First Command News & Media


First Command Reports: Career Military Focusing On Black Friday For Holiday Frugality

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals two out of five middle-class military families plan to do most of their holiday shopping on the day after Thanksgiving

Print-friendly PDF

FORT WORTH, Texas — America's career military families are preparing to make Black Friday the focus of their frugal shopping plans again this holiday season.

First Command's annual holiday spending survey reveals that 40 percent of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and senior NCOs in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) plan to do most or all of their holiday shopping on Black Friday. This represents a continuation of a trend that began last year, when Black Friday emerged as the new holiday spending centerpiece of an ongoing commitment to frugal living. During the 2011–2013 period, less than one in five military families said they planned to do most or all of their holiday shopping on the day after Thanksgiving.

This servicemember focus on Black Friday stands in sharp contrast to the plans of the rest of America's Middle Class. Just 12 percent of general population respondents plan to do most or all of their holiday shopping on Black Friday, statistically unchanged for the past five years.

These Black Friday spending plans underscore the continuing commitment of career military families to frugal holiday celebrations. The Index reveals that 94 percent plan to cut back this year, statistically unchanged from the past three years. The frugal holiday spirit is also alive (albeit less pronounced) in the general population, where 80 percent of consumers plan to cut back this year. That's about the same as the past two years.

The 2015 holiday shopping season marks the eighth consecutive year that the Index has pointed to leaner spending in military families, reflecting a larger trend toward frugal living.

"The intention of servicemembers and their families to aggressively hit the stores on the day after Thanksgiving is yet another sign of their careful approach to consumer spending,"" said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. "Our research reveals that military families are committed to the frugal strategies they perfected during the economic turmoil of the past several years. By cutting back again this holiday season, career military families are giving themselves the gift of positive, time‐tested strategies in their pursuit of long‐term financial security."

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.

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.


Hiring Our Heroes Project Sanctuary Joining Forces First Command Educational Foundation Armed Forces Bowl Marine Corps Marathon FPA Alliance