Do you have any? Should you have some? If you are reading this blog, you are probably into your own self-preservation. Money makes it a whole lot easier to survive. Having a little as a safety net makes life easier.
Dave Ramsey is the man when it comes to budgeting, saving, and investing. He suggests starting with $1,000 emergency fund and then building it to 3 to 6 months worth of living expenses. I can tell you from experience that having a large sum of money in the bank makes life less stressful.
But for everyday, just having money can get you out of a lot of problems. I don’t carry a lot of cash, just $20 or so of mad money to spend. I budget myself by only getting $30 a week to spend on crap. But that isn’t emergency money. I always have a card on me with at least that $1,000 I can spend if something really bad happens. For life’s everyday little problem, I carry a “red neck” emergency fund. I carry $100 bill behind my cards in my wallet.
If you are in trouble, $100 cash can get you a lot of things that a card can’t. That’s enough to fill up my gas tank, get a room for a night, or enough money to get someone to help me if I need it. Cash also works when your card gets cut off. It’s happened to me when I was traveling across the country. The bank thought someone had stolen my card and shut it off. I was in the middle of nowhere USA and there was no cell service to call the bank. That $100 easily filled my tank and bought my wife and me some snacks and drinks to be on our way. We wouldn’t have died without it, but it would have made life interesting trying to make it to the next cell service or borrow a phone to call the bank so they would re-activate my card.
I also keep cash around the house. It’s easy for me, just lock it in the gun safe. Cash will get you a lot of things. Years ago, I had about $1,500 in the safe and our refrigerator went out. I just pulled out the stash and went to the store. Kept us from spending an absurd amount (have you seen what they want for refrigerators these days!)
My suggestion is have enough cash on you to get home from where ever you are going and then have enough cash at home to spend for food and gas for a week or so. That way you will never have a problem. I’ve been lucky and never had to use my stash for more than the refrigerator, but when I traveled overseas, I always had enough cash to get out of the country and most of the way home.
The idea is to always have a way out if something goes wrong. When you have cash at home you always have a way to get to your money. If the banks close down for some reason, or the power goes out in your town, you will have cash to buy things. Remember, if there is no power, there are no credit card machines to take your bankcard.