First Command Reports: Military Families Holding the Line on Back-to-School Shopping

First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals top cost-savings
efforts

FORT WORTH, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–America’s career military families are planning on another year of
back-to-school frugality, with many shoppers committing to discount
strategies for the new school year, according to the latest findings of
the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®.

First Command’s annual back-to-school shopping survey reveals that 70
percent of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and
senior NCOs in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at
least $50,000) who plan to shop for school clothes and supplies expect
to spend the same or less than they did last year. That’s up from 59
percent in 2015. Eighty-six percent of surveyed families are in the
back-to-school shopping market.

Back-to-school frugality is also strong among the broader middle class,
where 86 percent of families plan on spending the same or less than last
year. That’s virtually unchanged from 90 percent in 2015.

Military shoppers are holding the line on spending through a variety of
belt-tightening strategies. The top cost-saving methods reported by this
year’s survey respondents are:

  • Shopping at discount stores (56 percent)
  • Shopping for less expensive supplies (39 percent)
  • Using supplies from past years (39 percent)
  • Spending less on back-to-school clothes (34 percent)
  • Not buying new electronics (29 percent)
  • Buying items in bulk (29 percent)
  • Using hand-me-down clothes (29 percent)
  • Buying fewer school supplies (15 percent)
  • Sharing supplies with other people (12 percent)
  • Fewer items for dorm rooms (7 percent)
  • College children living at home (5 percent)

“The majority of America’s career military families are not new to
implementing cost-cutting measures in their household budgets,” said
Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Frugality
has been a typical strategy for service members and their families in
recent years as they have dealt with the uncertainties of sequestration
and Department of Defense budget cuts. Half of middle-class military
families are cutting back on everyday spending as a way to address the
impact of defense cuts in their lives. They are ready to send their
children back to school with needed supplies, but are taking steps to
save money along the way.”

About the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®

Compiled by Sentient Decision Science, Inc., the First Command Financial
Behaviors Index® assesses trends among the American public’s
financial behaviors, attitudes and intentions through a monthly survey
of approximately 530 U.S. consumers aged 25 to 70 with annual household
incomes of at least $50,000. Results are reported quarterly. The margin
of error is +/- 4.3 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence. http://www.firstcommand.com/fbi/

About Sentient Decision Science, Inc.

Sentient Decision Science was commissioned by First Command to compile
the Financial Behaviors Index®. SDS is a behavioral science and
consumer psychology consulting firm with special vertical expertise
within the financial services industry. SDS specializes in advanced
research methods and statistical analysis of behavioral and attitudinal
data.

About First Command

First Command Financial Services and its subsidiaries, including First
Command Bank and First Command Financial Planning, assist American
families in their efforts to build wealth, reduce debt and pursue their
lifetime financial goals and dreams—focusing on consumer behavior as the
first and most powerful determinant of results. Through knowledgeable
advice and coaching of the financial behaviors conducive to success,
First Command Financial Advisors have built trustworthy, lasting
relationships with hundreds of thousands of client families since 1958.

First Command Financial Services, Inc., is the parent of First
Command Financial Planning, Inc. (Member
SIPC,
FINRA),
First Command Advisory Services, Inc., First Command Insurance Services,
Inc. and First Command Bank. Financial planning services and investment
products, including securities, are offered by First Command Financial
Planning, Inc., a broker-dealer. Financial planning and investment
advisory services are offered by First Command Advisory Services, Inc.,
an investment adviser.
Insurance products and services are offered
by First Command Insurance Services, Inc., in all states except Montana,
where as required by law, insurance products and services are offered by
First Command Financial Services, Inc. (a separate Montana domestic
corporation). Banking products and services are offered by First Command
Bank. In certain states, as required by law, First Command Insurance
Services, Inc. does business as a separate domestic corporation.
Securities products are not FDIC insured, have no bank guarantee and may
lose value. A financial plan, by itself, cannot assure that retirement
or other financial goals will be met.
First Command Financial
Services, Inc. and its related entities are not affiliated with,
authorized to sell or represent on behalf of or otherwise endorsed by
any federal employee benefits programs referenced, by the U.S.
government, or the U.S. armed forces.

Contacts

First Command Financial Services, Inc.
Mark Leach, 817-569-2419
Media
Relations
msleach@firstcommand.com