she understood what we meant by using the plot as security to get a 100% loan.

I had mixed feelings when returning to work. I was excited at this next big-huge step we have taken… but apprehensive at the outcome of our applications.

Why only apply at these banks you ask? Henk and I both have accounts with FNB, so hopefully that counts in our favour. Nedbank is known for good service and competitive interest rates. I’m still boycotting ABSA after my 10 years of loyal service cause they stuffed up a LOT the previous year; and we don’t know anything about Standard bank, so ignorance is bliss.

Now we wait and see if we get some money.

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ETA: 30 April 2010

I’m recycling this post {pun intended} for Someday Crafts Categorically Crafting linky party. The theme is TP Rolls!

 It’s called the Silly Season for a reason. Expenses just seem to mount up.
If you are like me and leave everything to the last minute, you will find that all the good stuff is already sold out. And you don’t even get decent discount on the cracked Xmas balls.

So in the spirit of being frugal and going green I will show you how to customise your Christmas Table with these DIY Napkin rings. You can recycle old ribbon if you have any. I bought mine as it was cheap; Wide ribbon was R1.85 pm, and sequin R2 pm.

You will need:

What you need

What you need

  • Empty toilet paper tube
  • Ribbon in your choice of colour at least 10mm wide.
  • Thinner ribbon or sequin strand in your choice of colour
  • Double-sided tape (I used the thin one cause the shop didn’t have the regular sellotape sized one)
  • Scissors

Optional extra:

Optional extras
Optional extras
  • Paint to match the main ribbon. I used poster paints from previous projects. It’s not worth buying new just for this project.
  • Craft knife or scalpel blade

Tip: For a standard tube you need about 13cm of ribbon per layer per ring. Calculate how much you need so you don’t over spend.


Cut empty tube in rings slightly narrower than your wide base ribbon e.g. my ribbon is about 10mm, I cut the rings 6-7mm. When using scissors try not to bend the tube too much as to warp it. This tube forms the support for the whole napkin ring. I used a craft knife.

Optional: Mix some paint to match your main base ribbon colour, paint the rings paying close attention to the inside and edges. Leave to dry.

Sticking the ribbon

Sticking the ribbon

Stick double-sided tape along the outside of the (painted) ring. Remove the paper covering the tape. Stick the edge of the base ribbon in the centre of the ring and carefully wrap around the ring, sticking to the tape. Ensure the edges align. You can quickly move the ribbon if you went skew. Cut the end of ribbon. I left a slight overlap and secured it with a little bit of double-sided tape, just to give it a neater finish. Press ribbon all along the ring to make sure it sticks.

Using Double-sided tape

Using Double-sided tape

Wrap another round of double-sided tape around the ring with ribbon. Be careful to wrap in a straight line and ensure the edges align. Remove the cover of the tape.

Stick the sequin layer

Stick the sequin layer

Carefully stick the sequin string around the ribbon ring, keeping a straight line and aligning the beginning and end.





Continue for all your rings. Voila! Home made customised napkin rings. Perfect for Christmas dinner, or even as a gift!

Ready for the table

Ready for the table

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