Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Cash on hand for emergencies
Old 01-02-2008, 11:58 AM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 284
Cash on hand for emergencies

I've see the topic of emergency money reserves discussed, but I haven't seen much discussion of how much actual cash people tend to keep available.

I mean cash in hand like for catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina, wildfire, an earthquake, massive storm, terrorist attack, or other such event that would require you to produce cash for travel, food, shelter, etc if you had to evaculate, and could not get to a functioning ATM.

I keep about $1000 in the house in a fire-secure and well-hidden place.
__________________

__________________
A854321 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 01-02-2008, 12:08 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Goonie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: North-Central Illinois
Posts: 3,198
We usually have a few hundred 'in hand' at any given time, but if it's a true emergency, we also have the credit & debit cards available.
__________________

__________________
Goonie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 12:15 PM   #3
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,826
The Wednesday before Hurricane Katrina hit, I sent in $8000 towards the principal on my home which left me with about $1100 in the bank or so. I don't remember how much I had in my wallet, but I never carry more than $200 and usually just $20 or so.

Talk about learning a lesson the hard way! LOL I had my debit card, and it worked, but I still only had access to $1100. Had we stayed in New Orleans I could not have got cash that way. Even if the electricity had worked (which it didn't for weeks), the machines would have been empty in no time.

Before Katrina, I thought that I would have no problem under such circumstances. After all, I've been camping! However, I was unable to stay with electricity, water, sewage, phone, and basically all infrastructure out, with gas unavailable and bands of criminals roaming the streets, in the ghastly heat in the dark of the moon and so on. So, in a future emergency I am sure that I would get out of the area, even if I had to walk out, as many did.

As of today I have $12,000 in checking and savings at my bank. I try to keep between $6,000-$12,000 in there (time to upload some to Vanguard soon). I have about $30K in Prime Money Market at Vanguard, which I could get access to as well, though I think it would take a day or two. In my wallet, I keep no more cash than I ever did. When there is a hurricane in the Gulf, I try to keep $300-$400 in my wallet and I keep my gas tank full.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 12:16 PM   #4
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 16,501
Normally not more than a few hundred, most times less than that. Never gave it much thought - being law enforcement I'd have been one of the last people to leave. Guess I'll have to readjust that mind set.

The reality is that given the extreme circumstances described I'll settle for simply staying alive and worry about the rest later.
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 12:19 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 284
Well, I consider having cash in hand as a strategy for staying alive, buying gas or supplies. I also consider the situation where the communication systems are disrupted and we can't get access to ATM's, used credit cards or debit cards.
__________________
A854321 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 12:20 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Fireup2020's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,186
I usually have a $20 bill stashed out of the way in my wallet. I am the worst when it comes to the green stuff. It flies out of my pockets - it is not reflected on any balance sheet, so it is almost free! (pathetic? Yes. My mental issue? Absolutely.) When I use my debit/credit cards, I actually THINK...what will this look like on paper?
__________________
Make no mistake, my friend, it takes more than money to make men rich. - A. P. Gouthey
Fireup2020 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 12:29 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,615
It's a myth that you need cash on hand. When my home was damaged by a tornado and power was out, we simply walked over to the local McDonald's which still had power and they were giving out free food.

When hurricane Rita came through, we simply sheltered in place. We could neither eat nor drink cash and it could not be used to buy gasoline because there was no gas to buy. You couldn't use a cell phone either because you couldn't get into the network because of everyone else.

In an emergency, you need to have an SUV with a full tank of gas so that you can drive out of flooded areas, over debris in the road, and around stalled vehicles. You need a credit card to buy gas once outside of the disaster area. You need an outdoor propane gas grill for cooking. You need a fishing pole and nearby lake with fish in order to eat. You need 30 gallon rubbermaid trash cans with covers full of water (store in your shower or bathtub). If you want, you need a battery/solar/crank-powered radio.

An emergency fund is for when you lose your job. If you are not working for 6 months, you don't need 'instant' access to your money because you will be using it up slowly over those 6 months and not all at once on the day you are fired.

You surely don't need cash. At least I have never needed cash in any disaster that I have been through.
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 01:35 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
calmloki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Independence
Posts: 5,459
Habit for us from the days when we would see a good deal and buy it. Private car sellers and yard sales people are not wildly enthused about accepting checks - at least not compared to cash. There are those that we deal with who prefer cash. Also has been handy on several occasions when someone needed bailing out of jail (neither of us, but we have some friends....). Also probably sorta like the tribal turks wearing their wealth - we've got it, so having a little stack of green paper feels good to have around. Same way with gold, except having the paper sit around costs us more.
__________________
calmloki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 01:59 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,764
20 or 40 bucks.
__________________
Notmuchlonger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 02:00 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
mickeyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: South Texas~29N/98W
Posts: 5,880
Quote:
I keep about $1000 in the house in a fire-secure and well-hidden place.
Are you refering to that floor safe that is in your closet in the master bedroom?

As I am a complete CC/DC fan, I seldom have more than $40 in cash on my person at any time.
__________________
Part-Owner of Texas

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

In dire need of: faster horses, younger woman, older whiskey, more money.
mickeyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 02:14 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SecondCor521's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boise
Posts: 2,401
I guess I just don't see the need.

As far as I know there has never been a hurricane in Idaho where I live.

Wildfires are commonplace here in the summertime, but they're always in the mountains. Any significant fire within 10 miles of my house would be handled by the firefighters, who are about 2 miles away. Even in the unlikely event that my house burned down, I would still expect the credit cards in my wallet to work.

I lived through a ~7.0 magnitude earthquake in Idaho in about 1985. It lasted a few minutes and there was no need for cash during those few minutes nor any problems with the financial infrastructure afterward.

I've lived through a number of massive storms in Idaho as well. The worst problem I ever had was having to light a fire under my truck to warm up the engine oil enough to get it started. Emergency cash wouldn't have helped in that scenario except as kindling.

I can't quite conjure up a scenario where a terrorist attack in Idaho or elsewhere in the US would require immediate access to cash. Or rather, I can't imagine a scenario where the outcome would be different if I had $200 or $2000 in cash as opposed to the $20 or so I usually carry.

I usually ask this question when this kind of topic surfaces: Can anyone provide any actual example where having, say, a few hundred in emergency cash on hand actually was necessary? I can understand preferable, like calmloki's buying new cars, or convenient, but truly necessary?

2Cor521
__________________
"At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough, and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact be the first steps of a journey." Violet Baudelaire.
SecondCor521 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 03:01 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 10,031
Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
I usually ask this question when this kind of topic surfaces: Can anyone provide any actual example where having, say, a few hundred in emergency cash on hand actually was necessary? I can understand preferable, like calmloki's buying new cars, or convenient, but truly necessary?

2Cor521
I think you are right .I've gone thru blizzards up north and a hurricane here and I never needed a lot of cash just some candles ,a gas grill ,flashlights ,gas and a credit card .It's pretty inconceivable that in today's cashless society that you could not get by with just a credit card
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 03:15 PM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 577
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
I think you are right .I've gone thru blizzards up north and a hurricane here and I never needed a lot of cash just some candles ,a gas grill ,flashlights ,gas and a credit card .It's pretty inconceivable that in today's cashless society that you could not get by with just a credit card
I share your perspective. In my region of NY, the worst is no power for five days. People considered it an adventure. It happened 20 years ago. Probably the most likely threat is fire, and I'd be glad to be alive. I'm in a neighborhood where people find it satisfying to share.
__________________
kat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 03:38 PM   #14
Moderator
bssc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,923
Probably about 100 or so. And try to keep the gas tank above half. Worse crisis here was when the pipeline broke and there were gas shortages (about 2 years ago). Also keep about six months of food in the house because of sales.
__________________
Angels danced on the day that you were born.
bssc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 03:43 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireup2025 View Post
I usually have a $20 bill stashed out of the way in my wallet. I am the worst when it comes to the green stuff. It flies out of my pockets - it is not reflected on any balance sheet, so it is almost free! (pathetic? Yes. My mental issue? Absolutely.) When I use my debit/credit cards, I actually THINK...what will this look like on paper?
Wow.... this is not normal thinking... but if you work with it I guess it is OK...

Most people do not think about that debit card... but if they have to peel off a bunch of $20s to pay for that stereo or HDTV... well, then maybe it is not as important to buy.
__________________
Texas Proud is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 04:22 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RunningBum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5,164
I've got 50K stashed so that if they ever catch up to me, I can bolt and spend money without leaving a paper trail.

No, actually I used to keep very little, and in the last few years I think I put about $500 in travellers checks and $500 in cash in my lock box, and a $20 or so in my car. I'm not even sure why. I guess maybe if there is mayhem I'll have some bribery money to use.
__________________
RunningBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 04:38 PM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
calmloki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Independence
Posts: 5,459
Looks like i'm the odd duck - the idea of using a stack of Benjamins in case of earthquake, flood, or meteor strike doesn't really show up on my radar. It's mostly about opportunity and options. In the last three years i bought a '91 BMW 318i for $1500 on a weekend 75 miles from home. I bought a '93 BMW 525it for $3200 175 miles from home. Bailed out a neighbors kid, which kept him from losing his job. Paid labor to a number of apartment cleaners and random job kinda people...options open. Another thing: we're all upstanding law abiding folk, but if for some reason i wanted to be 2000 miles from here for a few weeks or more and didn't care to have anyone tracking me by my credit card purchases i could do so. Same as my concealed carry permit - i don't, but could, stash a pistol in my pocket. It's legal and i have the option. It's not cost free; in the last three years i've lost two wallets with "away from home walking around money", and a relatively small amount has been stolen from our home, but for the buck or so per day plus the cost of lost interest it has cost it feels worth it to me. Weird that way - awful thrifty in most other ways though.
__________________
calmloki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 05:38 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 4,764
Keep food and water on hand that is portable. We keep a backpack each with important emergency things in them. I would be perfectly fine to evacuate in 5 minutes.
__________________
Notmuchlonger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 06:14 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
It's a myth that you need cash on hand. When my home was damaged by a tornado and power was out, we simply walked over to the local McDonald's which still had power and they were giving out free food.

When hurricane Rita came through, we simply sheltered in place. We could neither eat nor drink cash and it could not be used to buy gasoline because there was no gas to buy. You couldn't use a cell phone either because you couldn't get into the network because of everyone else.

In an emergency, you need to have an SUV with a full tank of gas so that you can drive out of flooded areas, over debris in the road, and around stalled vehicles. You need a credit card to buy gas once outside of the disaster area. You need an outdoor propane gas grill for cooking. You need a fishing pole and nearby lake with fish in order to eat. You need 30 gallon rubbermaid trash cans with covers full of water (store in your shower or bathtub). If you want, you need a battery/solar/crank-powered radio.

An emergency fund is for when you lose your job. If you are not working for 6 months, you don't need 'instant' access to your money because you will be using it up slowly over those 6 months and not all at once on the day you are fired.

You surely don't need cash. At least I have never needed cash in any disaster that I have been through.
Replace the word "cash" with the word "gold".
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 07:00 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 7,408
Quote:
Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
Replace the word "cash" with the word "gold".
Might I suggest Bear Bryant's: 'agile, mobile, and hostile.' Or in a better mood mood - a little Yogi Bear's : 'exit stage right' might be apropos.

The Katrina view from Best Western in Memphis(on tv before the power went out briefly) - seemed to work best.

My guns, gold and freeze dryed food period of the 1970's was never tested(thank goodness), probably wouldn't have worked worth a pitcher of warm spit - BUT after after I tossed in the towel - I did have a warm and smarmy - pssst Wellesley phase before my current Boglehead/balanced index/lifecycle period.

Ride to/er ? from the sound of the guns - or at least drive to the point where your ATM card works!

Seriously - along the rest of the drill - I never never went below a half tank of gas June to December living in New Orleans.

heh heh heh - now I have an unopened box(Auto Zone) of snow chains in my pickup toolbox. Emergencies solved with mere money - I will put on the tab(borrow). Theorywise - some us are just so impure! and just bad to the bone!
__________________

__________________
unclemick is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Home made small stove for backpacking/emergencies samclem Other topics 4 10-01-2007 11:43 PM
I like Cool Hand Ben frayne FIRE and Money 2 08-06-2007 11:08 AM
How much cash (actual greenbacks) do you keep on hand and why? hogtied FIRE and Money 90 04-18-2007 10:50 AM
How much did you have on hand at FIRE time? Rich_by_the_Bay FIRE and Money 15 03-17-2006 01:47 PM
Rant: Everyone has their hand out... Jay_Gatsby Other topics 30 11-17-2005 11:28 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:10 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.