So as you have probably heard, Congress finally got their act together and the government remains open for business. Nothing like last minute.
I was actually going to have to come to work today anyway, so nothing really changes for me personally except that I will get my paycheck on time. As I mentioned though, this wasn’t going to be an issue. One of the benefits of living off of last month’s income. All my spending money for the month is already in the bank. But this isn’t the case for everyone.
I know there are government employees who are living paycheck to paycheck who can’t do much about it. For example, one of my coworkers is the sole breadwinner for her family because her husband was laid off after an unexpected illness. He’s working to find a new job, but hasn’t come up with anything yet. They’re making ends meet and not putting themselves further into debt, but not getting paid would really hurt them.
But there are other government employees who are living paycheck to paycheck because their expenses are out of control. I hope that for many of them, this shutdown threat knocks some sense into them. Maybe it’s time to save more, try to live on less. Instead of buying that new tv because you really want it and then ending up with more credit card debt, try saving for it. Put away a little money every paycheck. And the more money you put away, the faster you’ll get your new tv.
Better yet, start funding an emergency fund. Or if you don’t want to do that, try paying off your credit cards so that if an emergency happens, you have available credit. I don’t recommend this as a good idea, I think it’s better to have an emergency fund of available cash, but let’s be honest. A lot of people out there just aren’t going to follow that advice. Why save money? That’s boring. So use that money to start attacking your debt.
And this goes for more than just the federal employees out there. What would you do if your paycheck disappeared for a few weeks? Would you be able to scrape by? If not, what can you do to set yourself up for success?
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.