Nation’s budget battles slow holiday spending in military families

| December 20, 2013

Anxiety over the nation’s budget battles is dampening the holiday spending plans of career servicemembers and their families, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®.

The latest survey results reveal 52 percent of middle-class military families (those in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of $50,000 or more) expect to spend less on gifts this year, making it their No. 1 cost-cutting strategy for the holidays. These frugal shoppers plan on average expenditures of $769, almost half the $1,439 they estimate having spent last year on holiday gifts. And 39 percent say they plan to spend under $500.

Military families who are feeling anxious about the possibility of another government shutdown, sequestration and furloughs in 2014 are especially likely to cut back this holiday shopping season. The Index reveals that plans to spend less on gifts are significantly associated with concerns over:

  • Another government shutdown (Cited by 59 percent of those who feel anxious  versus 36 percent who do not)
  • Sequestration in 2014 (63 percent versus 35 percent)
  • Additional furloughs of federal workers in 2014 (63 percent versus 32 percent)

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