A government shutdown is when the government stops providing services except those deemed “essential”. Government shutdowns do not exist in other countries. Services that continue despite a shutdown include the National Weather Service, medical services at federal facilities, the postal service, armed forces, air traffic control and management, and corrections. Personnel that continue to get paid during a government shutdown: the President, Congress, the military, federal law enforcement agents, doctors and nurses working in federal hospitals.

The DC Government, National Archives, The Kennedy Center, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patent and Trademark Office, Social Security benefits, unemployment benefits, SNAP (food stamps), IRS refund delays, border patrol, some high ranking presidential appointees, approximately a dozen presidential personal aides would still function.

Americans have to change the way they think about money and how they spend it. They must change their bad spending habits to ensure they have a decent life in case an unexpected expense occurs such as a medical condition, job layoff, and death of a loved one or economic crisis. Here are 11 practical ways to shield yourself from a personal or economic crisis.


Always have enough food for at least one week.


Pay priority bills first such as mortgage/rent, utilities, cell phone, auto and health insurance.

Emergency Fund

Create an emergency savings account to pay your bills and monthly expenses for at least 6 – 12 months.

Voluntary Simplicity Movement

The movement means spending in terms of needs vs. wants, cutting back in various areas of your life – reducing expenses, and being responsible with your spending.

Get current on past due accounts

Pay down credit card and loan balances. Keep credit card balances at 20% or less of the credit limit which helps increase your credit score. Pay credit card balances in full each month.

Create a budget

Create a budget to determine how much you earn, how much you owe and how much you are spending.   Include savings in your budget. Track your spending daily, weekly or monthly.

Reduce expenses

Determine areas where you can reduce spending by buying more needs vs. wants such as bringing your lunch to work, shopping at discount stores or buying generic brands or downsizing to a smaller car or home.

Don’t hide from bills

Call your creditors right away to setup payment plans to get current on old bills to prevent harassing calls or letters from creditors, damage to your credit report or legal action.

Get Protection

If you don’t have health, life or disability insurance consider getting at least basic health and life insurance. Bundle services with the same company to save money.

Extra Income

Find ways to earn extra income.

Plan for the unexpected

Plan for the unexpected. Reduce spending by 30-50% and have a plan A and B. Think of possible scenarios. Develop an action plan for each and how you can adjust your spending to accommodate for those events.

Shop differently

Buy a used car instead of a new car. Buy everything generic: household items, clothing, prescriptions, toiletries, dry goods, canned goods, paper products. Buy non-designer clothes. Avoid impulse shopping. Buy basic necessities and limit the amount of wants purchased.