Cheri - May 20, 2021
When I began to drive (100 years ago), Dad gave me $10 emergency money to keep tucked in my wallet. Only grounded once for having spent the money on an “emergency” that didn’t meet his standard. 😉 I still keep at least one $20 folded up and hidden in my wallet — and a few more bills tucked around in the car. Comforting to always have at least a bit of cash on hand.
JohnM - May 20, 2021
$20 in the car, for sure. Add some quarters for parking meters.
JohnM - May 20, 2021
Informal markets give additional insight into your excellent denomination lineups. Whenever I have a garage sale, everybody wants to pay with a $20 bill. I find $5 bills the most useful for making change, even better than $10 bills. Day laborers routinely claim to have no change, forcing me to overpay (which I don’t mind so much).
So don’t be that person who only has a twenty. Swap one or two $20 bills for $5.
My cash kit contains a few mint ones and fives for use in finicky vending machines. Larger bills should probably be in new, but clearly circulated condition. Too new, and they might appear counterfeit.
I hear that black marketeers prefer the newest $100 bill design with the blue stripe. In your picture you have both designs of $100, which seems smart in case a seller has a preference, as might happen if there are counterfeits of one design in circulation.
Jonnie PekelnyContributor - August 17, 2021
Thank you for this article. I have two questions. First, if we shouldn’t store money in places where a thief can easily grab the item, then how should we store it for bugging out? Currently, I have my money broken up into three, pretty arbitrary groups. Part of it lives in a hidden place in my house, part in my BOB and part in a hidden place in my car. But I’m not sure that’s the best system. Would love some advice.
Second question: I’ve always heard that it’s important to have small denominations, as in $1 and $5 (for US money). The idea is that in a real SHTF scenario, cashiers may not be able to make change. But in the article you say that storing $20 is sufficient. I would love to just go with $20 — so much easier. But is that really good enough?
John RameyStaff - August 18, 2021
Great questions. I essentially do the same, with cash hidden in house, car, and BOB. You don’t want to make it so secure that it becomes impractical to get to when you need it. So it should be relatively easy for you to get to, but in a way that isn’t obvious to thieves. eg. don’t keep cash in a wallet in the front pouch of a backpack — find a place to hide it within the bag instead.
Denominations are another personal preference thing. Yes, you could end up in a situation where you spend a $20 for something $5 and don’t get change back. But I’d rather that happen vs. not having a gross enough amount to begin with and be limited in what I can buy.
I tend to think that in the situations where you’re actually relying on this cash + the world is bad enough you can’t get change, things are pretty bad and thus I’d rather err on the side of having too much.
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