Cash could be king in a crisis

Keeping some cash on hand for an emergency is something we’ve talked about from time to time. An emergency situation could shut down financial institutions for a few days, meaning stores would not be able to process debit or credit card purchases.

ATM machines would be shut down, and even if some remained functioning, they would see huge lines and run out of cash before too long.

Having enough cash for two or three days would probably be enough to keep yourself and your family in a good spot until things return to normal. But what if the crisis is much more severe and banks stay closed for a week or two or three? It has happened in Greece and other countries, and someday it could happen here.

My suggestion is to gather enough cash to hold you and your family over for at least one month. This would be a great time to dip into your stockpiled food, water and other essentials, so you wouldn’t have to spend cash on them.

But you may find yourself in need of medicine and other items if you encounter some unforeseen circumstances, and you’ll need cash for that.

Now, telling someone to gather a month’s worth of cash and actually being able to put that much money aside are two different things. Especially if you’re already living paycheck to paycheck. On the other hand, financial institutions are probably not going to shut down today, so go at it a little bit at a time.

Start by putting aside one day’s worth of cash, then two, then three, until you are able to build up to a week. As your situation permits, you can build it up from there.

It might take a little sacrifice, but having that cash reserve will give you peace of mind. You’ll know that even if financial institutions were to shut down for a period of time, you’d have the cash to get through the crisis.

While you’re building your cash stockpile, come up with some creative ways to hide it. The odds may be against your home being burglarized, but you just never know when it might happen. Don’t make it easy for the robber by keeping cash in obvious places.

Care to share some of the places you’d recommend for hiding cash and other valuable items? Our readers would appreciate hearing about them, and you can keep them anonymous.


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