Credit Cards for Beginners

There’s a lot to know about credit cards, whether you’re thinking of getting one or you want to learn more about the card (or cards) you have. To help you out, we put together a simple credit card guide to help you use a credit card with confidence.

 

The Difference Between a Credit Card and a Debit Card

You might be unsure as to how to use a credit card for the first time, but in practice, it’s no different from using your debit card. The difference you need to keep in mind is that when you pay via a debit card, you’re using your own funds from the bank account that’s linked to your card. With a credit card, you’re using the line of credit you’ve been offered by your bank or credit union.

While using a debit card and a credit card may feel the same, it’s important to know how much you’ve spent with your credit card, and to pay it off as soon as possible.

 

Getting a Credit Card for the First Time

Before you apply for your first credit card, shop around and compare the credit cards available from various banks and credit unions. Consider what you want to prioritise for your credit card. For example:

  • Do you want a generous limit that lets you spend a large amount?
  • Do you want a lower interest rate?
  • Do you want access to rewards offered by certain cards?

There will be benefits to each option, but you’ll need to choose what’s right for you. It isn’t as simple as there being one best credit card for beginners, but credit cards with low interest and low fees are a good idea.

Once you’ve decided what card you want, you’ll need to apply for it. Just don’t apply for a lot of cards all at once when getting a credit card for the first time. If it looks like you’re trying to get a lot of credit cards, that can negatively impact your credit score.

 

The Dangers of Credit Cards

Most credit cards aren’t dangerous on their own; they don’t bite. But if you don’t keep an eye on your credit limit and spending, you might find yourself in a bad situation financially. If you don’t pay back your credit card spending (it’s usually billed on a monthly basis) you could be hit with a lot of fees and much higher interest on the amount owed.

Budget in a way that works for you. Some people create spreadsheets of their budget and write down every dollar they spend or gain. There are also plenty of mobile apps to help you stay on top of your finances. What matters isn’t the method you use, but that you have a method so that you never forget to pay your credit card bill on time. Your bank or credit union may even let you transfer funds into your credit account, paying off each purchase as you make it, so that the balance is never in the red for long.

 

The Benefits of Credit Cards

If you can manage your finances responsibly, credit cards can be very useful. Some debit cards may have hidden fees that you’ll face for high-cost or frequent purchases, so making those purchases with your credit card can actually save you money. There’s also the useful benefit of your credit score. Poor use of a credit card will hurt your credit score, but responsibly using a credit card and paying it off in time will help build a healthy credit record.

 

Alternatives to a Credit Card

You might consider applying for a credit card to cover an upcoming expense. Maybe a holiday, an event, a large purchase, or to cover an emergency. But a lot of the time, a credit card isn’t the solution to that kind of spending. A short-term loan might actually give you access to more funds and have a lower interest rate. If you don’t want a credit card for everyday spending, then a loan might be the better option for you.

 

How Much Could You Save If You Quit Drinking?

 

When you want to save money, you need to look at every aspect of your life and spot any unnecessary spending. Alcohol spending is a great choice to cut out or at least minimise, since for most people it’s not a must-have item – it’s just a small luxury to enjoy every now and then.

But are the savings really that big? How much does alcohol cost and how much money could be saved by not drinking? Let’s discuss.

 

The Average Cost of Drinking

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that in 2015-2016, the average Australian household was spending $32 a week on alcoholic beverages. That’s $32 that could be going into savings each week or that could be spent on the occasional splurge meal.

Don’t forget that if you’re someone who goes out to drink at clubs and pubs more than the average person, your costs will be higher still. Consider how much a single drink costs on a night out and come up with your own average weekly spending on alcohol.

Seeing friends and spending time with them is great, but try planning cheaper activities that will keep you all just as entertained without straining anyone’s budget.

 

The Other Costs of Drinking

A night out will cost you money as you buy yourself drinks, but don’t forget that there are other costs too. There’s the cover fee that some venues will charge, the hot chips and kebabs you crave throughout the night, the rideshare home, the expensive hangover meal the next day… it all adds up. The money you spend on alcohol isn’t the only money you could save if you quit drinking.

 

Overpriced Events

Putting on some fancy new duds and going to an event is exciting but costly, especially for drinkers. Sporting events, Oktoberfest events, National Beer Day or National Wine Day events, and festivals will all overcharge you for your drinks. While some of these events aren’t something teetotallers will enjoy (National Wine Day isn’t that fun without a glass of wine), some of them can be enjoyed without a drink, which can save you a lot of money.

 

What You Could Purchase Instead

For those already trying to build savings, the money saved by not drinking is already worth it. But if you’re not sure if it’s worth it, consider what else you could spend your money on.

If you’re considering quitting drinking to get healthier, the money you save could fund your gym membership. You could put the funds towards a holiday. You could relax with a massage and address your aching back instead of ignoring it. You could do whatever you like if you quit drinking and save money.

If you’re saving for an investment and need a quick boost, a short-term loan might be able to help you out.

 

Everything in Moderation

With everything considered, quitting alcohol entirely isn’t the solution that works for everyone. A lot of people still enjoy a glass of wine at fancy dinners with family or a beer at a celebratory afternoon with friends.

What it comes down to is cutting down and enjoying alcohol in moderation. Even if you don’t cut down 100% of your alcohol spending, you can cut down some of it. Either drink less in general or consider going out less and hosting friends and drinking at home instead; that way, you’re paying a much lower price for the same drinks.

10 Hacks to Save Money Around the House

We’re all looking for clever money-saving hacks we can implement at home without drastically changing our lifestyles. Here are 10 to help you on your way.

 

1. Use the food you already have

We all have food in the back of the cupboard or pantry that we just keep forgetting to cook.

Take a Sunday afternoon off, pull all your food out of the cupboard, and catalogue it all. You should be able to find a few essential ingredients that you can build a meal out from, meaning your weekly shop should be a little bit cheaper this week. Saving money on groceries is a great way to save money around the house. (As an added bonus, when you put things back into the cupboard, you can tidy it, so you never forget what’s in there again.)

 

2. DIY what you can

There are some tasks you will need a professional for, but smaller chores around the house might be something you can do yourself as a way of saving money at home.

You can even extend the DIY attitude to other aspects, like gifts. Not only can handmade gifts save you money, but they’re often more heartfelt than bought gifts.

Want to fix up your home to save money in the long run, but don’t have the cash upfront right now? Consider getting a quick loan so you can get started on that project.

 

3. Avoid the AC and the heater

Minimising the power bill is one of the best and simplest hacks to save money, and heating and cooling are two of the biggest costs on most heating bills.

  • In the colder months, wear thicker clothes, warm robes, and blankets to stay cosy.
  • In the warmer months, stay cool with showers, drinks, and a swim if you can get out to the pool or beach.

Do all you can before you turn to the air conditioner or heater. If you do turn on heating or cooling, close all the doors. You don’t need to change the temperature of a room you’re not in and doing so will just waste power and prevent you from saving money at home.

 

4. Turn off appliances you’re not using

When looking at how to save money at home, appliances are another secretly costly element. Save electricity at home to save overall on your power bill. Turn off any appliance you’re not using, especially at night. The only appliance you need on at night is any security system you use and your alarm clock.

 

5. Use LED bulbs

Another of the easy hacks to save money when it comes to your power bill is to invest in energy-efficient light bulbs. Traditional bulbs waste more power than they need to use to illuminate your home. LED bulbs use the power more efficiently and so they use less power.

 

6. Reconsider all those streaming services

A lot of us have more than one streaming service, and we probably don’t need them all. When you add up Foxtel, Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hayu, Spotify Premium, and anything else we’ve missed, it equals a lot of content! You don’t have enough hours in the day to watch all that content. Review which ones you really need and cancel (or at least suspend) your subscription to the rest.

 

7. Switch to cloth

One of the most vintage and potentially glamorous money-saving hacks is switching to cloth.

Cloth napkins and tablecloths can save you money in the long run and can make each dinner feel like a formal affair. When a cloth napkin gets dirty, you can just pop it in the washing machine instead of buying a new one like you have to with paper napkins.

Cloth nappies or diapers are also popular, especially as little ones are transitioning to no nappies and are less likely to have accidents.

 

8. Minimise ordering in and having takeaway

There are some days when you’re just not in the mood to cook and a burger delivered to your door sounds ideal. However, if you’re wondering how to save money around the house, try minimising your orders on UberEats/Deliveroo/DoorDash/Menulog.

Try meal prepping if you know you’ll be too exhausted to cook a full meal each evening, and you should find saving money at home gets a bit easier.

Consider starting a Meal Prep Sunday at your home. That way you can take lunch into work instead of buying lunch out and you’ll have dinner ready to go and won’t be tempted to order in!

 

9. Grow your own veggies

If you’ve got the garden space, invest in some seeds and seedlings and grow your own produce! Even if you only grow herbs on your balcony, that means you don’t have to buy those herbs during the next trip to the grocery shop. Stick to easier plants like mint and rosemary if you don’t have a green thumb but still want to try these organic hacks to save money at home.

 

10. Don’t go out

Our last tip on how to save money at home is to stay home more. Instead of going out for drinks, invite friends around. They can bring their own drinks and you can even do a potluck-style meal with everyone bringing a part of the meal and sharing the cost.

With these 10 hacks, you won’t be wondering how to save money around the house anymore – you’ll be saving those extra dollars to put towards something more important.

7 Tips to Save Electricity at Home

It’s important, now more than ever, to save on electricity at home and reduce our power bills.  That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide on how to save electricity – from easy switches like turning standby off to introducing modern technology to your smart home.

 

1. Switch to LED bulbs

One of the easiest electricity-saving tips is to make the easy switch to LED bulbs.

LED bulbs use less power than traditional lights and they give off more light while they’re at it! They can cost a little bit more to purchase them to begin with, but you’ll more than make up for it in your savings.

If you want to make your home a smart home, you can look into smart bulbs that can sync with your phone to adjust the colour of the bulb to whatever you like – mood lighting is just a tap away.

 

2. Use a smart board

We all have a lot of appliances. We know what a precious resource power outlets are, so most of us end up using power boards. The thing is, we’re hardly ever using all of the appliances that are plugged into the same power board at the same time, especially in the kitchen (it’s rare to toast something and use the blender at the same time).

A smart power board can sense when an appliance is in standby mode and it will stop sending power to the appliance, saving your power bill. This is another tip that comes with an initial cost, but it has long-term benefits.

 

3. Turn things off when you’re not using them

Lights and appliances that are left on in the night are known as ‘vampire appliances’ because they’re sucking away your energy while you sleep at night.

Turn off all non-essential power users before you go to bed. Or, better yet, turn them off whenever they’re not in use. Consider Earth Hour Day – the things we turn off when we celebrate Earth Hour are things we can survive without, so turn them off whenever they’re not strictly needed. The lights don’t need to be on in the bathroom when no one is in there.

Vampire appliances are one of the first things you should cut out when considering how to reduce an electricity bill.

 

4. Replace older, less efficient appliances

So by now you only have your appliances using power when you need them, but they’re still using more power than they need. Older products are less efficient and use more power than they need to. Check the energy ratings for your appliances and see if any are ready to be replaced with more efficient versions if you’re looking at how to save electricity at home.

If you need to complete renovations or upgrade appliances to save money in the long-term, consider a short-term loan to achieve your goals.

 

5. Air dry your washing

Of all the household appliances that use power, a clothes dryer is one of the worst offenders, and on a warm day, you don’t even need it! Clothes dryers use a lot of energy as they need to spin and produce heat to properly dry your clothes.

A clothes line strung up in the backyard, on a balcony, or in front of a window (if you live in a small space without an outdoor area), will do the job just as well and won’t cost you a thing. It’s one of the easiest ways to save electricity at home.

As an added bonus, UV light is a great disinfectant and will kill any germs you might have left on your clothes. That means you can rely less on higher temperatures when washing your clothes too, to save even more power.

 

6. Optimise your appliance usage

If you use a dishwasher, a washing machine, a clothes dryer, or any large appliance, make sure you do a complete load every time. You’ll end up costing yourself more when the power bill comes in if you run your appliances when they’re not completely full. It might mean waiting a little bit longer for your favourite top or mug to be clean and usable again, but it’s worth it when considering how to save electricity.

 

7. Insulate your home

Another option that will have up-front costs but long-term savings is home insulation. It can make a massive difference on your power bill.

Insulation is also one of the best ways to save electricity without you having to do anything yourself – the insulation does it for you. If you can’t afford insulation right now or maybe you rent your home, invest instead in high-quality curtains and draught stoppers for your doors. This will help to stop warm air from escaping or cool air from dispersing out.

5 Easy Steps for Getting Your Credit Score Back on Track

Having bad credit can feel like a weight holding you down, keeping you from achieving your goals. But you can change that – you just need to know how to improve your credit score, and these 5 easy steps will help you do just that.

 

1. Pay all your bills on time

Unpaid bills are the number one issue that will lower your credit score and should be the first thing you address when you’re considering how to improve your credit score.

When you pay your bills on time, you’re demonstrating that you could be relied on to repay a loan, so your credit score is higher. After all, a bank is less likely to offer a home loan to someone they can’t trust to meet all their repayments.

This goes for all your bills, not just your credit card bills. Paying rent, power bills, internet bills, and any other bills you have on time will help you boost your credit score.

Set up automatic payments if you can so you don’t even have to think about or remind yourself to pay your bills. If automatic payments aren’t possible, set reminders for yourself so that you don’t forget.

 

2. Use your credit card, but always pay it off

When looking at how to increase a credit score, we normally think that credit cards are a bad option, but they don’t have to be! Credit cards are actually a great way to build a credit score (it’s hard to develop a credit score if you never use credit).

The key factor with all credit cards is that you must pay them off as soon as possible. A common technique is to use your credit card to make purchases, but then immediately transfer funds into that account and pay off the credit. This way you’re using your credit card while never accidentally missing a card repayment and incurring bad credit. This method will also save you from nasty credit card interest, which can be quite high and hurt not only your credit score but your bank account too.

 

 

3. Don’t have too many credit cards

With the potential positives of credit cards in mind, some might be tempted to have many credit cards when looking at how to boost a credit score, but it doesn’t work like that. More credit cards won’t improve your credit score; in fact, they could harm it.

Each time you apply for another credit card, this can damage your credit score. A lot of lenders see frequent applications for credit cards as a sign of financial distress. So if you’re considering adding another credit card to your wallet to help build up your credit, you might want to reconsider. Only apply for a credit card when you need it.

 

4. Don’t close old, debt-free accounts

Opening new accounts is a bad idea, but closing old ones can be a bad idea as well! If you have a credit card that you never use and you have no debt on it, that’s great for your credit.

One of the easiest solutions when looking at how to improve a credit score is to do nothing. Just keep that credit account open and unused. That account establishes a history of credit, which is better than a handful of accounts that are only a year old (which can look untrustworthy).

A paid-off but unused credit card is just sitting in your back pocket and quietly working to improve your credit score while you do nothing at all.

 

5. Consolidate your debts

 

While leaving open credit accounts that are in the black is a good move, accounts that are in the red will only damage a credit score. Not to mention that several repayments can add up and hurt you financially.

Some lenders will let you buy out your other debts and consolidate them into one loan. Look for the debt with the lowest interest and try to consolidate your debts into that, as it will save you the most money. Even consider taking out a new loan if it means consolidating your debts with a lower interest rate.

This might not seem like a solution when considering how to improve your credit score, but it is. You won’t have several repayments to worry about and the interest might be lower, which will save you money, which will help you build better credit in the future. You’ll also have wiped some bad credit off the table, which is always a good thing when considering how to improve your credit score.

These steps will help you take back control of your finances and improve your credit score over time. With a better credit score, you’ll be able to apply for more appealing loans (with lower interest rates) in the future and make achieving your financial goals easier.

 

So You’ve Lost Your Job, Now What?

Losing a job is never easy and adjusting to your new arrangement can be complicated. But there are steps to get back on your feet after being fired or made redundant. No need to wonder what to do when you lose your job – we’ve got some ideas to help you out.

 

Apply for government assistance

The first step when wondering what to do when you get fired is to make sure you still have some form of an income. The last thing you want to do is burn through your savings too quickly, so file for government assistance as quickly as possible. The process might take longer than you like, so the sooner you can get your part done, the better. The government assistance money will help keep you on your feet as you plan your next moves.

Check out our guide on managing your Centrelink income so you don’t have to worry about finances while you find a new job.

 

Take a minute

If you’re not sure what to do after you lose your job, be gentle on yourself and take a moment to reflect and process. It can be easy to feel lost and to not know what to do when you lose your job. Look back over the events leading up to being fired.

If you can, reach out to your former boss or manager and ask for feedback on your performance and why you were let go. That feedback will not only give you some closure, but it can help you improve so that you’re better equipped to excel at your next job. Not every manager will have the time to talk to an ex-employee, but a polite email asking for honest feedback never hurt anyone.

 

Consider a career change

Look back at the job you’ve just left. Was it really what you want to be doing? It’s possible that being fired could be a blessing in disguise or a wakeup call.

If you’re thinking “I lost my job, now what?” maybe the answer is to explore a new field. Of course, that isn’t the case for everyone, but it’s worth reviewing the career path you’re on while you’ve got time.

 

Create a budget

It’s time to assess your finances. It might be one of the more dreaded parts of being unemployed, but it’s time to move past the initial feelings of “I just got fired”. Those feelings are valid but not helpful, and unless you have a financial safety net, you’ll need to budget.

Take stock of your savings, any government assistance income, and the income of your partner if you have one or parents if you live at home. Use mobile apps to plan it out if that’s easiest or do it all yourself with a spreadsheet. Just make sure you’re not spending money you don’t have as you prepare for your next job.

 

Consider more education

Sometimes the reason people are let go from their jobs is they just don’t have the qualifications to complete it. This could that the right thing to do is to take some courses and level up your skills.

Check your budget to see if you have the time to take on some education before you re-enter the job market or consider studying part time. Sometimes an employer will value the fact that you’re currently learning new skills and be more likely to present an offer. Whatever method you choose, remember to add this new education to your resumé.

 

Update your resumé

When thinking about what to do when you get fired, you should update your resumé or CV. Realistically, you should update your resumé every time you change job title or complete some new training, but a lot of us don’t keep our resumé up to date until we need it. If you just lost your job, you need your resumé to ready to send.

If you left your workplace on good terms with your manager and team, reach out and see if anyone is able to be a positive reference for you on your resumé to help you land your next job.

 

Start job searching

You might not want to get out there again, but it’s time to get back on the horse. Finding a new job is what comes to mind first when considering what to do after you lose your job. Make sure you’ve completed all the other steps first though. There’s no point in applying for jobs if your resumé isn’t up to date, if you’re applying for jobs you don’t really want, or if you’re still mourning your last job.

There are a lot of ways to find new jobs, from LinkedIn to services like Seek and Jora. You can even check the ‘careers’ section on the website of businesses or institutions you want to work for. Remember to write a unique cover letter for each job you apply for and to tailor it to the specific job.

If you need a job to tide you over in the meantime, check out our list of the best paying jobs with no experience required.

 

Don’t give up

Jobs don’t grow on trees, and finding a new job might take longer than you expect. Remember to keep trying and give each cover letter, interview and phone call your all.

If you find your finances dwindling, you might find that a short-term loan is the right solution for you until you’re back on your feet. If that’s the route for you, our team will be happy to help.

Lean on those close to you for support (financial and emotional) when you need it if you can and stay positive. You never know when that job offer will come in.

A Beginner’s Guide to Applying for a Loan

Applying for a loan is something most of us will do in our lives, but the first time applying for a loan can feel daunting.

What paperwork do you need for a loan? Are there requirements? Do you need someone else to co-sign a loan? These are all normal questions we all think of when first wondering how to apply for a loan.

That’s why we put together this handy guide to loans to make it all a little simpler.

 

Why You Might Apply for a Loan

The most common reason to apply for a loan is so you can make an investment now that will help you in the long run, but you don’t have the cash in hand. This could be anything from vehicle repairs, to home renovation, to covering education expenses.

You might also consider applying for a loan if you find yourself in a tricky position and you need some extra cash to keep afloat. For example, our Centrelink Loans and Loans for Unemployment are an option for anyone who has recently lost their job.

There are lots of different types of loans, so be sure you’re choosing the right one for your situation and your needs.

 

What You Need When Applying for a Loan

The first time applying for a loan can be confusing, especially if you can’t lean on someone else who has received a loan and can help you through it. Fortunately, all you need to get started with a Cigno Loan is:

  • Your name
  • Contact details
  • How much you want to borrow
  • What you’ll use the funds for
  • A recent bank statement.

If you ever need more help, just reach out to our Customer Service team.

Bigger loans with bigger banks will require a lot more from you when you apply with them and will likely require in-person meetings before you’re approved for a loan. In those cases, you’ll want to be prepared. Be ready to print off proof of your income (statements from your employer), bank statements, personal identification to prove you are who you claim to be (a driver’s licence, passport etc.), credit card statements, tax returns (if self-employed), current rent or mortgage statements, and an estimation of your current expenses. If you’re prepared with all that before you start applying, the application and approval process should go a lot faster.

It’s possible that the lender you speak to won’t need all this information, but being ready with it just in case will show your commitment and responsibility.

 

Paying Back a Loan

Most loans will let you pay back the lent amount with automatic payments. Some people may not like this, as they may forget the repayments are occurring and be surprised when the amount in their bank account is lower than expected.

However, automatic repayments are a good idea, because a lot of lenders will charge extra fees if you miss a repayment, so forgetfulness can be a big problem. Cigno will notify and remind you of your scheduled repayments, so you’ll never be caught off guard. Do your best to stay aware of your finances as you repay your loan. Make a budget and include the repayments in your budget to stay on top of your finances going forward.

Cheap Holiday Destinations - Cigno Loans

5 Cheap Holiday Destinations from Australia

Daydreaming about your next big holiday? We may be one of the most isolated nations in the world, but there are still some cheap places to travel from Australia.

So, if you don’t quite have the budget for a luxurious cruise or a 5-star stay in Paris, don’t stress.

By choosing the right place and booking at the right time, you can enjoy a fantastic getaway without forking out your entire savings account. Pack your suitcase for one of these cheap holiday destinations from Australia.

 

1. Indonesia

Mount Rinjani, Limbok - Cigno Loans

Pictured: Mount Rinjani, Lombok

For many Aussies, the first place that comes to mind for cheap places to go on holiday is Bali. If your dream holiday involves breathtaking beaches, bustling markets, vibrant nightlife and delicious seafood, Bali may indeed be the best cheap holiday destination for you.

But Indonesia has so much more to offer than this hyped tourist hub.

If you’re put off by Bali’s reputation or have been before and didn’t enjoy it, consider visiting one of these Indonesian alternatives:

  • Lombok – Bali’s less developed and less crowded sister island
  • Solo – a city brimming with authentic Javanese culture and traditional shopping centres
  • Bunaken – a tiny isle with amazing underwater views (ideal for experienced divers)
  • Bintan – an amazing island for golfers and water sports enthusiasts (great spas too!)
  • Yogyakarta – splendid temples, natural wonders, and plenty of shopping opportunities.

 

Cheap Holiday Destination Snapshot: Indonesia

  • Return flights from Australia: Between $450 and $940
  • Budget Accommodation: AU$88 per night on average
  • Meal: AU$3 at an inexpensive restaurant

Average prices based on information from Cheapflights, TripAdvisor and Numbeo respectively.

 

2. Turkey

Pamukkale - Cigno Loans

Pictured: The white travertine pools and terraces in Pamukkale

Current economic struggles make Turkey a very affordable place to travel at the moment. There’s never been a better time to explore fascinating architecture and panoramas, witness the stunning white terraces of Pamukkale, visit ancient ruins, and cruise the Mediterranean in this beautiful country.

If paying your respects at Gallipoli is on your bucket list, now is a great time to book a holiday in Turkey.

 

Cheap Holiday Destination Snapshot: Turkey

  • Return flights from Australia: Between $1,060 and $1,950
  • Accommodation: AU$93 per night on average
  • Meal: AU$6 at an inexpensive restaurant

Average prices based on information from Cheapflights, TripAdvisor and Numbeo respectively.

 

3. New Zealand

Queenstown - Cigno Loans

Pictured: Jetboating in Queenstown

One of the best cheap holiday destinations from Australia is just across the ditch. While the culture and cost of living aren’t hugely different, the affordable flights make New Zealand a very attractive getaway for anyone who just needs some time away in a foreign (but not too foreign) place.

From the rich culture and revitalising thermal springs of Rotorua to the modern metropolis of Auckland, from the thrill-seeking paradise of Queenstown to the glorious national parks and scenery on every horizon, there’s something in New Zealand to delight anyone.

 

Cheap Holiday Destination Snapshot: New Zealand

  • Return flights from Australia: Between $390 and $780
  • Accommodation: AU$225 per night on average
  • Meal: AU$19 at an inexpensive restaurant

Average prices based on information from Cheapflights, TripAdvisor and Numbeo respectively.

 

4. Vietnam

Ninh Binh - Cigno Loans

Pictured: Ninh Binh

In terms of budgeting, Vietnam is the opposite of New Zealand; it costs a little extra to get there, but the cost of living during your trip will be incredibly low. Cheap yet delicious market meals and shopping bargains make Vietnam a dream destination for travellers on a budget.

This means you can save your holiday funds to truly enjoy all the attractions the country has to offer. Some of the most highly recommended things to see and do in Vietnam include:

  • The Cu Chi Tunnels
  • The Mekong River with its floating markets
  • Hoi Ann Ancient Town
  • The shops in Hanoi’s Old Quarter
  • The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Bai Tu Long Bay
  • Lake of the Restored Sword
  • Ninh Binh
  • Hoi An Impression Theme Park
  • Son Doong Cave in Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park.

 

Cheap Holiday Destination Snapshot: Vietnam

  • Return flights from Australia: Between $640 and $1,290
  • Accommodation: AU$132 per night on average
  • Meal: AU$3 at an inexpensive restaurant

Average prices based on information from Cheapflights, TripAdvisor and Numbeo respectively.

 

5. Our Own Backyard

Cheap Holiday Australia - Cigno Loans

One of the best cheap holiday destinations from Australia is… Australia.

Let’s face it: Our backyard is massive. It would take a lifetime of travelling to explore all the cultural and natural wonders our own country has to offer.

So, if your budget is making it tricky to book overseas flights or a long-term stay in another country, why not take a holiday closer to home? You could:

  • Take in the magnificence of Uluru
  • Sightsee the iconic landmarks of Sydney
  • Immerse yourself in the unique culture of Melbourne or Adelaide
  • Take a winery tour through Western Australia’s renowned Margaret River vineyards
  • Explore the rugged wilderness of the Northern Territory
  • Enjoy the beaches and amusement parks on the Gold Coast
  • Hop on over to Hobart for a cool and culturally rich holiday.

… all without spending most of your holiday budget on an expensive international flight.

If things are really tight, check this list of cheap school holiday ideas or apply for a small cash loan with Cigno. Borrowing up to $1,000 could help you afford a much-needed getaway to one of the cheap holiday destinations listed here.

Savings Girl - Cigno Loans

How to Teach Your Kids to Save Money

As kids grow and learn, they sponge up knowledge from everywhere – especially from their parents. So, why not have them sponge up smart money-management lessons? Teaching your kids to save money can help them develop good spending habits early so they’re better able to set up a financially stable future.

If you’re looking for places to start, put these exercises into practice and start teaching your kids to save today. Don’t worry, these aren’t textbook lessons. They’re meant to be fun and interactive.

 

Put Saving into Practice

Girl Earning Pocket Money - Cigno  Loans

You can’t save money without an income, and you can’t have an income without working. If you haven’t already set up a pocket money system with your kids, put together one that offers a weekly paycheque for completing hard labour (or maybe just a few chores).

By giving your kids a weekly income, they get to experience having their own money. It’s up to you whether you use physical cash, set up a bank account for them, or use both. And if you really want to encourage them to work hard and earn more, offer them a reward for going the extra mile (e.g. spraying air freshener after dusting).

Lesson: The harder you work, the more you can earn.

 

Build Goals Together

Savings Boy - Cigno Loans

Now that your kids have money, they might not yet know exactly what they can do with it. A $10 note could get them a small toy, but a dozen $10 notes (after a few weeks of saving) could get them something much bigger.

Sit down with them and talk about the things they might want to save up for. It could be a ticket to a theme park, a new video game or new sneakers. It’s a fun conversation to have. Get excited with them about the possibilities and map out a savings timeline to show them when they can afford these awesome things. Having a clear goal in mind is one of the best ways to save money for kids.

For more tips on encouraging your kids to invest, check out this article here.

If there’s something that they really want now, you can set up the National Parent Bank and offer a loan with repayments that come out of their pocket money. Now, it’ll be tempting to offer a 0% loan, but having a small interest rate will teach them an honest lesson about borrowing.

Lesson: If you plan ahead, you can save and buy bigger things.

Extra Lesson: Working towards a clear goal makes saving easier.

 

Lead by Example

Teaching your kids to save money is a long process made up of lots of little lessons – and a lot of the time they’ll learn from their mistakes. But a big lesson you can do today is to share your family budget and savings goals with them. Explain the necessary costs (e.g. weekly groceries, rent/mortgage repayments, health insurance) and show them how you put aside your dedicated savings. And explain why. Are you saving up for a family holiday or a new car? Or maybe you want to have money kept aside in case of an emergency.

The best money-saving examples are ones that are real and relevant. But you’ll have to put what you say into practice too. That could mean telling them how much you want to buy that cheesecake, but you’d rather save more for the next family trip.

Lesson: You need to keep money aside for important things in life.

 

Shopping for Lessons

Shopping with Child - Cigno Loans

It can be a hard thing explaining to your kids why you can’t buy everything they pick up at Kmart, Coles or Woolworths. So, why not put them in your shoes? Get your kids involved in making your next grocery list. Talk about the budget and then, when you’re at the store, ask for their help to find discounts and affordable options for everything.

If you want to know how to teach your children to save money and keep them busy at the shops, this is a great activity. It also communicates why you can’t always buy new toys or the yummiest snacks.

Lesson: You can’t buy everything you want.

Teaching kids to save doesn’t have to be a boring experience for parents and children. For more fun learning activities, Money Smart has put together a great list of activities online. And if you’re looking for more ways to teach money-saving lessons, check out our article on Teaching Your Kids to Save From a Young Age.

Different Loans Represented by Piggy Banks - Cigno Loans

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Different Types of Loans

There are so many variables to consider when looking at types of loans; it can be quite overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on the different types of loans, to help you determine the most appropriate loan for your current needs.

 

Secured vs. Unsecured Loans

Secured Loan Metaphor - Cigno Loans

When it comes to taking out larger loans, some of them require you to offer an asset as an added measure of security for the lender. So, if you’re unable to pay back the loan amount, the lender can sell the secured asset to make up for some (or all) of the loan’s value. It’s just an added safety for them. This can come in the form of property, a vehicle or a cash deposit.

Many different types of car loans, for example, use the car itself as a security.

The main differences between secured and unsecured loans that you’ll notice will be the loan amount and interest rate. By securing a loan, lenders are more likely to provide a higher loan amount or a lower interest, reducing your total repayment cost.

 

Fixed Rate vs. Variable Rate

When you pay back most types of loans, you’ll have to pay back the original amount as well as interest. This interest is paid during your scheduled repayments and is dependent on the interest rate. This can either be a fixed or variable rate.

Fixed rates will stay the same over the repayment period. This makes them easier to budget for long term. Variable rates, on the other hand, will change along with market interest rates. Choosing a fixed rate vs. a variable rate is a tricky decision, as interest rates can either climb or decrease over time.

 

Home Loan vs. Mortgage

Well, there isn’t really a choice between the two. To buy a home, you’ll need both a home loan and a mortgage. A home loan is the amount you borrow from a lender to pay for a new property. But because the amount is so high, the loan requires the borrower to sign a legal agreement to pay it back: a mortgage.

By signing a mortgage, your lender takes the title of the property until you completely pay off the loan. Different types of home loans have different prerequisites like the deposit amount and interest rate.

 

Personal vs. Business Loans

As an individual, you’re able to take out personal loans to pay for things that come up. A lender will usually want to see your income and credit score – just so they can determine if you can pay it back or not.

Business loans can be a little harder to set up, but they offer bigger incentives. The amount you borrow can be higher and have a lower interest rate – especially if you secure a business asset like a work truck. But if you need a loan for your business, it doesn’t have to be a ‘business’ loan. You can use personal loans for your business too, but not the other way around.

The most common types of personal loans are small loans that offer a fast approval and payment and require minimal documentation. To learn more about small loans, check out our article on Understanding Different Types of Small Loans.

 

If you’re after a fast cash loan, you can apply for a short-term loan with Cigno today.

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