Thursday, April 7, 2011

Possible Government Shutdown

I'm sure everyone and their mother has heard about it, matter of fact I'm sick to death about this subject, it's everywhere you go, it's everywhere you read, it's just taken over everything.

I usually stay away from politics, matter of fact I don't think you've ever seen me post about it on my blog, but this is something that will affect us all in one way or another and I think it bears mentioning.

While I'm sick of it, I do recognize the extreme seriousness and importance of a possible Government Shutdown and how it would affect the people, but being a military family of course my main concern is to how this is going to affect us.

Let's be honest, we don't get paid, we don't have money for bills, we don't have money for food.  Plain and simple and as it is, a lot of military families live from paycheck to paycheck, one of the things that help us out is being able to shop at the Commissary on base which really does have cheaper food items than anywhere else.

Unfortunately in the event of a shutdown, the commissaries will be closed too.  There has been no confirmation for the ones Stateside, but the DeCa Europe has already announced that they will be closed:

Leslie Brown, spokesperson for DeCA Europe, confirmed Thursday that all commissaries will be closed for the duration of any government shutdown.
AAFES and NEX stores will not be affected unless they receive goods via the DeCA distribution system.

If you're stationed overseas, I would suggest you try to stock up as much as you can today and tomorrow, or make other arrangements to get groceries elsewhere.

I'm going to head to my commissary tomorrow and stock up on a few things too, I would rather be prepared and safe than sorry.

Here are the services that would continue:

TRICARE spokesman Austin Camacho said a federal government shutdown wouldn't have an impact on them.

"Everything will be business as usual...Our beneficiaries will not see any loss in service or care," Camacho said.

Camacho said all of TRICARE's managed care contractors such as dental and medical are already budgeted for the year.

In a briefing Thursday morning, Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said that in addition to activities necessary for national security, others that would be considered “excepted,” and thus continue, would include:
  • Inpatient and essential outpatient medical care in DoD medical treatment facilities
  • Emergency dental care
  • Non appropriated funds activities including dining facilities and child care
  • Legal activities and assistance for deployed DoD personnel
  • Contracting and logistics in support of activities that are considered accepted
  • Financial management activities to ensure control of funds

I think the best thing in this is to not panic and to keep a few things in mind, I've been researching and looking and trying to find the best way to go about this.  It's all very confusing and overwhelming and scary.

From Paycheck Chronicles:

First, what you should NOT do:
  • DO NOT take out a “payday” loan.
  • DO NOT cash out your Thrift Savings Plan.
  • DO NOT pawn all your valuables.
  • DO NOT make any major financial decisions while under this stress.

What you SHOULD do:
  • DO prepare to talk with any creditors, including landlords, mortgage companies, orthodontists, child care providers, car finance companies, loans and credit cards.  They may or may not be helpful but communication is essential.  Try to get an idea of who is likely to work with you and who is really not going to cut you any slack at all.
  • DO be prepared to suspend any automatic debits that you have scheduled.  If you have automatic drafts that are to come out immediately after the 15th, and you won’t have the money if you don’t get paid, you might want to suspend them as a precaution.  It typically takes a few days to stop an automatic draft from being debited.
  • DO look at the choices you are making RIGHT NOW.  There should be quite a few purchases, both large and small, that can be eliminated or postponed.  Can you take that vacation next  month?  Does that home repair need to be done right now, or can it wait a bit?  Would it be possible to wait to purchase that new washer and dryer, or could you buy a used one instead of new?  On a smaller scale, this would be the right time to cut back on little luxuries.  Can you give up the Red Bull, or buy it at the commissary instead of from the convenience store?  Can your family eat a few more meatless meals?  Might the $5 laundry soap clean your clothes as well as the $9 bottle?

I've found this informative and helpful and thought I would pass it along to my readers.

One thing to remember as well, if you need to, you can turn to your service aid/relief societies for help. - Army Emergency Relief - Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society - Air Force Aid Society - Coast Guard Mutual Assistance

The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society has issued a statement saying:

If there is a government shutdown, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society will remain open and operate normal hours. In the event there is an interruption to military pay, the Society will be prepared to assist with rapid, short-term, interest-free loans to avoid privation with essential items such as food, gasoline and other necessities.  This situation will be treated as we would a natural disaster, requiring rapid financial assistance without reviewing budgets or providing financial counseling.  We will respond to clients needs as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Pre-approved financial assistance ($300 for single Sailors and Marines; $600 for Navy and Marine Corps Families) will be delivered in the form of a check. To obtain assistance, the client need only show a military ID card and sign a repayment document.

I would love to have some sort of announcement from the Air Force Aid Society but so far, nothing has been posted, but I will pass it on the minute it is.

Am I worried about it? Yes.  Is it scary?  Yes.   do I think we'll be fine?  Yes.  And why?  Because even though we've never been through a shutdown in our married life, we've learned to live within our means and we've been through the tough times and the living from paycheck to paycheck.  I've learned the hard way to make do with what I have and make meals on a very tight budget.

It's doable.....the main thing is to not panic.  Look at what you're spending, cut back on some expenses that you don't need.

One other thing I'm doing is finding out how my bill collectors will react to a shutdown, will they work with us if we can't pay them for that month, or not.  Credit Card, telephone, cable, insurance and car payments etc.  It doesn't hurt to be prepared :)

In closing, I just want to say that for me the hardest part of this is thinking about the troops currently deployed and fighting overseas, I don't think that they should have to worry about this on top of everything else going on.  This is uncalled for, it's pathetic and it's really sad that things have to come to this.

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone and I mean EVERYONE during this period of uncertainty.

God Bless!

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