Value retailer boosts education by supporting literacy development

In 2015, value retailer Ackermans partnered with the national reading-for-enjoyment campaign, Nal’ibali, and Wordworks to start the Ackermans Ububele School to support early childhood development. In 2016, the 14 schools totalling 458 children in Grade R and 1,037 in Educare Centres. The participating schools are divided into two clusters, Belhar and Langa, each with a leading primary school and an Educare centre that feeds each primary school.
Value retailer boosts education by supporting literacy development
“Our School and governing body was keen to support the programme for the community and the parents. It is preparing for the future and if we are preparing for the future we must start at the base,” said Fezile Mguqlwa, principal of Zimasa Primary School in Langa.

“Developing literacy among young children is one of the first steps towards unlocking a child’s potential and building a brighter future for them through education,” says Tracey Jager, HR Director of Ackermans. “Recognising that parents and teachers in developing areas have greater challenges when it comes to providing for children’s educational needs, we partnered with Storyplay, Nal’ibali’s latest literacy approach. We have also donated stationery and assisted with much-needed classroom upgrades.”

These extra donations include 1,235 backpacks and 2,315 storybooks.

Value retailer boosts education by supporting literacy development
Ackermans Phadimas (as the staff are known) have also contributed by donating cushions, rugs, puppet theatres and sock puppets.

“What this programme has done for the children is made them think broadly and has opened a lot of their thinking skills,” said Langa-based Monwabisi Pre-school principal, Tutu Nontuthuzelo Sibenya.

“Part of Bringing Value to Life means making a real difference in our communities and showing that we care about the future of our children,” says Hanifa Jassiem, CSI spokesperson at Ackermans. “The word Ububele means kindness and generosity and through this we would love to see our Ackermans Ububele Schools grow. We are in the second year of a three-year plan and we hope that the results will testify to the value it delivers and that the programme has room for growth to more schools in the Western Cape and eventually other provinces too.”

Ten-year-old blogger wins national 2016 Ackermans Style Squad competition

Ten-year-old Luzuko Banda (a.k.a. “Zuko”) of Germiston had his creativity well rewarded when he was selected as the winner of the 2016 Ackermans Style Squad competition. He was chosen from 20 finalists from across South Africa who shared their love for fashion in the value retailer’s annual competition for 9- to 14-year-olds.
Luyanda Banda (Zuko’s Sister) Dineo Banda (Zuko’s Mom) Zuko Banda (Style Squad 2016 Winner)
Luyanda Banda (Zuko’s Sister) Dineo Banda (Zuko’s Mom) Zuko Banda (Style Squad 2016 Winner)
The Style Squad participants received Ackermans vouchers to spend on creating outfits for the nine fashion related challenges they had to complete and share in their blog posts on the Ackermans website. They also received an iPad mini and data to use for their monthly blog posts that showed other kids and their parents how to be on-trend without breaking the bank.

“Zuko has such great confidence and style. He really impressed the judges in the Fashion DIY activity with how he transformed his merchandise into something extraordinary, trendy and unique. He could take items and make them his own through styling and accessorising. His blogs were well written, easy to relate to and fun to read. He put a great deal of effort into every activity,” says Tanya Ruiters, Marketing Specialist of Ackermans and Project Manager for Style Squad.

Zuko won R15,000 cash as well as a R15,000 educational policy to further his studies. Over the past 12 months, he has also been given R2,250 worth of Ackermans vouchers, an iPad mini and 24GB of data. His prize was handed over on Wednesday, 24 August, at Freeway Park Primary in Boksburg, where he goes to school.

“I am extremely proud of Luzuko. From the very beginning I have believed that he could win it and now it really is a dream which has been realised. At times I find myself looking back at all his activities to see how far he has come. I’m thrilled that part of the prize is towards his education and with the other part of the prize he can finally reward himself with things he has always wanted, which he deserves after all his hard work. In today’s world an investment in a child’s education and future can make all the difference and I believe that the money he has won for his education will make a difference in his life and serve as a reminder of the importance of education,” said his mother, Dineo Banda.

Ackermans will once again give fashion savvy South African kids a chance to show their style and creativity with the 2017 Style Squad competition, where they can win their share of R250,000’s worth of prizes and something which money cannot buy – to be revealed soon!

Ackermans launches kids Style Squad range

Ackermans is proud to introduce two of South Africa’s up-and-coming kids clothing fashion designers. 12-year-old #Jodi_V from Cape Town and 14-year-old Bongz from Johannesburg are the talented duo that conceptualised this exclusive limited edition, Style Squad clothing range for kids aged 7 to 14.
Ackermans launches kids Style Squad range
#Jodi_V and Bongz were members of last year’s Ackermans Style Squad – a group of 20 of the country’s most fashionable kids between the ages of 9 and 14 who blog monthly on the Ackermans’ website. It’s all about fashion advice for kids by kids.

The Style Squad Competition is the first of its kind in South Africa. It aims to recognise children who have a love for being creative with fashion and – on top of that – are able to express themselves by blogging about it. The kids of South Africa have style and Ackermans was able to provide a platform where their talent can be recognised. Through this life-changing experience, the Style Squad kids not only get to become famous in their own right, they were also rewarded with an iPad, monthly vouchers and are taught the skills needed to take good photos and write good blogs.

“It is truly amazing to see how the Style Squad bloggers improve their photographic techniques and writing skills over time,” says Marketing Director, Louise Hamman.

Every month for 12 months, the Style Squad members have to complete a fashion challenge. One of the 2014 challenges was to test their fashion designer skills. For this they had to put together a fashion range. #Jodi_V and Bongz were the winners.

In April this year the two of them visited the Style Squad Headquarters at the Ackermans Head Office in Cape Town. Here they worked with the Ackermans buyers and planners and over three days designed a range that had achieved fantastic sales at all Ackermans stores nationwide (Launch date: 29 October 2015).

#Jodi_V’s Tropical Summer range features fun prints and girly silhouettes, while Bongz’s collection is all about Urban #Swag, using influences from top R&B singers as well as Johannesburg settings.

Moms of teenagers were over the moon about these two ranges, consisting of six items each, since they take the guesswork out of what picky teens can be like! They are well priced and were designed to be mixed and matched, making them great value for money from as little as R49.95. It’s a win-win situation – your teen is on trend and your budget is in check.

What did being part of the Style Squad journey mean to them? “I’ve had amazing experiences. Being part of Style Squad has opened loads of doors for me and gave me opportunities I will forever be grateful for,” said Bongz. “I’ve learned there are endless possibilities out there”, said #Jodi_V. “If I believe and push beyond the boundaries, not even the sky is the limit.”

Bank Of America Refinance Mortgage Rates – Boa Home Loans Up In April 2010 As Treasury Yields Rise

Bank of America refinance mortgage rates have been at historically low levels for the firs three months of 2010. In April, many things have changed as home loans are pushing higher with rates close to 5.25%. Since the beginning of April mortgage interest rates have move up from 4.75% to 5.15%. No one knows if this trend is going to continue for the short term but in the long term many analysts continue to predict higher rates.

At the beginning of the year many analysts and economists predicted that home loan rates were likely to move up in the Spring of 2010. At the beginning of the Spring we saw 30 year fixed rates around 4.75% but that did not last long as the 10 year treasury rate yield started up trending. Over the last few weeks we have seen the 10 year yield break through its 50 day moving average and work its way much higher. This is a sign that higher rates are likely to come in the very near future.

Bank of America is considered one of the Big Four banks along with JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. These banks and mortgage lenders have had the luxury of a low interest rate environment for over 18 months. Now that rates are moving higher it will be very interesting to see how these banks adjust their marketing strategy. It is no longer going to be the case that customers are knocking on their doors because Bank of America refinance mortgage rates are not likely to stay low much longer.

How To Find Your Home Loan Online

Finding the perfect loan today is not at all what it used to be. With a computer, you have access to an almost unlimited number of sources from which to apply for your home loan. Here are some tips on how to decide which online loan is best for you.

1. Understand Details Of Home Loans

Before you can apply and get reasonably accurate results, you should have a good understanding about mortgages and the terms used. Some of the blanks that you need to fill in on an online application will require specific information. You need to determine before you apply whether you want an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) or a fixed rate mortgage (FRM). Other considerations involve the amount you want to use for a Downpayment, the length of the mortgage you want, the features of the mortgage such as balloon, interest only, piggyback, etc.

Some websites will not allow you to put in all the data you want, but you should be ready with it for a more accurate quote. You should only apply at those websites that allow you to enter the special options you are looking for – otherwise there may not be a real basis for comparison.

2. Apply To Multiple Sites

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to get a rather broad range of applications in to various companies. Even though one website may provide you with more than one offer, you still want to go and get online quotes from other sources. The obvious reason is that all the quotes might come from the same source and therefore be similar. Multiple sources will give you wider possibilities as well as a greater potential for a good deal on your home loan.

3. Put In Quote Requests On Same Day

Interest rates are constantly changing on the US housing market. This means that the interest rates may not be the same two days in a row. In order to see your home loan quote results that are truly comparable, you should try and get your applications in on the same day.

4. Compare Offers

After you get the quotes from various sources, you want to take some time and look them over carefully. It is not enough just to compare interest rates, you will need to go much further than that. When one home loan does not have one charge or fee, it could be just that it is hidden or combined with another one.

In order to decipher the various costs, you should separate the principal from the other things, and then compare what is left. Eliminate the ones that are not even close, and these you will probably be able to see rather quickly. For the remaining ones, consider the total costs over the whole home loan, the terms involved, and your options. Make sure that there is not any penalty for early closure, and see if you have any guarantee of refinancing – especially if it is an ARM, and for balloon loans.

Remember that the fees may sometimes be negotiable, so if an offer is close to what you want, you may try this before you eliminate it. If your credit rating is low, you need to know that online quotes may not include that possibility.

Should I Get A Fixed Rate Home Loan?

“If you’ve started looking into getting a home loan, you’ve probably already discovered that there are a number of decisions to be made. One of the biggest ones is whether to get a fixed rate home loan or to go with a variable rate home loan. Here are some of the questions that you might have about a fixed rate home loan:

1) What is a fixed rate home loan?

It basically is what it sounds like it is. With a fixed rate home loan, the interest rate on your loan does not fluctuate. This means that the market and economy might change but the interest rate that you locked in at with your fixed rate home loan remains the same.

2) What are the pros and cons of a fixed rate home loan?

At the outset, fixed rate home loans usually have a higher interest rate than those being offered by variable rate home loans. Those individuals who aren’t able to pay higher monthly payments on their loan may find that the variable interest rates give them better payment options initially. However, since variable interest rates go up and down, there are times when the fixed rate home loan rates would be cheaper.

Individuals who are able to do well with budgeting and planning often find that the benefits of having a fixed rate home loan payment outweigh the benefits of a lower initial interest rate. This is because the amount of the payment on a fixed rate home loan can always be anticipated, allowing for budgeting. Variable rate loans vary enough to make this planning difficult for some people.

3) Is it possible to adjust the rate on my fixed rate home loan?

What most people want to know when they ask this question is whether it is possible to get a fixed rate loan and then lower that rate when the market changes and lower interest rates become available. The answer is yes, and no. It is possible to refinance your home in order to obtain a lower interest rate at the time that it is being offered. However, there are usually fees associated with changing your fixed rate home loan. These fees almost always outweigh the costs saved on trying to get the lower rate, so it’s not often done.

4) How long will it take to pay back my fixed rate home loan?

The term of repayment on your fixed rate home loan depends upon the amount of time that you need to repay the loan as determined by your lender. Fixed rate home loans are almost always either fifteen year loans or thirty years loans, with the latter being more common for most buyers.

That sums up the basic questions that most people have about getting a fixed rate home loan. Basically, if you want to have a stable monthly payment throughout the duration of your home loan, then you should get a fixed rate loan. If you would rather take your chances on playing the market with a variable interest rate in the hopes of paying a lower loan rate, well, that choice is up to you.”

Are You In Need Of Home Loan Specials?

Although people do not really wish for it, there comes a time that money becomes so hard to come by. The situation even worsens if there are payments needing to be settled or expenses needing to be addressed. In this kind of situations, people are forced to apply for home loans to make sure that both ends meet.

Home loans were specifically made for people who are in need of cash but have assets like houses that can be used as collaterals. However, the availability of this temporary financial solution does not mean that people should jump onto them. Deciding on getting a home loan should still entail careful planning. As such, it might be best for the applicant like you to settle for home loan specials.

What are home loan specials?
Because of the big impact of home loans to the financial situation of applicants, banks and financial institutions crafted a way by which people could get the best deals when it comes to such loans. Thus, the birth of home loan specials.

Home loan specials can be considered as promotional offers or packages that applicants could avail when applying for home loans. Although offered by most financial institutions, not all lenders have home loan specials.

The “special” features of home loan specials can also vary from one company to the next. Some of these offers may provide lower interest rates or longer loan duration. It all depends on the kind of offer that the company can give.

Where should I get home loan specials?
Ask your lender about home loan specials. Chances are, they have a wide offering of home loan specials that you can choose from. You could also get the advice of your loan broker to get more details about these packages.

You can also try checking with the information office of financial institutions. Bank websites also sometimes contain updates on the home loan specials their company is offering.

Should I opt to get home loan specials?
Like all other loans, opting to get home loan specials require thinking time. Contemplate on the features and offerings of home loan specials. After that, justify if you really need those features. Asking yourself if the features will provide you great advantage would also help.
Although home loan specials are initially designed to make life easier to loan applicants, not all of them are suitable for all people. Consider your monthly income and the monthly expenses you will make. Add up the costs of the interests or part of the loan you have to pay for every month. Doing so will give you an idea of the would-be impact of home loan specials to your life.

If you are still clueless, try seeking the help of a financial analyst. These professionals will definitely give you a sound advice regarding your current financial situation. A financial analyst is also trained in foreseeing financial problems caused by the acquisition of certain loans. So, better consider getting an expert’s opinion.

Refinancing Home Loan – Important Things You Need To Know

There are numerous refinancing house loan options and a great number of try to make the best use of them and obtain better monthly rates. It definitely sounds scary to be in debt for 30 years from now on, but a lot of families lack options and prefer to take this task in order to have a place they can call ‘home’ and ‘personal property’.

Try to understand the nuances of the refinancing mortgage loan process, and do this before actually following through one way or another. Refinancing is a great one when it brings benefits:

-it consolidates debt;

-it assists you save thousands;

-it allows to get into home equity.

However, there are cases when refinancing home finance loan options aren’t ideal for you. There are numerous online calculators that you can use to see whether this type of solution would really be in your benefit or not. You must check the numbers to see where you stand.

Most mistakes would be the direct consequences of too little awareness. You need to understand what you look for to attain by refinancing mortgage. If this isn’t your case, you are able to easily fall prey to unethical mortgage brokers that won’t mind taking advantage of your naivety and credulity. All experts say that mortgage refinancing isn’t for the uninformed because you must have the capability to match all of the lenders, the loan offers and also the options available.

For a person that lacks knowledge and understanding of the credit mechanisms, the process might be really baffling and overwhelming. Study the advantages and disadvantages of every deal that is advised to you and then you can certainly decide in full familiarity with the specific situation.

Refinancing home loan issues also appear due to your need for flexibility. Many individuals wish to pay back debt faster, however they realize that by doing so they have to pay ‘unexpected’ fees and commissions. This usually happens because you didn’t pay attention to the contract as a result when you initially signed for the loan. When trying to refinance it, a lot of things blow up in your face.

I suggest that you will get familiar with the key forms of loans and learn what each of them involves. You can find adjustable rate mortgage, fixed rate mortgage, balloon home loan, home equity loan and personal credit line. Each has good bits and bad bits, but you should look into everything to be in a position to choose which matches your circumstances best.