HomeStart’s John Oliver shares his tips on how to ensure Christmas spending doesn’t derail your savings goal for buying a home.

SET a budget for buying presents and stick to it as this is usually where many of us go wrong. 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. You could also consider doing your Christmas shopping online, as you’re less likely to be tempted by ‘in-store’ impulse buys and you may find a better deal. 

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 which can save you more money.

This is particularly effective if you have a large family or group of friends. 

WATCH how much you spend on entertainment. Christmas is all about spending time with family and friends, so it’s easy to over-indulge and spend extra on eating out and socialising. Base your entertainment activities at home or someone else’s.

You’ll pay much less for food and drinks than in a restaurant or bar, but have just as much fun.

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.

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, and if you need to turn to credit, make sure you understand the full costs before proceeding. 

KEEP track of 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.  

DON’T leave your Christmas shopping to the last minute. Doing so will only increase the chance of impulse buys and overspending.

Instead, keep an eye out for presents throughout the year, particularly when stores have sales. You’ll be likely to pick up some good bargains. 

START planning now for next Christmas. Think about putting away a small amount of money each pay so next year, you’ll have a pool of savings you can draw on at Christmas time.