5 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Bills

Some small changes in your habits can better help with your savings, budgeting practices, and reducing your bills. Follow these tips!

1. Clothes

  • When buying clothes, check if you can wash them yourself to avoid dry cleaning services.
  • Make sure the clothes you buy can be mixed and matched so you can have more options out of fewer items.
  • Look for and take advantage of end-of-season clearances, bargains, and deals to pay less.

2. Food & groceries

  • Cut back on how often you go out for dinner.
  • Plan meals in advance.
  • Make and take a shopping list with you and stick to it.
  • Set a shopping budget and just bring the exact amount you need.
  • Compare item prices.
  • Grow your own food (veggies) at home.
  • Before going to the supermarket, eat a snack. You tend to buy more food when you’re hungry.
  • When things are cheaper, buy in bulk. You can cut up bulk meat into pieces then freeze them, so you can use it as you need it.
  • Shop every fortnight to use up all the food in your pantry before buying again.
  • Consider generic products over the brand names you want to buy.
  • Always check the ‘best before’ dates on food so you don’t buy things near their expiry date.
  • Check the shelves above and below for alternatives as supermarkets promote the items at eye-level.

3. Electricity, gas, & water

  • When you’re not using them, turn off appliances.
  • Take advantage and use natural light during daytime.
  • Instead of turning on the heater or AC, dress for the temperature accordingly.
  • Seal up any cracks or gaps around your doors, windows, ceilings, and floors.
  • Hang your washing outside or use an indoor clothes rack instead of the dryer.
  • Instead of an electric blanket, use a hot water bottle.
  • When cooking, turn off the stove before the food is done to let the residual heat finish the job.
  • Install a dual flush on your toilet and a water efficient showerhead.
  • Take showers quickly.
  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth.
  • Fix plumbing leaks around the house.
  • Reuse water for your garden.
  • When you wash dishes or rinse fruits and vegetables, put a plug in the sink.
  • Adjust the water level in your dishwasher or washing machine to match a partial load.
  • Use cold water in washing your clothes.

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4. Getting fit

  • Shop around for the best gym membership deal.
  • Do some exercise by walking the dog around your local oval and using free apps.
  • Group personal training, boot camps, or team sports can be cost effective.

5. Reduce bank fees

Look for financial institutions that offer basic bank accounts, with:

  • no minimum deposit amounts
  • no account keeping fees
  • no overdrawn fees
  • free monthly statements.

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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