Holiday Spending Planner

For many military families, money can be tight around the holidays. We want to help you stretch your dollar further this year, which is why we put together the Holiday Spending Planner. It offers a wealth of information, from blogs and articles that can help you save money, to financial calculators that can assist you in tracking and planning your spending, and even some charitable organizations to consider for your holiday giving.


Our video takes a fun look at some of the holiday “do’s and don’ts” for folks in the military, from smart ways to pay for gifts, how to handle unit functions, and even making sure to stay in shape.


The holidays are when people tend to overspend, which means the bills keep coming long after the decorations are put back into storage. The following provide some ways you can save this holiday season.

  • 2017 Holiday Spending Survey—We surveyed more than 250 service members to get a feel for their financial confidence and holiday spending habits. Check out the results and see how they compare to previous years.
  • Helpful holiday shopping apps—Download these shopping apps to help you find the best deals and stretch your budget even further.
  • Make the most out of your holiday dollarsIt’s important to know your limit before you start to shop—that way your holiday cheer doesn't turn into a holiday debt hangover. This blog will give you some tips and tricks on how to spend wisely this season.
  • Last minute gift ideas—Give great gifts just in time that are thoughtful and timeless and totally do-able! We have ideas on what you can make or buy that is quick and affordable, but also fun and memorable.
  • Make room for the holidays in your budget—Millions of Americans get carried away with their holiday spending each year as the joy of giving leads to the sorrows of high debt. These tips can help you save money and ensure the holiday season is truly bright.
  • Playing your gift cards right—Odds are you’ll be giving or receiving a gift card this year. This post covers the laws governing gift cards and other considerations to keep in mind.
  • Holiday financial hangover—The holidays were a time of giving—but sometimes all YOU get is a big pile of debt. Find out how to catch up with Christmas, and some of the best ways to avoid a repeat next season by spending and saving wisely.



Failure to plan is planning to fail, so make sure you have a handle on just how much you can really afford with these calculators. (Note: These are not operated by Pioneer Services and are provided for general information only.)

  • Holiday budget calculator (From—This calculator takes a different approach: instead of asking you to list what you’ll spend on each item, it asks for your total holiday budget up front. Then, as you add in figures, it does the calculations to see how you’re doing.
  • Mint (iTunes™ and Google Play™)—Mint is the free financial tracker app from Intuit. There’s a reason why it’s one of the most popular financial apps out there. Millions of people use it every day to track spending habits, manage personal finance accounts, set up payment reminders, and track progress with budgeting goals.
  • You Need a Budget (iTunes and Google Play)—YNAB Classic is really a strategic app that helps you create a budget you can stick to. It teaches you how to make your money work smarter, how to plan for unexpected expenses, and how to roll with financial punches.
  • Wally (iTunes and Google Play)—If you decide to link your credit cards, this app takes an active approach to managing your spending habits by helping you stay accountable for every transaction you do. This helps prevent over-spending so you can take control of your finances.

Fun holiday links

From interesting facts and figures to ways deployed military members have enjoyed the holidays, these take a look at the lighter side of the season.

  • Christmas by the numbers—Most numbers associated with the holiday season revolve around how many people are on your shopping list and the amount of your gift budget. This infographic highlights a few other interesting and notable numbers surrounding the holiday season.
  • Holiday safety—The holidays are joyous time—one to spend with family and friends at home, not worrying about falls and fires and trips to the ER. Find out how to keep your family safe and the season bright by following a few simple tips.
  • Holidays on the front lines—No matter where they’re stationed or the conditions they’re in, those on the front lines have found ways to celebrate the holidays—if only for a few hours. We take a look at how the holiday season has been spent throughout the years by our deployed heroes.

The season for giving

FisherHouse    Homes For our Troops    PPSDLogoColor    Thanks USA

It’s better to give than to receive, especially to those who need a hand up during tough times. The following are some charities we’ve partnered with in the past to consider for your holiday giving:

  • A Million Thanks—In addition to gathering cards and letters and shipping them to service members all over the world, they also have other programs to support our country’s military veterans and their families, like Grant a Wish and Fund a Scholar.
  • Fisher House—This group provides free lodging for military families while their loved one receives treatment. They have locations around the country near military medical centers.
  • Homes for Our Troops—Their mission is to build specially-designed, mortgage-free homes for wounded service members.
  • Patriot PAWS—A small non-profit that trains service dogs for service members, and provides them at no cost.
  • Thanks USA—This group provides needs-based scholarships to children and spouses of military members.
  • Charity Navigator—A site that lets you search for non-profits and learn more about them, including where their funding comes from and where their money goes.
  • GuideStar—Similar to Charity Navigator, but provides slightly different information so you can make an informed giving decision.

Pioneer Services is not responsible for the content contained on any third party website.

Learn about some of the key findings of our 2017 Military Holiday Survey.

Learn More



Holiday Family


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