Extra costs at Christmas can make it harder to meet regular home loan repayments, or derail your home-buying savings goal. John Oliver shares some tips on how to keep your Christmas spending in check.

1. SET a present buying budget and stick to it. Start with a list of everyone you need to buy for and set a strict dollar limit for each person. No matter how tempting it is, don’t exceed that limit.

2. TRACK your spending. Maintain a list or spreadsheet that you add to as you spend money. This way, you’ll know exactly how much you’ve spent and how you’re tracking against your budget.

3. CONSIDER doing your Christmas shopping online, as you’re less likely to be tempted by ‘in-store’ impulse buys and it’s easier to shop around and compare prices so you canto find a better deal. Keep an eye out for presents throughout the year, particularly when stores have sales. You’ll be likely to pick up some good bargains.

4. TRY a ‘Secret Santa’ style of giving with family and friends. This way, you’ll only have to buy presents for one or two people rather than everyone. This is particularly effective if you have a large family or group of friends.

5. KEEP watch on how much you spend on eating out and socialising. Christmas is all about spending time with family and friends. Base your entertainment activities at your home or someone else’s.

6. UNDERSTAND that your hard-earned savings are ‘off-limits’, no matter how tempted you are to find a bit of extra money. Consider options to make your savings harder to access, such as an online account or an account without an access card.

7. AVOID turning to credit to fund your Christmas spending. Credit cards, store cards or pay later offers are all a form of borrowing money that you’ll eventually have to pay off in full. Ask yourself if you really need something before buying it.

8. START planning now for next Christmas. Keep an eye out for presents throughout the year, particularly when stores have sales. You’ll be likely to pick up some good bargains. Also Tthink about putting away a small amount of money each pay cycle so next year, you’ll have a pool of savings you can draw on at Christmas time.