Shopping an Addiction?

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Can shopping become a serious addiction?

Numerous people see a trip to the mall as a recreational experience. For them shopping is not about picking up necessities; no – it is an opportunity to seek out bargains, to get updated on the latest trends and fashions and to forget about the harsh realities of life for a while. It is a chance to escape into a world where everything is available and a reason for enjoying a little forbidden fruit in the form of a designer coffee and a slice of cream cake. No wonder people commonly talk about “retail therapy!”

 Psychologists and experts warn that shopping can become an addiction. Too many people spend money that they truly cannot afford to spend on things that they do not truly need. This can have an effect similar to that experienced by drug users: first there is the euphoria of buying stuff and then comes the ugly reality of financial difficulties and the stress that it involves. It is a never ending cycle because the only way in which to escape the depression and financial anxiety is to go to the mall again.

This addiction can become very serious. Compulsive shoppers often lie about their habits and they neglect their families’ basic needs in favour of their own desires. The urge to shop can become obsessive and destructive. Many therapists acknowledge this condition as a bona fide psychological disorder that requires treatment.

As is the case with all obsessive behavioural patterns the key to recovery lies in support. If shopping has become a problem it would be wise to visit the shops only when accompanied by a trusted friend or loved one. The friend should be tasked to make sure there is a shopping list and that only the items on it are purchased. If possible, shopaholics should try to avoid going to the shops at all, at least for a while. Instead, they should find an alternative activity such as volunteer work to keep them occupied and fulfilled.

Hooray, It’s Black Friday!

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Black Friday means Loads of Bargains!

Getting a real bargain is the one thing most people simply cannot resist. When it comes to Black Friday it is not just bargains that are offered; it is unbelievable bargains at prices that are sometimes hard to believe. In many cases people are able to purchase items that they would otherwise never be able to afford. Many people save up for months, hoping to get the chance to finally afford that one luxury that they covet. It used to be an American event, but the internet and online shopping have seen to it that people all over the world can look forward to a shopping extravaganza once a year. Black Friday is celebrated on the day after Thanksgiving and it marks the official start of the holiday shopping season. Many people see this day as part of the long Thanksgiving weekend.

In many big cities one can see people queuing all night long in front of the major stores. It is not even uncommon to see people camping out in tents for a couple of days before the event! There are good reasons for this type of zeal. Many stores offer astonishing bargains and shoppers want to make sure that the items they crave are still in stock when they get inside. Most stores beef up their security because shoppers have been known to get violent in their efforts to get the bargain of the year.

The name of this bargain day may sound macabre to some but it has its origin in the old accounting principle of recording losses in red and profits in black. Hence, Black Friday is the day retailers expect to get back into the black. Traditionally, bargains are only advertised on Thanksgiving Day. This is one of the reasons why newspapers traditionally have record sales on this holiday. Online shoppers have to wait until the day itself because most advertisers will only reveal their special offers on the big Friday!

Top 5 Vintage James Bond Cars

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The Top 5 Cars of 007

Before James Bond’s Aston Martin V12 Vanquish could turn invisible in Die Another Day (2002), the spy we all love and the villains he faced raced some top notch cars through the pages of Ian Fleming’s works.

Bond’s first car was a battleship-grey, 1933 4½ litre Bentley convertible – fitted with an Amhert Villiers supercharger.1 This Bentley is his car of choice in Casino Royale (1953), but is written off in Moonraker (1955) after first losing a chase to Hugo Drax’s Mercedes 300 S and then colliding with “some fourteen hundred tons of newsprint”.2 Though some Thunderbirds and even a Studillac (in Diamonds are Forever [1956]) appears in the books, the most famous of James Bond’s cars is probably the Aston Martin DB III – chosen from MI6’s fleet cars above the Jaguar 3.4.3

The most personalized of Bond’s cars, though, was dubbed “The Locomotive”4 – a Mark II Continental Bentley. Getting the car secondhand, he goes on to kit it out with:

  • a Mark IV engine with 9.5 compression
  • an “Arnott supercharger controlled by a magnetic clutch”5
  • a convertible hood
  • twin two-inch exhausts

and then Bond has it painted battle-ship grey like his 1933 Bentley.

In Goldfinger (1959) the villain Goldfinger’s 1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost6 – with a solid gold chassis – does, however, stand out above Drax’s Mercedes 300 S (Moonraker) Ernst Blofeld’s red Maserati (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service [1963])7 for pure character and theatrics. The cars in the James Bond books – and films – play almost just a big a part as the girls, gadgets, and guns in taking the audience on a action adventure they’ll never forget.

Chancellor, Henry. (2005). James Bond, the Man and His World: The Official Companion to Ian Fleming’s Creation. London: John Murray Publishers. ISBN: 9780-7195-6815-2

1 Chancellor, 2005:154

2 Chancellor, 2005:155

3 Chancellor, 2005:157

4 Chancellor, 2005:155

5 Chancellor, 2005:155

6 Chancellor, 2005:157

7 Chancellor, 2005:204



About the Author: Carin Marais

Carin Marais is a trained language practitioner living in South Africa. Her interests range from language, archeology, and mythology to speculative fiction, media, and technology. Links to her articles, fiction, posts, and contact information can be found at or follow her on @CarinMarais.


Business Insurance: Get it today!

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Avoid this!

Business Insurance: Wise advice made for wise choice

Xolani flicked an imaginary speck of dust from the shiny buffet and smiled proudly at her granddaughter, Themba.
“You’ve done well, my child. I’m sure you’ll have guests flocking to sample the menu when you open in a week’s time. I’m so excited for you!”
Beaming, Themba nodded and slid open the doors leading onto the wide verandah. “Come see the view, Gogo,” she invited and gestured to the panoramic vista of dozens of exquisite Baobab trees that stood scattered among thick Mopane bush.
“Ah, I see now why you named your coffee shop ‘The Baobab’!” Xolani exclaimed. Then she pointed worriedly to the dark, threatening clouds looming overhead. “It seems like we’re still in for some heavy rain today.”
“Yes, I don’t like the look of those clouds. It’s been raining almost nonstop for days now,” Themba frowned. “Come, let’s rather go inside, Gogo. I’ll make us some tea.”
Xolani and Themba had scarcely sat down to enjoy their tea and scones when the storm broke loose. The heavens opened and rain came down in buckets. Thunder clapped deafeningly and had the woman looking at each other wide-eyed with shock.
“Oh no!” Xolani suddenly yelled and jumped up, pointing to the ceiling. “Look, Gogo, the water is coming in! There and there and…”
“Careful that you don’t slip, Themba!” Xolani warned when she stepped into a pool of icy water that had accumulated in the middle of the floor. “Look, the water is coming in from under the doors as well!”
“It’s flooding, Gogo! My coffee shop’s flooding! What am I to do?” Themba cried. “All my savings went into this place. I’m supposed to open in a week!”
Xolani folder her arms around Themba and patted her soothingly on the back. “Hush, my child. Remember, you’ve got Dial Direct Business Insurance. Your coffee shop’s covered against floods. Dial Direct will take care of everything!”
“You’re right, Gogo!” Themba smiled through her tears. “You advised me to call Dial Direct on 0860 10 45 80 and get business insurance. You’re so wise, Gogo!”

Why don’t you follow Gogo’s wise advice?

This article was posted on and is reposted with permission.

Designer Insurance at Discount Prices

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Designer Insurance


Yes!!! Only for me, me, me.
Designer Insurance: What does it mean? Here is a list of what it does not mean:

1. It does not mean the Insurance sales executive wears garments bought in Milan and Paris that you could never dream of owning.

2. It does not mean if you break down in your car on the way to buy milk in the rain on a Sunday morning, and the roadside assistance people arrive, that they will refuse to help you because you are wearing sheepskin slippers and your old paint stained tracksuit.

3. It does not mean they (the assistants) will be wearing Armani suits or Jimmy Choo shoes.

4. It does not mean that the documents come in an Aldo crocodile handbag.

5. It does not mean you get a trip to Paris with Vogue if you dress really stylishly and wear Issey Miyake perfume.

6. It does not mean if you recognize the painting on the wall as a William Kentridge that they will adapt your premium payments.

7. It does not mean you will be interviewed by Alexander McQueen.
Some of or all of the above would be nice, wouldn’t it? Except perhaps the roadside assistant’s outfit unless his name is George Clooney.

Designer Insurance: What it does mean?

1. That the policy is tailor made just for you. I have so often been the odd one out – somehow my exact situation does not fit into any of the categories. No more ready-made parameters. “Fly against the wind” like Lord Byron! It is time that a woman’s individuality counts in her favour.

2. Three policy options: Comprehensive ( It ranges from medical to third party via break-ins and believe-it-or-not hail damage, to car hire options), 3rd party liability cover for fire and theft, and the decency to take responsibility (and avoid law suits) for damage caused by you to a 3rd party.

3. That you still get discounts for all sorts of things, including your gender (at last this benefits women!)

4. That you can stop feeling like an unreasonable, right brain bimbo just because you have specific requirements that any forward thinking, responsible adult should consider but are not quite compatible with existing terminology.

O.K: So, it does not exactly describe the shoes you fancy, but at a push it can understand the longing for them.

This article was posted on First for women and reposted with permission.

Afford a new car

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New car, old car?

How will consumers afford a new car?

Vehicle finance periods could be extended further in months to come as consumers try to decrease monthly installments to manage their cash flow. Is this a wise way to afford a new car?
Since the National Credit Act was implemented in 2007, vehicle finance periods moved from less than 50 months to around 70 months. Some financial institutions even offer terms up to 84 months.
Although consumers tend to pay off their contracts early, a further increase in the repayment period could have significant interest effects for vehicle buyers. It may constrain them to keep vehicles for longer, as the breakeven point (outstanding loan amount equal to the trade-in value), will be deferred.

Afford a new car: Trends

Statistics show the percentage of vehicle finance applications with deposits have declined over the last two years, while the applications with balloon payments (residual values) as well as the average contract terms, have increased rapidly.
Though some people are able to trade in their cars and acquire a deposit for the next one, this number is decreasing. People will definitely keep their cars longer. Sales of new vehicles declined in recent months as disposable income has reduced. New vehicle sales is expected to decline by 3% this year, while new passenger car sales could drop by 5%.
To afford a new car, consumers are buying smaller, fuel-efficient cars and there are still many first-time buyers coming into the market. Small cars ( to 1.7 litres) made up 67% of the total passenger market last year.

Afford a new car: Fuel prices

Fuel price increases have an effect on the buying trend. Petrol price increased by 287% and diesel price by 417% since January 2001. Compared to January 2010 prices have risen 83% (petrol) and 89% (diesel). Sales of hybrid cars increased sharply between 2010 and 2012, but have come down again, as hybrid cars are still expensive and the average buyer can’t afford it.
A tough environment is expected during the next 18 months and interest rate increases are expected. Consumers still have lots of debt and a rise in interest rates within depressed economic activity, will have unwanted impact.

You may have to keep your existing car somewhat longer, or you may be lucky enough to afford a new one. Whatever the case, you must always have Car Insurance!


Money spent on online games

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Online games

How much money do people spend on online games

Money makes the world go round. You can’t have anything you want without first having money to buy it with. Some spend money at local stores, helping to boost the economy. Some people have a boat load of money while other people have absolutely no money at all. Many individuals from each of these categories spend money on online games. It is impossible to say how much, but taking into consideration how much time is spent on online games, one can do the math.

A lot of people sit in front of their computers all day spending money on their favorite online game. Some bet in games like online poker, whilst others are into online role playing games like WarCraft. At this very moment in time more than half a billion individuals are spending one hour a day on online games and 183 million of the half billion are in the United States. Statistics reveal that the younger you are, the more likely you are to be one of these gamers. Fact is – 99% of boys and 94% of girls younger than 18 play online games on a regular basis. The average Joe/Jane spends 10,000 hours playing online games before they turn 21. This is 24 hours less than the average classroom time of all middle and high school IF the candidate has perfect attendance. I know! It’s shocking.  Another fact – in the United States alone, 5 million people are spending over 40 hours per week on online games. This is the equivalent of a full time job.

Now, even though I do not have the answer to exactly how much money people spend on online games, I can tell you that the amount of time they spend on these games is far too much. If we try to add up all the hours spent on online games, and try to work out how much money would be spent on online games per day, or week, or month, we would come to a staggering amount.

If people spend half as much time reading or writing, we may be able to salvage the unemployment situation. The world is uneducated because we live in the computer generation. No more books, no more monopoly or old fashioned brain food board games. We spend too much time doing things that are unimportant. Stop wasting time and money on online games – do something worth telling people about.

Have you spent any money on Insurance for your computer? Rather spend your money to cover you against unforeseen losses!



Questions to ask yourself before you buy property

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What you should know when buying property

Benjamin Franklin hit the nail squarely on the head when he said, ‘An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.’ When you are interested in investing in real estate, you should research your chosen market very carefully.

Ask yourself the following basic questions before you buy property to re-sell in future or rent out:

Question 1:
Would anyone be interested in buying the property from me at a higher price in future?

What will add more value to the property in future? Investigate the area in which the property is situated. Is it close to amenities such as shopping centers and schools? What is the crime rate for the particular area? (People will more readily buy property in a safe neighborhood.) What new developments are planned for the area in future? Will the new developments attract or deter potential buyers? Will it be easy for the owners to commute to work?

Question 2:
How much will I have to fork out to make the property more attractive for potential buyers?
Consider whether it will be worth your while to buy property on which you will have to spend extra before you can re-sell it in future. You will need to keep abreast of trends in the property market. Current buyers consider certain features as must-haves, for instance, a well-designed kitchen with plenty of working and storing space – a kitchen island is considered a high priority. Security features may also go a long way towards upping the desirability of property.

Question 3:
Are you looking for steady and reliable income at a possible risk to asset growth?

Instead of investing in one expensive property, you may want to invest in two or more cheaper units for the same amount of money. This strategy may help to protect your rental income risk. Say for instance the expensive property tenant skip a month’s rent – you’ll lose all your rental income for that month. If a tenant from one of your lower market units skip a month’s rent, you’ll still draw rental income from the other tenant/s. Keep in mind that lower market property may not appreciate in value robustly.

The golden rule for investing in property is to look for a good quality property at a fair price in a sought after area.

After you bought property, you’ll need Home Insurance for sure!





TOP 3 cheap motorcycle insurance companies

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TOP 3 cheap motorcycle insurance companies in South Africa

The TOP 3 selected South African Insurance Companies have earned the trust of numerous South Africans by sticking to their promises and providing their clients with exceptional value for money.

The TOP 3 options for decent cheap motorcycle insurance are:

Budget Insurance

Budget Insurance has been around since 1998 and they still provide South Africans with adequate insurance at low, low prices. Budget cuts the cost and not the cover.

1st for Women Insurance

1st for Women provides South African women with Designer insurance at Discount prices. Pay up to 29% less on vehicle insurance at 1st for Women just because you are a woman!

Dial Direct

Dial Direct is a household name and provides South Africa with simple, smart insurance. They cut the cost and stay abreast of international insurance trends in order to provide you with the best insurance around.

Really cheap motorcycle insurance for YOU

Budget Motorcycle Insurance: Comprehensive Cover

Your Budget Motorcycle Insurance: Comprehensive Cover offers the following:

  • You are covered whether you drive to work or back, as well as for social rides
  • Theft or damage
  • Towing and storage
  • Your accesories are covered if included in theft of your motorcycle
  • Your comprehensive Budget Motorcycle Insurance also covers you for damage caused by you to other parties and their property
  • If you transport your bike/s to another destination, also consider getting affordable, low premium Budget Car Insurance and Budget Trailer Insurance.

1st for Women Motorcycle Insurance Comprehensive Cover

Your 1st for Women Comprehensive Motorcycle Insurance covers your motorcycle against damage and theft. Additionally, in the unfortunate event of you being involved in an accident and the other party’s property is damaged, your Motorcycle Insurance covers damages and expenses regarding the unfortunate event.

Your affordable Motorcycle Insurance package include:

  • Towing & Storage of your motorcycle when involved in an accident (1st for Women Towline)
  • You get up to R50 000 for property damage per incident
  • Accessories are covered up to a certain specified amount
  • You also get a whole selection of FAB Benefits at 1st for Women.

Dial Direct’s Comprehensive Motorcycle Insurance package covers the following:

  • Immediate Motorcycle Insurance cover for third party incidents
  • Motorcycle Insurance includes South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe for social or work-related travel.
  • Original bike accessories is also covered by your Motorcycle Insurance package.
  • We handle motorcycle claim and repair processes on your behalf.
  • Dial Direct approved motorcycle repairs carry a lifetime guarantee.

Get your Cheap Motorcycle Insurance right NOW

Call any of the TOP 3 South African Insurance Providers for excellent insurance at a cost you can easily afford.