Survival Cash For After The Disaster


Cash is King. At least it will be, for awhile, following any disaster or collapse – until such time that it is not.

Having a quantity of cash on hand, both in your wallet and stashed in a safe at home, will be invaluable for awhile after any disaster.

Here’s’ why:

Almost all of today’s current money supply is electronic. Digits, computer data entries, one’s and zeros. Cash on the other hand does not need electricity and electronics to be currency. Merchants gladly accept cash as currency exchange for goods and services.

Statistically, only a very small fraction of today’s money supply in the United States is actually physical cash or coin. This is known as the ‘M0’ (M zero) Money Supply. Although the real percentage is elusive, it (cash) is apparently quite less than 10% of all ‘money’.

Nearly all of the transactions that occur in day-to-day purchases are electronic digits. Invisible.

Having said that, imagine the consequences of commerce if the electronic systems that allow us to purchase our goods and services comes to an abrupt halt (for whatever reason).

If the power is out and electronic transaction systems are offline, many (most?) stores will not be able to accept ANY form of currency – even cash – because their corporate networked registers and computers are required for their record keeping and transactions.

However, many smaller businesses and/or local merchants will take CASH, because they don’t have the same requirements to network and report to the corporate ‘mother ship’ via computer, etc.

So, in the time following a disaster or collapse scenario, there will be places (merchants) which (who) will accept your cash – even though the electronic systems may be down.

Cash will be King. For awhile.

If the disaster or collapse scenario descends into SHTF, then cash will begin to lose it’s purchasing power to tangible and ‘needed’ real-world practical supplies and assets – whatever they may be. Faith in paper money (and it’s usefulness) will dwindle as SHTF time progresses. But until then, and for any ‘short term’ disaster, cash will be king.

Even though keeping cash on hand is not earning you any rewards (it will be losing a bit of it’s value due to inflation), keeping some cash on hand is an insurance policy that is worth the value lost each year due to real inflation. It (the inflation) is essentially the cost of your ‘insurance’. It’s worth it.

Don’t be the person who’s stuck in a disaster while their debit or credit cards do not work.
Keep some cash on hand.

Be Your Own Banker

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  1. Well said Ken. Having lived on the East Coast the first half of my life I experienced many hurricanes. Where I resided we would typically lose power for a week to 10 days. Cash was the only thing that worked to get food etc from the few merchants that had generators. My friends back east in the hell hole of NYC told me their disaster stories after superstorm Sandy and how fights were breaking out and threats made when people couldn’t use their debit/credit/ebt cards…have some cash on hand and don’t rely on the gubment.

    1. I constantly remind my wife that, other than Amazon et al, the debit card will do nothing that cash won’t do.

  2. I definitely feel more secure with a little cash squirrel away in a safe place. Since we live in an area of small towns with small businesses that are always trying to keep business at home, I know they will be glad to accept cash even if the tills are down. If they have to they can get out bill books & record transactions & then later if the systems come back on they can then copy the bills to the tills if necesary to keep inventory up to date.

    While I often pay with a debit card, I also often pay cash as I don’t want my whole life visible to the PTB. Especially if I have bought lots of merchandise on a sale with debit, I will often pay cash for quite a while after so it won’t look like I’m stock piling. Best not to keep a record of all you do. Never knew when it might come back to bite you.

  3. I’ve almost transitioned all my money to cash from debit cards. I know I spend more with debit over cash. I also like having cash around for when debit card readers go down

    1. Statistics bear this out. A typical fast food transaction via debit or credit is about 27% larger than a cash transaction.

  4. One key to being monetarily “self-insured” is making sure you are diversified. For rainy day emergencies, and we all know that these will occur, and it is good to have $500 or $1k on-hand if those happen. If you can’t do that much, just do whatever you can and build from there.

    But, what about 72 hour or 3 weeksof funds, or God forbid 3 month worth of money or longer? Think of building a timeline around monetary insurance and take it on with baby steps to strengthen your safety net.

    One area I would loved the blog post to go into detail is some general guidelines or best practices for how to approach physical monies in a diversified manner – savings, checking, cash on-hand, silver coins or rounds, gold, or other options to consider. And, then apply to a timeline or at least some ideas around one for folks to consider.

    Bottom line, it is all about being self-insured for that rainy day that we all know is around any given corner.

    I try not to pitch much when I post in places, but Dave Ramsey has some really great strategies for money. Highly worthwhile stuff to learn from and figure out what works for your home and family setup…

    1. Ramsey is right on debt, but is a one-trick pony on investing (does “a good growth stock mutual fund with at least a 10-15 year track record” sound familiar?). I think he totally misses on gold. Gold should not be thought of the way we are used to thinking of investments. Gold is for rebuilding after a major event. No counter party risk.

      1. Agreed on Ramsey, though he has put arguably together one of the strongest approaches and defense for folks to defeat debt.

        Investing is another story and he is incomplete on that story…

        When I was about age ten I remember silver was about $4 an ounce. I made my parents take me to coin shops and just dreamed about buying ounces and collecting them as an investment. Instead, I bought silver coins and whatever struck my eye.

        It is crazy that I know more at age ten about investing than my parents, but just didn’t have the funds to do it.

        Can’t go wrong with silver and gold!

          1. Just think how hard it will be when SHTF. Mark has some good stuff on his channel.

  5. It would be best to have $1’s, $5’s, $10’s and $20’s on hand with a good amount of coinage…. With larger bills, other folks might not have the correct change.

    1. Agree on mostly small bills but a few $50s and $100s would be good too. Think filling your car’s gas tank or buying a week’s worth of groceries. You can do it with $20s, it just takes a lot of them.

    2. I think the same way. Small denominations and a few rolls of change couldn’t hurt either.

      1. I also have rolls of old silver coins in my stash. When paper is worthless a silver coin will still have value.

  6. I live in a major city where there are many different nationalities.

    The Asian shopping areas still deal exclusively in cash. A debit or credit card wouldn’t buy you a stick of bubble gum in most Asian stores – there are no eftpos facilities at all.

    We buy all our groceries at the Asian food stores. They have there own provisioning network where they pay there suppliers with cash.

    The down side is that they don’t have all the “western products” which most Caucasians are used to. The up side is that what they do sell is cheaper than the supermarkets.

    If you have one of these areas near you, start shopping over there, get to know the shop keepers. If the S.H.T.F. they will still be operating and will be selling to there regulars.

    I do some contract work in a very large city shopping mall. There are a large population of Asian students living locally attending the local universities. There is an Asian bakery in the shopping mall. Their turnover is greater than the McDonald’s franchise – and it’s all in cash.

    On the subject on credit cards. I get my regular morning coffee at one of the in house mall franchise coffee shops. 80% of their coffee purchases are made using a credit card – $ 3.00 – 4.00. I questioned the franchise owner on this. Her answer? No one has any cash especially getting close to pay day. There is supposed to be a minimum $10.00 limit for using a credit card, but they don’t bother with it. Better than chalking up I.O.U.’s or getting no sale.

  7. Every week get at least a roll, if not $20, in nickels. It is cash and it’s meltdown value is about 5 cents (75% copper and 25% nickel). The melt down, or burn up, value of a dollar is a big fat zero.

    1. Even better. Source out the foreign coins which used 92% silver before going to modern cupro-nickel.
      e.g. the old currency U.K. Sterling is named for one pound (weight) of silver. The coins were percentages of silver.

  8. Cash is good but if world currencies fail you can use precious metals to buy that loaf of bread to feed your family in any country in the world. The best strategy would be to buy precious metals when the economy is very good precious metal prices are low

  9. When the SHTF and cash is no longer king, the barter system will be going strong. I doubt if many people will care about your gold. You can’t eat gold nor can you power your vehicle with it. People will be doing a lot of trading for what they want.

  10. We buy the 3 B’s & some cash in 20’s & less. Food, bullets & otc Rx are better than gold or silver.
    We have a well & septic but still put aside potable h2o. My hot tub holds 350 plus gal that is chlorinated for use in bathing & flushing. Moved from S.Cal in 2006 to Texas Hill Country & never look back. We also stocked up for items to barter: paper goods, alcohol,coffee, seeds,blankets,
    rechargeable batteries via solar, 2A & 3A.

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