2017 Holiday Spending Survey

Infographic Details Military Survey Results

Whether you’re military or civilian, every family deals with financial issues from time to time. It’s especially easy to spend above your means during the holiday season. Between travel, vacations, and gifts for everyone on your list, the expenses can add up quickly, and they tend to snowball. If you’re not careful, you could start the new year buried under an avalanche of holiday debt.

To get a better feel for the financial confidence and spending habits of military families, we recently conducted our 3rd consecutive holiday spending survey. This year more than 250 service members participated. Having data from the previous two years gives us a unique opportunity to track changes and monitor trends over time.


Now that we have three years’ worth of data and a solid sample size to consider, the results have started to stabilize. From 2015 to 2016, there was a big jump in the amount of people who said they would spend the same or less than last year from 73% to 85%. This year, that number is at 87%.

Those results make sense when you consider the trend for travel plans over time. The number of respondents who said they would travel more than 500 miles has decreased each year from 28% to 25% to 23% in 2017. So it makes sense – service members are staying closer to home, traveling less, and that helps immensely to keep total costs down.

A couple of positive trends really stick out as well. First, the amount of service members that say they’re worried about job stability has been cut in half since 2015. Another question asked whether their spouses have had their hours or pay cut at work and that number has also been cut in half since 2015. That paints a reassuring picture about workforce confidence, both in the military and civilian sectors.

Some other interesting results to note:

  • The average person will spend $569 this holiday season
  • 38% will brave the shopping frenzy of Black Friday
  • 59% of respondents say that sales and discounts are the most important thing to look for when shopping
  • A Christmas Story won the vote for favorite holiday movie and decorating the tree won favorite holiday tradition for the third year in a row

The infographic below highlights all the key findings and provides a comparison to the two previous years that’s easy to follow. A copy of the 2017 Military Holiday Survey Results is also available here.


Whatever your financial situation may be, there are lots of ways to budget smarter and save money around the holidays. That’s why we put together our Holiday Spending Planner. It’s packed full of money-saving blogs and guides, budgeting apps and calculators, all sorts of other financial resources, plus some festive holiday links.


Jake Butler

About the author: Jake Butler

Jake Butler is a staff writer at Pioneer Services who understands the challenges facing modern military families. He writes informative and entertaining pieces about military life, financial education and everything in between. Follow Jake on Google+.

Contact: Jake Butler


comments powered by Disqus