Ways To Save This Christmas

The Christmas season usually leaves you spent, both physically and financially. Instead, you should be relaxing with family and friends during the holiday, not battling the crowd and breaking the bank.

Simplify things this year with these quick and easy tips to help you save and enjoy the holiday season.

Pre-Christmas clean up

“One person’s trash is another’s treasure.”

Take time to sort out things around the house — clothes, books, furniture, and jewellery. Clear out stuff you no longer need so you could sell them online or when you hold a garage sale.

You can earn a few extra dollars and make someone else’s Christmas extra special.

List them down

Make a list of the things you need in preparation for the festive season to help you plan and keep track of your spending — the best way to avoid going over your Christmas budget.

List down those you’re gonna give gifts to, the actual items you’ll get them, and the amount you’ll be spending individually.

List down the food and drinks you’ll need. Buy them in advance, especially those that can be frozen or have a long shelf life. Don’t forget to also list down how much you can spend on them.

There are also ways to save on holiday travel costs, whether flying or driving:

  • List all your costs like flights, accommodation, petrol, travel insurance, and airport transfers.
  • Figure out which day is cheapest to fill up on petrol if you’re driving.
  • Shop around for deals early on to avoid paying a premium for peak season increases or last-minute bookings.

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Personalise wrapping and cards

Avoid pricey Christmas wrapping by buying string and brown paper or plain coloured paper to wrap the presents.

Personalise your Christmas cards so the receiver will have a hard time throwing them away. Most people throw away their cards once they’ve opened the gifts, which is a waste of money on cards.

Smart shopping

Do a web search for discounts or coupons before you start your Christmas shopping online. There are sales sections on retailers’ websites of what they offer.

Instead of just going to one retailer’s website, search somewhere else online. You might find them cheaper.

Make sure to include any shipping costs when comparing prices, or look for items with free shipping. The cost of items can blow out once you add shipping.

For tips on how to pick an online shopping scam, check out the ACCC’s SCAMwatch website.

Limit the temptation to overspend:

  • Pre-pay — Check for option to pick up in-store if you buy online. Skip lines, save on freight. and there will be less chance to impulse buy.
  • Shop at odd hours — Go when it’s less crowded so you won’t have to jostle for space and you can choose the items carefully.
  • Shop on a limited time — Get in, do it, and get out.

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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