- Be debt free. Including the house, car, and credit cards. Yes it can be done and yes, you can survive a lot longer on your emergency fund when you aren't shelling out for major bills each month.
- Have a robust emergency fund. Imagine not needing your government paycheck for a year because you can easily survive on your emergency fund (and the fact that you have only utility bills to pay). You would be relaxing instead of panicking like many federal workers are at this point.
- Always keep your stockpile of food and supplies topped off. Having a lot of food at your disposal means you will be eating well when others may not be (if the current shutdown isn't resolved by February, we will see what happens when almost a million people don't get their food stamps).
- Know how to file for unemployment. Some people have no idea how to do this but with their first paycheck since the shutdown now late, that is exactly what people will be doing come Monday morning.
- Have multiple sources of income. Some TSA workers are calling in sick so they can drive for Uber in order to make money since they won't be paid until the shutdown ends. Obviously this is less than idea but so is allowing your family to starve and be evicted because there is no money coming into the household. With a few side-gig type jobs which you are always doing, you can use the income to pay off debt, build your emergency fund, and get by in case you don't receive a paycheck or several.
- Live below your means and always be able to tighten the belt even more. Unfortunately many people live at or above their means which means they don't have extra money to pay down debt or save for an emergency.
Obviously these things are easier said than done but it is possible to reach all of these goals with enough time (it isn't if but when the next shutdown will happen) and a firm resolve to put wants and frivolities aside to get these necessities taken care of ASAP.