- Pay the minimum due on all of their bills.
- Pay off any loans they took out to carry them through this shutdown.
- Bank any remaining money in case the shutdown resumes in February.
- Look at every single bill and figure out how to reduce or eliminate it (maybe cancel cable and use an OTA antenna, call several car/house insurance companies and see if they can find a better rate, see if they can get a cheaper cell phone plan, etc).
- Put aside an emergency fund of two month's worth of expenses.
- Pay off debt ASAP.
- Establish multiple streams of income.
- Stockpile a couple month's of food and supplies (shop loss leaders, buy in bulk, etc).
- File their taxes as soon as possible; hopefully their refund will clear before the next shutdown occurs.
The bottom line is that no one--federal worker or regular civilian worker--should be caught in a bind during such a glitch in their income. It was a surprise this time but such a shutdown shouldn't come as a surprise next time and people shouldn't be waiting in a food line mere days after their first paycheck doesn't arrive. Everyone should ensure their fiscal stability as quickly as possible in order to weather the ups and downs of their jobs/income streams/our temperamental government.