The partial government shutdown may have ended a couple of weeks ago, but, like a bad hangover, the economic fears and financial uncertainty it created are lingering.
"I'm definitely thinking like I want to have at least a month's salary in the bank. Is that going to affect Christmas? Absolutely," Sweisthal said.
The 45-year-old executive administrative assistant is pinching pennies after her husband, an air traffic controller, wasn't paid for several weeks even though he had to report to work.
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His paychecks are flowing again, but Sweisthal, who lives in Middletown, Del., said the behavior she's seen in Washington since has her worried about how long that will last.
"I have no confidence that this won't happen again," she said.
Economists say the damage the partial shutdown and debt ceiling fight created can heal, but it could take some time to rebuild Americans' confidence. That's especially problematic because the Great Recession was such a deep blow, and the subsequent economic recovery has been so weak and fragile.
"What's going on in Washington is like this heavy weight on the collective psyche," said Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody's Analytics. "Sometimes it's heavier than others, but in general since the recession hit it's served to dampen confidence."
Zandi thinks the key ingredient to stronger economic growth is confidence, whether that's a business having the guts to hire a bunch of new employees or an individual feeling good about making a big purchase.
"We just haven't gotten our groove back yet," Zandi said. "We're not confident enough to really step out and take those risks."
The Conference Board reported last week that consumer confidence deteriorated considerably in October as Americans were shaken by the government shutdown and debt ceiling fight.
In a research note, economists with IHS Global Insight said flatly, "This is a very bad report."
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Consumer confidence is likely to rebound now that the government is up and running, but the IHS economists warned that such things usually fall faster than they rise.
That's especially worrisome to retailers who are heading into the all-important holiday season hoping to convince shoppers to open their wallets, and may not have time to wait for people to grow more optimistic.
Separately, a Gallup poll released last week found that Americans' economic confidence has risen since the shutdown ended, but is still well below the level it was in mid-September, before the shutdown.