Do You Keep Cash on Hand? How Much?


Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Sep 23, 2013
Cincinnati, OH
I have thought about this recently, and curious how much cash you keep on hand? I mean real cash at your house and available right now. Not at the bank, or ATM, or other source you have to go get it. Assume power is out or other major event, and you can't get cash from a source other than if you already have it in hand.

Since I do old cars as hobby, I always have at least $1000-1500 cash ready for an "opportunity". My DW may interpret this as "collecting more old car junk" :LOL: It is also available to cover any situation that may come up and need real cash, when you can't pay with a credit card or check.

So I am curious what do the rest of you do? :confused:
Normally when I run low on cash, I go to the ATM and withdraw $300. So, at most times I have between $20-$300 in my wallet. We eat lunch out every day and we choose to pay in cash, so it is convenient for me to do that. Many others here have said in the past that they carry absolutely no cash and conduct no cash transactions. They simply put their purchases on credit card.

August and September are historically the most likely months for a hurricane to strike New Orleans. From past experience I know that cash is absolutely essential should that happen. So, during these months I generally have well over $500 in cash on me, as well as a full tank of gas in the car in case we need to evacuate.
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I usually carry a small amount (less than $100) in my wallet, but that's it. Never see the need for more, in fact outside of scalping tickets, I can't recall the last time I needed more than $100 in cash at once.
Usually less than $100. We hit the ATM about every 6-8 weeks and get $200 to split between the two of us. We have a couple of restaurants that only take cash but if I know we are going there, I make sure I have enough to cover the check. Although they would probably let me come back later with the money -- they know us.
I carry $200 - $300 in my pocket and another $1,000 or so at home. Living on Florida's Gulf coast I like to know I can access a decent amount of cash if needed. Also, I suppose much of it is habit. I like to pay small merchants in cash when I can. It saves them the credit card charge and, even though I dislike the thought, I suppose it saves some of them a bit on income tax as well.
We keep zero cash on hand. None at the house. OK, maybe $5 in our wallets. In today's world, we can buy/pay for everything with a credit card. Even vending machines take a credit card for a 50 cent can of pop.

As for natural disasters like hurricanes, I have never had to spend cash just because the eye walls of hurricanes have ravaged our neighborhood. Indeed, one could not spend cash because all the stores were closed and the employees had their own problems at home to deal with. We did use our credit cards before the hurricanes hit in order to get prepared.

Small merchants around me like to avoid cash and want their customers to use credit cards. They have to store cash, keep it from being stolen, take it to the bank, and so on.
I never carry cash. I've always found cash to be inconvenient, and a hassle.

I use credit cards for everything. The only time cards get inconvenient (or impossible) is when I go out to a meal with a lot of people (like 10 or more) and the place doesn't want to split the ticket across that many cards.

All other scenarios, I use plastic. And if a local merchant doesn't accept credit cards, they'll never get my business.

When food trucks first started coming by the office, some would only take cash, and I never patronized them. When they wised up and started accepting Square, I started visiting them (although I'm still not a huge food truck guy, I prefer to go out for lunch).

I'd be just fine if cash went away. Paying for everything with card or app on cell phone suits me just fine.
I keep a couple thousand hidden on the property. Worth it to me just in case. Same reason I don't keep everything at one brokerage or at one bank - it's good to have options.

I don't know what could disrupt bank and credit card networks but I don't think it's completely impossible.

And I prefer to use cash to buy items when a credit card would mean a 3% surcharge.
I keep a couple of hundred dollars in my wallet and about $1000.00 in cash at the house. I pay cash for small things like $10.00 lunches out and purchases under $20.00 at various stores. I keep a roll of quarter in my car for parking meters and wash-it-yourself bays. I also keep about $50.00 in cash in my car. If I lost my purse I always want to be able to buy gas.
I probably have way too much. I past years, I have had near $100K...

For anyone reading this, I do not have any now, do not try to break in. It is not worth your life (or mine).
I probably have way too much. I past years, I have had near $100K...

For anyone reading this, I do not have any now, do not try to break in. It is not worth your life (or mine).
Curious minds... How did you come into so much cash? I don't think I've had this much cash come through my hands in my entire lifetime. I was a salaried slob, however, and I guess it's a different situation with those who are self employed.
Curious minds... How did you come into so much cash?

I am guessing he went to the bank and withdrew it?

I could pull out $300K from taxable/bank by cashing in some CDs and doing a bit LTCG harvesting.

I wouldn't keep it in my house though.
Being "the bank of Dad", I sometimes will take cash deposits from the kids' odd jobs or graduation money. That will take my wallet up to the almost unfoldable level of $300 and I feel the need to deposit that in the bank.

I almost never spend cash, so $100 (my average), lasts months, sometimes longer.

As to the "prepper" angle, I have a few "junk silver" coins (US 1964 and earlier) that I collected when I was a kid. I might be able to trade those for a meal or two until I got to where electricity was, hehe.
How did you come into so much cash?

A lot of my rents were paid in cash, odd jobs, spare change thrown in a bucket, etc. It seems to add up quite a bit, quite fast. I should have deposited it, but with interest rates at 0.01%, I wasn't losing much. And my bank charges 0.25% to deposit cash over $2500.
Normally when I run low on cash, I go to the ATM and withdraw $300. So, at most times I have between $20-$300 in my wallet.

I do the same but the $300 will last for months and months b/c I pay everything with credit card.
Right now we have about $200, left from the $500 we took on a trip. Usually $50 to $100. Nearest ATM is 2 blocks from our house.

When MIL moved into nursing home her kids found a couple of thousand squirreled away among several hiding places in her house. One of you thrift store shoppers might have found a bundle they overlooked tucked into the back of a picture frame or something.
I get $160 fom my local ATM when I get low on cash. Until last year when I got a new, cashback CC, I would make this ATM withdrawal about twice a month. But now that I use the new CC for most of my supermarket purchases, it takes me longer between ATM trips, about 3-4 weeks. When I am out, I carry about $40-$60 of that cash with me, the rest stays at home.
I never have much cash in my wallet, less than $20 usually. I also keep $1,000 in cash at home for emergencies.
I never have more than $250 in cash.........although I did have a coin jar, which yielded over $80 when I finally got it sorted and taken to the bank. My practice is to use credit cards whenever possible. Not only does it defer payment for up to 6 weeks after the purchase, but it also provides accounting, which is helpful when calculating and analyzing expenses. I keep all cash receipts and write my own when none is offered (eg at a roadside vegetable stand). I withdraw $200 from the ATM when cash is running low, and that usually suffices for 6-8 weeks. I do keep some change in my car, usually less than $10. I am not concerned about an apocalyptic event that would incapacitate my bank, because I split my business between two large stable banks with branches all over the country.
I should clarify, I usually only carry about $50-100 cash in my wallet. Typically pay cash for small purchases. I will go to the bank and get $200-300 in $20 bills for spending cash every 2-3 weeks. The larger $1000+ is kept at the house, in $100 bills.

Ever notice how it can be difficult to cash a $100 bill sometimes? A lot of places will not take any bill larger than $20. I think it has to do with change in the drawer and also $100 bill is the most common counterfeited bill.
I'm like W2R. I get $300 at an ATM and it lasts quite a while. Everything that can go on a CC goes on a CC. DW and I often stop for lunch or breakfast on bike rides and some of those places are cash only. I also pay with cash for small purchases at stores <$10
Have $3 in my wallet right now. Will get $40 or something next time I'm out walking around.

None at home except a few ounces of silver and some spare change in a jar. Use credit cards for most purchases.
Almost always $70 to $100 cash in my wallet. Another $200 or so in the house.
Plus the emergency $20 hidden in the car.

Since my bank reimburses any ATM charges, it's kind of a no-brainer to just top up the supply as needed.
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