Due to some unfortunate issues, I had to start preparing a material in my own lab that I used to get from a collaborator. I was always planning on doing this, but not for another year or two. The earlier spending on supplies and equipment severely depleted my emergency fund. I took on 4 students, which is at the upper limit of what I can support, and doesn't leave much leftover for emergencies.
Now, I knew all along that this strategy had risks and rewards. I have all of my equipment installed and running in my renovated lab. By this time next year, it looks like I will have 4 papers based on data exclusively from my new lab, which would not be happening without all the spending. This, on top of the 3 last papers from National Lab data, plus a potential mini-review stemming from all my proposal writing means my CV is definitely benefiting. The issue is converting this early success into more reliable funding. I had some success last year, but all with small grants or new investigator programs. We are in austerity mode, buying only essentials now. I had already planned on attending 2 meetings with significant travel, but other travel will have to be local (or paid for!) until I get more money.
This is why I am spending so much time writing now--3 proposals done for September, with another 2 white papers + 1 proposal to do by mid-November. The reality of my situation hit me hard last week now that I have 4 mouths to feed. I am freaking out!