If there is ever a power outage for any length of time, businesses won’t be able to take credit or debit card payments. They will, however, be able to take cash. Therefore, having some emergency cash hidden on your person is a good idea. Having some at home for emergency use is a good idea as well.
Cash On Hand
How much money you keep on hand depends on what your situation is and how much you can afford. For many people $20-$40 might be just fine, others may like more.
Think about your routine. What do you have to do on a daily basis? If you live in an area where you have to take mass-transit, having enough cash to cover various fares plus a meal or two would be a good idea. If you have to drive to work, I would have enough for gas to get home and a meal or two.
Since this is emergency cash, the goal is for it to not be spent unless it’s an emergency. I had to put it in a separate area of my money clip to make sure I would know not to spend it. The downside of putting it in another section of your wallet is that if you get mugged, or lose your wallet, you’re now in the very emergency that you could have used the cash for. One option is under the paper and mints of an Altoids tin. A money belt cold be worn, or maybe a drop wallet. A drop wallet is a wallet that looks real but that you carry in case you are mugged. I knew a guy that carried one and got mugged in Reno. They took his drop wallet and took off. He was peeved, but glad he carried it.
Another option is your car. If you go this route, make sure it’s hidden well enough that someone can’t just break a window and lift the center console to grab it and go. One option is a small empty pill bottle that you can’t see through. Fold the cash up, put it in the bottle and put the bottle in the glove box. The bottle will feel empty and might be ignored if your car does happen to get broke into.
Cash In the Home
How much cash you store at home, much like cash you keep on your person, depends on your lifestyle, finances etc. I think a goal should be enough cash on hand to pay for all bills and expenses for one week minimum to start. This will ensure you can buy fresh groceries and purchase medicines that might be needed, as well as gas for your vehicle.
Since this is a larger sum of cash, putting it somewhere secure is a must. A safe that can’t just be picked up and carried away isn’t a bad idea.
There are the old standby’s, in books, in picture frames between the picture and the backing, gun safe, fire safe, under the mattress, etc.
Here is a clever idea that I heard about. Cut a rectangular section out of the sheet rock, 8-12” above the floor. Put your belongings in there and then place a vent cover over the hole. It will look like a cold air return to anyone who doesn’t know.
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