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Coast Guard Tells Families to Hold Garage Sales to Help Make Ends Meet During Shutdown

The United States Coast Guard is learning the hard way the grain of truth in that old saying about a road to a certain not-nice place being paved with good intentions.

About 42,000 service members in the Coast Guard remain on active duty — without pay — while 6,400 of the branch’s civilian workers have been furloughed since Dec. 22.

In trying to offer some advice about how to make ends meet until the shutdown is over, the Coast Guard’s workforce support office published a document that attempted to offer some helpful tips.

Some of the tips were definitely helpful, such as instructing individuals to cut back on expenses, be proactive in contacting creditors and debt collectors about missed payments, understanding their rights when it comes to dealing with debt collectors, recommending that individuals not take on more debt to make ends meet, and advising that their credit scores may drop, but that should be considered secondary to trying to meet the basic needs of their families.

All good so far, right?

But the tipsheet also included some questionable advice in the area of offering guidance about how individuals can supplement their incomes. That advice included:

  • Holding a garage sale
  • Selling unwanted, larger ticket items in the newspaper or online
  • Offer to babysit, dog walk, or house sit
  • Turn your hobby into an income
  • Tutor students, give music lessons, or train young athletes
  • Become a mystery shopper

Now, on the face of it, all of these ideas are not terrible. And the intention of trying to help individuals facing an indeterminate period of not working or being paid was noble.

After the guidance caught the eye of the Washington Post, it was subsequently removed from the Coast Guard’s website.

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