Emergency Cash


Let me talk a little about cash.  There are some important facts to be aware of.  First, the vast majority of money is electronic.  Credit cards, checks, wire transfers, paypal, debit cards, these are all ways we have to interact with our electronic money.  This electronic money depends upon: electricity, computers, and the internet.  If any of these go down our access to our electronic money is also down.  An important part of preparing is to make sure you have enough cash on hand to put you at ease.  How much cash?  How long could the power be out?   My philosophy about preparing is that I would rather have too much than not enough.  You should have at least 1 weeks worth of cash for buying required items in the aftermath of a disaster.   The exact amount is up to the individual.    A disaster puts a mostly cashless society into a cash and carry society.  Be prepared for this.

Some warnings about getting, storing, and using cash.  Getting cash: although you have every right to own cash, doing so may invite the attention of the DEA who may think you’re some kind of drug dealer.  After all, only drug dealers use cash (duh).  This is a real worry because the drug laws seem to say you are guilty until proven innocent.  Be cautious about how much cash you withdraw at the same time – cautious, but not paranoid.  Also, make sure your cash is in small bills so you are not dependent upon change.  People surviving Katrina learned that having a $100 bill was as helpful as having nothing – no one had change.  I guess you could always overpay for that can of diet coke….

Storing cash: don’t tell people you have cash around.  My neighbors house was broken into and in the closet they found his emergency cash.  They came back several more times looking for more.  Keep it quiet and hidden.  You may want to take steps to defend yourself and your property.  You also want to protect your cash from fire or water damage.  Buy an adequate safe to keep it safe :).  Having a fire and loosing your emergency cash adds insult to injury.
Using cash: if everyone around you is broke and hungry, it’s very prudent to keep your own cash out of sight. A desperate person will go to extremes to feed their family; a hungry person will do whatever  is necessary to procure food. Someone who flashes a lot of cash is courting danger.  When buying things make sure you separate your cash into what you think it will cost.  You don’t pull out a big wad of bills and count out what you need in front of other people.  If there are people out there today that rob and kill for $20, what will they do when they see a “fortune”?  You may want to consider means of self protection.