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Survival Plan for Maintaining Financial Stability During Government Shutdown

The government shutdown is now in place, and along with it came a good amount of uncertainty, causing many Americans to wonder how they will survive financially. By some estimates, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will work without pay until the shutdown ends, while others may be furloughed indefinitely.

Some workers are not adequately prepared to deal with a loss of income, even a short-term one. For those living from paycheck to paycheck or without significant savings, any income interruption is likely to put them over the financial edge and negatively impact credit.

For example, consider the statistics below from the 2013 National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) Financial Literacy Survey:

  • Thirty-three percent of respondents admit to not paying all bills on time;
  • Thirty-nine percent have zero non-retirement savings;
  • Thirty-nine percent carry debt over from month to month, and
  • Sixteen percent have utilized overdraft protection in the last 12 months.

“The government shutdown should be a wake-up call for everyone, as very few have absolute job security,” said Jana Castanon, spokesperson for Apprisen. “Whether due to an unplanned expense or a job loss, no one has ever regretted being financially prepared, and preparation starts with understanding where you stand today.”

Apprisen advises consumers to take the following steps to put themselves in a better financial position, regardless of what the coming months may hold:

Assess the current financial situation

  • List all of your current expenses. Review past bills and your checkbook to develop realistic amounts in each appropriate category.
  • Track your spending, especially the smaller cash expenses that you don’t normally account for. 
  • Include everyone in the household to account for ALL spending. 
  • List your credit cards, loan payments, medical bills, etc.. 
  • Record the amount of income you have from all sources.

Evaluate Your Spending 

  • Identify top priorities.
  • Consider wants vs needs.

Don’t Avoid Talking to Your Creditors

  • If falling behind on payments is a sure thing, let your creditors know and inquire about any special hardship programs or reduced payment arrangements that may be available.
  • Payment arrangements should be realistic and fit your adjusted spending plan. 
  • Prioritize your creditor list making your mortgage priority #1.

Don’t Use Credit to Supplement Your Income 

  • Using credit during a time of income fluctuation may be tempting, however by adding to your overall debt load can make it more difficult to recover.
  • Short term credit solutions, payday loans and cash advances, carry high fees and interest rates. There could be serious financial consequences if you cannot pay them off quickly.

It is important to have a strategy in place on how you are going to handle your finances during this difficult time. For assistance in creating a plan, you can reach out to one of Apprisen’s Financial Service Specialists for a no cost consultation to help you create an action plan as you negotiate this challenging time.



Apprisen, a national nonprofit credit counseling agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt for over 55 years.

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