How much of a stash of cash is enough?

Torey Posts: 5,505 admin

I was just reading the blog post about having cash on hand. I've been doing this for quite awhile but was having this discussion with a friend recently and we were trying to decide on how much cash to have on hand.

I do agree with some of the comments about how it is necessary to have credit cards for reservations for hotels, airlines, etc., in our current world. However, if the power grid fails, cards won't be of much use. I think, the idea of having barterable items or skills is a very good one.

Wondering what others might consider a good stash?

What do you think @Marjory Wildcraft?


  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    Wow, @torey that's a tough question. I can't say that I really think cash will have any value if the grid fails. Bartering seems to be the honest way of the future, stealing the dishonest way. I would prefer it to be bartering over stealing but I imagine they will go hand in hand.

    We have a good working relationship with several of our neighbors so I expect that wouldn't change much. Cash on hand is a rare thing among us close neighbors and the $5 to $50 I usually have in my wallet is more than the others put together. Maybe I need to rethink the cash on hand situation.

  • dianne.misspooz
    dianne.misspooz Posts: 105 ✭✭✭

    However much you do stash, make sure its in small bills in case someone doesn't have change for you. I totally forgot about saving cash... thanks for this great reminder!

  • Cherlynn
    Cherlynn Posts: 169 ✭✭✭

    We've always kept a large jar that we toss our coins into. Its a 5 gallon water bottle. At one time we needed $1,200 for an emergency and we had it in coin in this full jar. Right now we are a long way from being full but we still toss our coins in it. Being retired we don't travel much so it takes much longer to refill the jar. It's an easy emergency fund.

  • valizona
    valizona Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    i agree that having a bit of smaller bills around but for the RAINIER days -- downed grid, etc-- I'd have small bits of silver to trade along with skills. Most likely gold will be confiscated like it was in WWII. Silver coins, jewelry are easy enough to stock and save little by little.

    by far, the most valuable resource one will have is what they know! growing food, herbal medicine, etc, essentially all the things discussed right here in this community.

    and, if you can, it wouldn't hurt to have a few cartons of cigarettes and (vacuum packed) coffee. those are SURE to increase their value at such a time. Plus, it's even cheaper to pick up and stash now.

  • GardenMama
    GardenMama Posts: 95 ✭✭✭

    I think this is tough. For a myriad of reasons. The push towards a fully traceable cashless society is pretty strong at the moment. And then there is always the thought that the grid could fail.

    Regardless, I think youd be better off investing in getting yourself some pieces of gold and silver bullion. That's got value regardless and easier to barter with than cash will be

  • Jens the Beekeeper
    Jens the Beekeeper Posts: 643 admin

    Over here in Germany a recent study concluded that every German has somewhere around 1400 Eur in cash at home.

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭

    I watched a webinar series recently on currency and the recommendation was more to store gold and silver as these will always have value. Cash (bills and coins) only has the value assigned to it by the country that backs those particular forms.

  • Annie Kate
    Annie Kate Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭

    Yes, @valizona , I'm expecting that knowledge, especially related to food and natural medicine, will be very valuable.

  • Voodoo Flóra
    Voodoo Flóra Posts: 258 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2020

    @torey what a good topic of discussion, thanks for posting. I really do think that a good, solid collection of herbs, plants, and basic food--not to mention the skills to grow and raise food for a family is a priceless bartering tool and actually more valuable than cash in important instances. A rare seedling will be worth its weight in gold!!!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,505 admin

    Thanks everyone for your comments. I agree that having barterable skills, products or other trade goods is one of the best back-ups to have. If the grid fails country wide or world wide that will be the solution. I am well stocked on survival and farming skills and other types of trade items. Coins are a great idea as well as small bills so you can pay with exact change.

    I was considering cash for the more immediate needs during a disaster type situation, as well as total armageddon. I have been in a disaster situation where the evacuation orders isolated some communities for weeks. When emergency runs were able to get in and out with supplies, cash was KING! You would be shocked at how much some people will pay for cigarettes during a crisis.

    There are also electrical failures or bank glitches that prevent us from using cards (debit or credit) for extended periods of time but businesses can still accept cash. If I needed to get gas, for example, during a crisis, I would need about $300 just to fill my vehicles and jerry cans and more if I had to drive any distance to get away from the situation or rely on my generator for any length of time.

    @Jens Good for everyone in Germany. That is a pretty good stockpile.

  • Ferg
    Ferg Posts: 285 ✭✭✭

    if society collapses, your cash will be as useful as Yugoslavian currency. Barter system will be the way to go at that point, i think.

  • probinson50
    probinson50 Posts: 49 ✭✭✭

    Great discussion. Our family definitely wants to become as self sufficient as we can become. Learning those skills are a priority now that we have moved onto larger agricultural zoned property.

  • solarnoon.aspen
    solarnoon.aspen Posts: 219 ✭✭✭

    Before total collapse, there will be lots of opportunity to use cash. I have taken out quite a bit mainly because I don't trust banks to take care of it at all, but I didn't think to get it in small bills. That is a good idea torey

    I agree with others that trading and collaborating will be the most valuable resources. Thankfully people who know how to survive by living off the wild or off their land will, I think, have the most wealth at the time.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2020

    I'm like Eeyore the donkey when it comes to the lights going out - "oh woe is me, I had tins of coffee, but they broke when they fell and all went bad", "the cartons of cigarettes molded because the roof leaked", "a squirrel ate all my seeds when it got in the house after a tree fell on it." I try to put the German average by for a rainy day, but it seems to be raining a lot lately. I started to collect silver, but forgot where I put it. Whenever I try to accumulate something, there seems to be a problem that makes me regret accumulating it in the first place plus I'm out the time, money and effort. Oh woe is me.

    I'm just going to have to rely on my accumulated knowledge and hope I don't get dementia.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 721 ✭✭✭✭
  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,505 admin

    @nicksamanda11 Wow! You must live a much more frugal lifestyle than I do. $5 will barely buy a 2 quart carton of milk in my neck of the woods.

  • Paradox
    Paradox Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    Not to be debbie-downer, but if you are in a grid-down situation, there won't be electricity to run the gas pumps either.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,505 admin

    @Paradox Actually, most of the rural service stations that are in my area have generator back up and a means to pump the gas. But I wasn't considering cities where the grid going down would affect gas stations.

    I wasn't trying to suggest that cash was going to be the only answer. I am in total agreement that barterable skills and trade goods will be of more value than cash (or even precious metals) if everything goes totally sideways. I am in agreement that credit cards have become necessary to do so many things (ordering online, making reservations, etc.) and are an important source of emergency funds. But I was thinking more along the lines of the immediate future of a smaller disaster such as a wildfire, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, etc. These are the times that I think are important to have a stash of cash to get through.

  • fivelawrences
    fivelawrences Posts: 33 ✭✭✭

    I think skills and items to barter is the best plan, but I think having cash is good, too. Rainy days can come at any time! The amount you should have saved varies based on your lifestyle, location, situation, though.

  • Jack_Went_Splat
    Jack_Went_Splat Posts: 59 ✭✭✭

    @torey You have asked a great question. It appears there are lots of views because we all see the lack of electricity in different ways. We all have different experiences and reading all the entries here can help us all to see things from different perspectives AND be better prepared by considering different scenarios than our limited ideas about what a power down situation will be like based on our biases.

    Thank you for asking and everyone who responded, thank you for your inputs.

  • AN1981
    AN1981 Posts: 18 ✭✭✭

    I didn’t think of smaller bills! That’s a good idea. I am not a huge fan of going 100% digital and am afraid too many folks rely too heavily on this way of doing things today. The closest thing to digital for me is a credit card. 😆