Many Americans have been affected by the recent economic downturn, and this is also true of military servicemembers, a number of whom say they plan to significantly reduce the amount they spend for their kids’ back-to-school shopping.
While about half of middle-class military families say they’re planning to buy clothes and supplies for their kids’ back-to-school needs, roughly 40 percent say they plan to spend less this year than they did in the past, according to new data from the financial research firm First Command. This trend toward more controlled spending for military families has been seen in many areas since the recent national recession.
The most popular strategy military families will take to reduce their back-to-school costs in 2012 involves re-using supplies left over from the previous academic year, as 55 percent will do so, the report said. Another 52 percent say they simply plan to scale back spending on back-to-school clothes, while 50 percent say they won’t buy new electronic devices for their kids.
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Further, 45 percent say they will take to shopping for the items they need at discount stores, while 38 percent believe that finding less expensive supplies in general will be a wise course of action, the report said. In addition, 31 percent will simply buy fewer supplies. Buying items in bulk and dressing kids in hand-me-downs are tactics used by 19 percent of respondents apiece, while 12 percent will have college kids live at home, and 10 percent will share supplies with others.
“Active-duty families continue to respond to the lackluster economy and fears about pending military budget cuts with a commitment to frugal living,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services. “They are pursuing their long-term financial security through money-saving behaviors they’ve refined during the ongoing financial downturn. Back-to-school shopping is yet another occasion for military families to spend less, save more and reduce debt.”
The survey also found that 65 percent of military families feel “financially stretched” every month, the report said. Only 29 percent are either extremely or very confident that their fiscal situations will improve over the next year.
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Many Americans struggled financially in the last few years, but military families may face further difficulties if they receive orders to relocate permanently.
Image: woodleywonderworks, via Flickr