So, I know I'm gonna piss off some friends of mine with this, but I kinda hope this shutdown serves as a wakeup call for some folks. If you can't miss a paycheck without paying your mortgage or needing to go to a food bank, you need to work on your finances.
The other thing I did was claim single-zero on my deductions and then take that big refund and send it directly to the mortgage co. Before I bought the house I put those refunds in savings for the downpayment. I paid my first house off in less than 10 years. Of course, it was a cheap house. I didn't buy what the realtor said I could afford. I knew better. Do you REALLY need that 5000sf house that will cost a fortune to heat & cool?
Everyone has areas where they can trim the fat. Do you really need a new car every two years? I'm on my second one, it's a 2006 with about 100,000 miles on it now, and I paid cash for it when I bought it. The first one was 8 yrs old when I replaced it, and I coulda squeezed a few more years out of it but I needed something bigger. Or thought I did, anyway. And I doubt I'll ever buy another new car, I'll buy someone elses 2 yr old trade-in and let them take the huge depreciation hit. But I haven't had a car payment in this century. I'm on my third new TV too. :-) Granted, I spend a TON of $$ on computer and camera gear and travel. But I only started that after I got a cushion.
If you smoke, consider quitting. You can save big $$ and feel better. If you eat out all the time, try to cut back on that. Learn to pack a lunch. Keep all your receipts for a week and add it up. You might be surprised. If you use a credit card, make sure it's one that gives you cashback. Preferably one with no fee. Some grocery stores offer $$ off gas purchases. This may or may not be a great deal.... Something silly I still do is throw every bit of loose change in a big vase. At some point when it gets full I hit up one of those coinstar machines. You'd be surprised how much $$ you can save without trying. There are a million advice pages on how to start bootstrapping yourself out of debt and begin to live within your means. Worrying about money is a killer. It doesn't have to be.
Standing on the beach looking north towards my property in the Bahamas, which I purchased in 2004. With cash.