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No. of Recommendations: 3
As a Federal employee working in a remote area, do you have any premium pay that you would have to give up if you worked in a less remote area? It's also not necessarily true that a less rural area is less expensive to live in. Manhattan or San Francisco are probably more expensive by far.

The furlough was hard on a lot of employees who live paycheck to paycheck. This tells me that you need to build an emergency reserve and get to the point of being able to pay all your bills. Which, of course, relates to the first -- matching income to outlay. If your largest expense is gas and it's a 6 hour roundtrip for basics, then it's really important to plan those trips. I agree with the idea of shelf-stable milk. It also freezes fairly well if you have a freezer that will hold things like that. Buying bulk of everything else is also a good idea, and one that I'm sure you try to implement.

Since some of your debt is medical, I am also hoping that you have a reasonably good health insurance plan through your workplace. If not, it's worth looking at the cost-benefit analysis of that choice to see if there is a better option for next year's open season.

And one more offer. If you need to update your resume for applications, I'd be happy to review it (offline) and offer suggestions. I have the opportunity to review a fair number of applications for Federal jobs, so may be able to give you some pointers.

ThyPeace, also a Federal employee, albeit in very different circumstances.
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