Ways To Stretch the Holiday Budget Further

The holidays are fun and during this time, it’s easy to forget about your budget and splurge. Wondering how to stretch the budget further after you’ve had a holiday blowout?

The festivities can continue throughout the year with some careful planning. The more preparation you put in, the more you’ll be rewarded. Here are ways you can recover from overspending for the holidays and stretch the budget further.

Stop the Guilt

Christmas came and went. You spent too much, and you can’t go back. Stop feeling guilty. Instead, channel your energy into writing down where you overspent. Take note of all the unaccounted costs and get its total — shipping fees, extended warranties, gift wrap, and checked baggage fees. Learn from your budget mistakes. Set yourself a realistic goal of spending less next time.

‘No-spend’ Month

Following the holiday season, it’s the perfect time to challenge yourself to a ‘no-spend’ month. Anything that isn’t necessities or bills (groceries or gas) gets put on the backburner until after the challenge. It’s up to you how long the challenge goes. It’s recommended to be at least a month.

Holiday Leftovers

xmas dinner

Using what you have in your home can save you heaps. Start with holiday leftovers. Check out online for recipe ideas on leftovers. It’ll be amazing what you can throw together without going to the supermarket.

The Snowball Effect

The snowball effect is a great approach for paying off multiple debts. It emphasises the power of motivation and gives off a sense of accomplishment after paying off a debt. For example, choose one credit card to pay extra while paying the minimum balances on the others. You then move onto the next card once you pay off the first debt. Continue until they’re all fully paid off.

When it comes to paying off your debt, you have the option to consolidate them all into one loan. With debt consolidation loan, you only have one loan to worry about. This can speed up paying off the principal, which makes dealing with the balance faster. Debt consolidation can improve your credit score and there’s a tax break too.

Set a New Budget

Create a budget and stick to it — is one of the fundamental steps that should be taken when cleaning up your finances. Figure out how much is coming in (income), going out (spending), and surplus each month to put towards paying off your debts.

Write everything out and make a list of all of your payments and bills — from rent to loan. Segregate your fixed expenses (rent or insurance) from your variable expenses (utilities or entertainment). Obviously, there’s room to cut costs from your variable expenses.

Change Your Habits

Now, it’s time to put that budget into action. Making favourable changes in your money habits is the cure to your holiday debt hangover.

You can still enjoy your regular perks like coffee or dinner with friends, but it’s better to try and change some of your habits. Instead of going out for dinner 2x a week, set aside the money you would’ve spent on the second night to pay off your debt.

It’s important to look closely at your bank account to figure out where you are financially. Make sure you can at least pay your usual monthly bills, such as rent and utility. If you can’t, you may need a loan to help you get back on track. With this approach, be sure to incorporate the repayments into a revised budget.

Cigno Loans can help with their emergency loans, as well as bad credit loans — if you have a less than stellar credit history. Once your application is approved, cash is moved into your bank account the same day with repayments easily arranged.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Cigno Loans’ articles do not replace advice from an accountant or financial advisor. All information provided is intended to be used as a guide only, as it does not take into account your personal financial situation or needs. If you require assistance, it is recommended that you consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.


Ordered by the Federal Court of Australia

The Federal Court of Australia has found that Cigno Australia Pty Ltd (Cigno Australia) and BSF Solutions Pty Ltd (BSF Solutions) have breached the law by engaging in unlicensed credit activity and charging prohibited fees.

In the period from July 2022 to 3 October 2023, over 100,000 consumers have been lent a total of $34 million, and charged fees of over $70 million, under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’ operated by BSF Solutions and Cigno Australia. At no time has either BSF Solutions or Cigno Australia held an Australian Credit Licence.

The Court also found that Mark Swanepoel (director of Cigno Australia) and Brenton James Harrison (director of BSF Solutions) were involved in these breaches of the law.

With effect from 24 May 2024, the Court has granted permanent injunctions preventing Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions from:

  • demanding, receiving or accepting fees or charges, including amounts of loan principal, from consumers in relation to credit provided under the ‘No Upfront Charge Model’; and
  • engaging in further credit activity pursuant to the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’, including by entering into new agreements with consumers, for so long as they do not hold an Australian Credit Licence.

Cigno Australia was ordered by the Court to, by 5th July 2024, send written communications to consumers who between July 2022 and December 2022 entered into agreements with Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’.

The Court will later determine whether (among other things) Cigno Australia and Mark Swanepoel ought to pay a pecuniary penalty in respect of this conduct, and whether Mark Swanepoel should be restrained from carrying on a business engaging in credit activity.

Cigno Australia, BSF Solutions, Mr Swanepoel and Mr Harrison intend to appeal the decision of the Court and have filed an application for leave to appeal. If the appeal is successful, some or all of the orders of the Federal Court of Australia may be set aside.

Where can you get more information?

Where to go for further support

You can access legal advice in your state at: Free legal advice – Moneysmart.gov.au.

If you are experiencing trouble with debt, or money worries in general, contact:

  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or online chat (9:30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday).

If you need someone to talk to, contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours) or their crisis support online chat or
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 (24 hours) or their webchat