Pioneer Services Partners with Military Spouse Magazine on “2018 Military Holiday Spending Survey”

Results Show Military Families Spending Less, Credit Card Use Up

While the economy continues to churn and retailers anticipate heavy holiday spending, a recent survey of the military shows these trends aren’t necessarily carrying over to our nation’s military families, where 42% plan on spending less on the holidays than they did in 2017 and the use of credit cards will be up nearly double from two years ago.

The majority of military families will spend $500 or more on holiday related activities this year, according to the 2018 Military Holiday Spending Survey conducted by Pioneer Services, a Division of MidCountry Bank in partnership with Military Spouse Magazine. This annual survey of more than 400 service members highlights holiday trends and preferences, consumer confidence, and other holiday insights. 

Survey results show that military income has not kept up with out-of-pocket expenses, with 63% saying they have less income due to increased living costs – more than double the response from 2017.  Credit cards will be used for nearly 50% of spending, and with 1 in 3 military having more than $5,000 in credit card debt, debt costs will likely increase if interest rates continue going up. Concern about job security in the military increased slightly this year, while 19% of respondents said their spouses have had their pay or hours cut in the last year.  Highlights include: 

  • Nearly 50% of spending by military families will be put on credit cards
  • While 80% believe the economy is doing better or the same as last year, only 1 in 10 plan on spending more this holiday season
  • 14% are worried about the future of their military careers (vs. 8% in 2017)
  • 18% have more than $10,000 in credit card debt
  • 28% have no credit card debt
  • 68% will shop online, compared to 43% last year

These findings and other interesting results are available in an easy-to-read Survey Infographic.

Pioneer Services has also created a free online tool for military families to spend smart this holiday season. is part of the company’s award-winning financial education program, and features helpful blogs, videos, and links to holiday budgeting tools.