“Cash is king!,” a Chicago native told my husband one day. I hadn’t heard the term before but considering that our friend’s family was reputed to have ties to the mob, I wasn’t surprised.
I’ve thought a lot lately about the importance of having cash on hand. Severe weather and natural disasters routinely shut down access to banks and ATMs, and in fact, ATMs can be emptied of cash in no time by panicked customers. A worst case scenario, such as an EMP or economic collapse, would shut down banks for long periods of time. Even if the dollar was devalued, there would still be some value left in saved cash.
I recommend storing enough cash at home to get you through at least a week. In the case of an evacuation, this cash would be useful for hotel stays, fuel for your vehicle, food, supplies, and more. If hordes of evacuees descend on a town, your cash-in-hand might mean a good night’s sleep in a clean hotel room if a hotel manager decides he or she would rather have cash than payment by debit or credit cards. And forget writing a check in an emergency. Out-of-town checks are rarely, if ever, welcome.
Are you planning for something much bigger than an ice storm, such as an economic collapse? In that case, set aside as much money as you think you’ll need to cover the mortgage payment or rent, utilities, food, and other necessities for several months.
Be sure to stash smaller bills, no larger than $20s. You may not be able to break a fifty- or hundred-dollar bill. Store $50-100 in small bills in your emergency kit/Bug Out Bag, and a similar amount in your vehicle. If money is tight, try to set aside just ten dollars each week in order to have a nice stash of cash in a few months. Around the house, divide your cash in three or four different bundles. If your kids are responsible and mature-ish, let them know the location of one of the stashes. If there is ever a time when parents aren’t around, that money may help your kids survive in difficult circumstances.
Protect your cash from the elements as well as severe weather and natural disasters common to your area. Just remember all your hiding places and save your money for true emergencies!
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