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Holidays tend to make most people uneasy and uptight. Why? Because the average person will spend $992 buying Christmas gifts, according to the American Research Group. While we all enjoy the holidays don’t let them impact your retirement saving.

Stopping contributions or taking out loans from your retirement plan is not the best way to manage gift spending plans. The true meaning of Christmas is love. Saving for your retirement is a demonstration of self-love. Consider other ways to plan for holiday spending like a Christmas club savings account with your bank or stashing $20 a week away for 50 weeks. Whatever you do, avoid using your retirement savings as your primary source for funding the holiday season.

National Life Group is in the business of helping you prepare for the retirement you deserve. For that reason, during this holiday season, we want to share some tips.

Try these less expensive and free ways to enjoy the Christmas season.

  1. Make homemade ornaments with the family.
  2. Start your Christmas shopping early, beat the hustle and bustle at the mall.
  3. Find a location that has a visit with Santa for free!
  4. Make Christmas cards with the children or grandchildren.
  5. Find a way to give back. Serve at a school, food kitchen or local children’s shelter.
  6. Enjoy an evening of hot cocoa and Christmas carols.
  7. Bake cookies—homemade or frozen.
  8. Reduce gift giving by selecting names from a hat.
  9. Spread joy with everyone you meet.

The key is to never feel bad for putting yourself first and doing what is right for you and your retirement savings. When you become a priority in your life, so will your retirement dreams. Happy Holidays!