Government Shutdown Tips & Tricks for Families in Huntsville

No matter what your personal politics are, one thing is certain – when there’s a government shutdown, families in Huntsville are impacted. When it happens, everyone from NASA contractors to janitorial staff to military are keeping a close eye on the news, and all hope the impasse will be over quickly. In the meantime, local moms have some smart tips & tricks for families to navigate a shutdown a little easier. From deferring mortgage & car payments to clipping coupons to filing for unemployment – all the moms we talked to are doing something to tighten the belt during the shutdown.

Big thanks to the Mom 2 Mom of Huntsville/Madison County Facebook Group for compiling this list of helpful resources.

Shutdown Tips & Tricks From Moms

Library Love

I know everyone is aware of the library, but our library also has great digital options. If you have a Kindle or other e-reader you can get digital books. You can also download the Overdrive app and read them on your phone or iPad. Same holds true for audiobooks. There are tons of options. AND! There is a browser extension I have for Chrome (but probably available for other browsers,) called Library Extension. Anytime you go to Amazon and look at a book, it automatically loads and tells you whether our library owns it in print or digital and you can click through directly to it. It has saved me SO MUCH MONEY.
– Ashley D.

The library also has hot spots you can check out for $10 a week, max of 2 weeks. It takes a minute to get one sometimes, you have to get on the wait list, but it’s the cheapest internet you’ll find in town.
– Sarah B.

Get Thrifty

The best thrift store in town is Saving Way on South Parkway! The one on University and the one on Winchester are good, but South Parkway is the best one. And first weekend of the month is half price off everything.


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Join a Buy Nothing Facebook Group in your area.

Last resorts, Manna House distributes food several times a week. And the Hobbs Island Pit Stop does it on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays.
– Sarah B.

Check out our list of Huntsville Area Thrift Stores and donation sites.

Meal Planning on a Shutdown Budget

Mash-up Mom is a great site that posts a free weekly meal plan that totals 50-70/week based on Aldi prices. Thrift Mart on 72 and Sparkman has $1 day on Mondays where anything marked under $30 with the tag color chosen that week is $1. No dressing rooms, but I’ve gotten many nice clothes there.
– Michelle L.


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For cheap meals, my go-to is budgetbytes.com
– Lindsey D.

Something that has saved me a ton in groceries is using Plentiful Produce (you can search them on Facebook) You order a $25 basket weekly and get a variety of in season fruits & vegetables that you pick up on Saturday. I split my basket with a friend and always have plenty.
Alex M.

Other Local Resources

Redstone Federal Credit Union offers furlough assistance loans for those affected by the shut down. I remember it’s a pretty low interest rate. So if anyone gets in a super tight spot and thinks they might need some help, Redstone is a really good resource. Either with a loan or getting someone to look at your finances and seeing what else could be worked out.
– Melanie S.


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USAA is offering loans to those impacted, as well as the Navy Federal Credit Union.
– Allis J.

This list of Local Resources for Families in a Rough Financial Patch is helpful year-round.
– Stephenie W.

When all these aren’t enough, know that you may call 2-1-1, United Way’s health and human service hotline for the most up to date information about help. Available in 95% of the U.S., locally provided by United Way of Madison County and Crisis Services of North AL.
– Cathy M.

Further Reading for a Government Shutdown

government shutdown