The dust has finally settled on the holiday period. The chaos of Christmas, New Years and Australia Day are behind us. Spectacular long summer afternoons gently blending into balmy nights spent with friends around the barbie. Good times with mates out on the town, down the pub, or living it up at restaurants, clubs or bars. Maybe you even got to fit some time away in there for good measure.

Unfortunately, just as we’re settling back into the familiar rhythm of life, it’s also the time that the credit card bills start to arrive. The warm afterglow of all the good times we’ve had - the giving, the receiving and the celebrating - quickly fades into a knot in the stomach. It’s all too easy to lose track of your spending this time of year; especially when you’re popping it all on the plastic. The New Year Financial Hangover is a real thing, and way too many of us are struggling with its effects. To make matters worse, you can’t just make it go away with a Berocca, a couple of Red Bulls, some instant ramen, and a few quality hours of Netflix binge-watching. The longer you leave this hangover, the worse it gets.

It goes without saying that if you now find yourself struggling to cover your monthly expenses after the summer’s excesses, then Speckle is here for you. A fast cash loan of up to $2000 from Speckle could be in your account (subject to qualification and approval) within 48 hours to help ease the pressure. However, we’d prefer that you didn’t need a loan at all. That’s what makes us different to payday lenders and other sharks out there. At Speckle, we’re about helping regular people achieve financial security and freedom, rather than trapping them in fiscal servitude.

With that in mind, we thought the timing would be right to provide some simple tips on how to get your finances back on track if you’ve had a little bit too spectacular a summer:

Step 1: Review Your Budget

Hopefully, you already have a spending plan in place. If not, now is the time to learn how to budget. Either way, trove through your bank statements and any cash expenses you can think of to identify items that you can cut out. As unpleasant as it may be, a crisis means making some really tough decisions. That $7 latte you sip every morning may be the elixir of life that gets your day started, but cutting it out leaves you $210 a month extra for necessities or to pay down the principle on your credit cards. Those premium Netflix, Spotify and other monthly subscriptions are undoubtedly convenient. However, cumulatively they can add up to a significant chunk of change. Taking a month or two off won’t kill you, we promise. They’ll welcome you back when you’ve got your head above water, and may even offer a discount to lure you. You will be amazed at how eliminating few little things can free up plenty of cash.

Step 2: Vice Is Not So Nice

We love a bit of a drink and a punt here in Australia. A surprisingly high proportion of us, particularly in our 20s and 30s, are also fond of a smoke. These activities are bad for us and bad for our wallets. Cutting down or eliminating cigarettes, alcohol and gambling from our lives is a goal that we should all be striving for, especially if we’re under the pump with money. A pack a day smoker is now forking out over $900 per month for their habit. With a pot of beer setting you back around $5 these days and losses on pokies and sports betting at all-time highs, you can easily see how a healthier lifestyle can make an immediate impact on your bank balance.

Step 3: The Quiet Life

After a hectic couple of months, you might be feeling like dropping it down a notch or two anyway. Going out and eating out are pleasures that we all enjoy and value for the quality that they add to our life. However, if you’re struggling to stay afloat, you might want to consider life’s simpler pleasures for a little while. Ditch the Uber Eats and restaurant visits for a bit, and instead whip out your apron and start cooking at home. Take a rain-check on that big night out or visit to the movies and opt for some quality time with friends and loved ones at home. Nobody’s saying you have to live like a monk. Feel free to reward yourself every now and then, but keep entertainment expenses at moderation and you will soon see the savings adding up.

Step 4: A Bit on the Side

Desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures. If, after all your efforts, you find that you’re still struggling to make ends, you may need to consider an additional source of funds. For some of us, that may be as simple as selling some of our excess stuff online. You can quickly generate cash, enjoy the cathartic experience of decluttering your life and make Marie Kondo proud all at the same time! If that’s not going to quite extricate you from your woes, then exploring a secondary stream of income may be your best shot. Many reading this may have used Fiverr, Upwork, AirTasker or other sites to hire freelancers yet never considered the possibility of turning their talents into cash on those same platforms. The beauty of freelancing is that you can work as much or as little as you need on your own schedule. Giving up your precious free time might not sound like the most attractive proposition, but the feeling of getting on top of your fiscal woes will be well worth it.

We hope these tips have provided you with some insight into how to get your finances back on track after the holiday season. If all else fails, contact Speckle to find out whether you qualify for a fast, fair loan that won’t push you further into strife.