Cash on hand for emergencies

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JGoneRiding
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Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by JGoneRiding » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:54 am

I know this has been disgust a bunch, BUT the recent natural disaster in Puerto Rico has me thinking about it again.

According to reports gas stations are rationing, people cant use Credit cards cause power is still limited. ATMs are limiting withdrawals to $40 after you stand in hour long line. And they can't even get cash to some areas to refill banks and ATMs cause roads are impassable. And its been 2 weeks since it started.

I have always held that it is necessary to have SOME cash on hand. I generally keep about 1k but now I wonder if it should be a little more. I also now think I need to store some water! We have a well but it requires power and we have no generator.

?How much if any cash do you keep around. Why/Why not? Any one been in an evacuation type situation where it made a big difference?

I realize islands are special because you can't just drive away from it all, but I live in a county that could easily become trapped under the right circumstances (river that gets closed regularly on one side and mount passes on all 3 others)

Rupert
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Rupert » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:15 am

As you note, Puerto Rico is a special case. It is not just an island -- it is an island that was suffering from serious fiscal and infrastructure problems long before Hurricane Maria hit. So I wouldn't judge your situation by what's happening there. How much cash you should keep on hand for emergencies varies depending on (1) what you need to do to sleep peacefully at night and (2) what sort of disaster, natural or otherwise, you might reasonably expect to occur where you live. I live in an area affected by hurricanes. So during hurricane season I tend to keep several hundred dollars in cash on hand just in case we lose power for a number of days following a storm or need to evacuate. After a storm, some stores will open to sell non-perishable items, but they'll be cash only before the power is turned back on. During a massive evacuation event, credit card processing systems will be overwhelmed, and some gas stations will only accept cash. Having a little cash during either of those scenarios is helpful. I can't imagine a scenario where I would need a lot of cash; so I would never store the amount of cash that you are contemplating. Not that doing so is wrong necessarily. If it helps you sleep at night, then by all means do it. I just can't imagine a scenario in my community where it's likely to be necessary.

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samsoes
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by samsoes » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:25 am

Other than a jar of pocket change at home ($20 or so), and whats in my wallet (currently $43), I keep -zero- cash. Methinks I need to rethink that based on recent natural disasters.
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David Scubadiver
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by David Scubadiver » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:44 am

I echo the comment above. Puerto Rico is a special case because it is an Island. Surrounded by an ocean, and a very big ocean at that.
Hard to imagine what sort of disaster we would have to see before the ATM on the mainland stopped spitting out cash.

And it is difficult to fathom the Visa/MC network being turned off for any length of time. That said, a hacker could theoretically shut it down. But then again, a hacker could theoretically empty your bank account too.

My motto is, "Be prepared" and by that, I mean, it isn't my motto. But my cash on hand, meaning that which is not in the bank or invested, is usually about $200 plus numerous piggy banks that the kids have. Back in the day when the US Mint was selling dollar coins with free shipping ... well, cash on hand could have been a little higher due to credit card churning at the U.S. Mint.

Greatness
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Greatness » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:58 pm

In these days, I'd recommend keeping the following at home.

1) 2.5k - 5k in cash (in a hidden safe preferably bolted to the ground).
2) Legally licensed gun and ammo (in a hidden safe preferably bolted to the ground).
3) Water for up to 2 weeks for you and your family.
4) MRE's which last for ever.
5) Water purification tablets

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Hyperborea
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Hyperborea » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:30 pm

Greatness wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:58 pm
In these days, I'd recommend keeping the following at home.
For those of us not as steeped in the secret knowledge, what specifically are "these days"?

As for the cash, I keep $200 in each of the two earthquake bags, $20 in each vehicle (mostly for gas in case of a lost wallet), and there's maybe a couple of hundred in general cash as a float - used to pay for lunches (makes it easier to divide the bill with friends), music lessons, farmers market, etc.

Admiral
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Admiral » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:36 pm

I think you're going to get replies that run the gamut from greatness's to samoses's. Some people are preppers, some are not. Some people expect and plan for the worst, and some don't. Certainly if I lived in a rural area I would most likely have a generator, and/or water if I had a well that required power. You can go a long time without much food, and a lot less time without water.

We live in a city. We do not own firearms (because, if we did, spouse and I would have shot each other long ago :happy ). We do not keep cash around, nor food stuffs, nor bottled water. Our power lines are buried. At any given moment we have enough food to last weeks (provided we could cook it). We also have family nearby.

I suppose if a major hurricane was imminent (we live 70 miles from the ocean) we might get bottled water and some cash. Other than that, we do not prep. We have candles and flashlights. It would take an awful lot for us to lose water (like the entire municipal water system would have to fail) or power for long periods. Not saying it's impossible, but it seems unlikely.

That said, we were not in lower Manhattan during Sandy (or 9/11 for that matter). Had we been, we might be more of the prepper type.

Greatness
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Greatness » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:13 pm

Hyperborea wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:30 pm
Greatness wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:58 pm
In these days, I'd recommend keeping the following at home.
For those of us not as steeped in the secret knowledge, what specifically are "these days"?

As for the cash, I keep $200 in each of the two earthquake bags, $20 in each vehicle (mostly for gas in case of a lost wallet), and there's maybe a couple of hundred in general cash as a float - used to pay for lunches (makes it easier to divide the bill with friends), music lessons, farmers market, etc.
Guess you never lived through a natural disaster.

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dm200
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by dm200 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:15 pm

As I recall, there were issues with ATMs in NY City after the 9/11 crisis.

I keep between $300 and $600 in cash myself and DW keeps a similar amount.

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Hyperborea
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Hyperborea » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:22 pm

Greatness wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:13 pm
Hyperborea wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:30 pm
Greatness wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:58 pm
In these days, I'd recommend keeping the following at home.
For those of us not as steeped in the secret knowledge, what specifically are "these days"?

As for the cash, I keep $200 in each of the two earthquake bags, $20 in each vehicle (mostly for gas in case of a lost wallet), and there's maybe a couple of hundred in general cash as a float - used to pay for lunches (makes it easier to divide the bill with friends), music lessons, farmers market, etc.
Guess you never lived through a natural disaster.
Actually, I have. In my current location I'm waiting for the earthquake and am ready for it but haven't had anything more than mild tremors. However, I've been through ice storms and blizzards where the power has been down for quite a while and the roads are impassable. Never needed to shoot my neighbour yet to keep them from stealing my shovel or warm socks though.

Still not sure what "these days" are too. Are we talking the "end times"?

Spirit Rider
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Spirit Rider » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:39 pm

I don't think you need to resort to hyperbole.

"These times" probably means we are no longer living in a time populated by the "greatest generation" who understood adversity. We increasingly have a society that is ill prepared for everyday life, let alone disasters. Even with the limited disasters we have had in the last dozen years, many times it has dissolved in unnecessary chaos.

All you need around my neck of the woods is for there to be a few extra inches of snow than normal and there is a massive run on the supermarkets. What people don't have enough food and supplies to last them a few days or even a few weeks.

Greatness' list doesn't even begin to qualify as prepping. It is just good common sense to understand that you may need to be able to provide for you and your familiy's health, safety and welfare.

This should really entail moderate amounts of cash, food, water and personal defense (whatever you choose that to be including none). Looters are not typically your neighbors.

Investing is all about managing risk for financial matters. Shouldn't you also be managing other risks, including the specific point of this thread (cash on hand). Not because you have needed it, but because there is a reasonable chance you might need it. Do you have life insurance, because you will die tomorrow? No, you have it to protect your family's financial well being in case the unexpected happens.

smitcat
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by smitcat » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:47 pm

We live in Long Island NY and have used our cash on hand a few times between Sandy and a few snowstorms these past 10 years.
In all the cases we have used cash there was no option for credit cards as the power, phone lines and cell towers were down for quite a distance and for up to 5 days at a time. Some of the examples of cash use were: gas , snow supplies, snow plow companies, food , spare parts, tree removal , line replacements, towing ,etc.
We hold more cash then most as these costs also cropped up with our business's as well as at our home.
We are certainly not out in the country and have seen folks lacking for cash in these circumstances.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by sunny_socal » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:57 pm

Spirit Rider wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:39 pm
I don't think you need to resort to hyperbole.

"These times" probably means we are no longer living in a time populated by the "greatest generation" who understood adversity. We increasingly have a society that is ill prepared for everyday life, let alone disasters. Even with the limited disasters we have had in the last dozen years, many times it has dissolved in unnecessary chaos.

All you need around my neck of the woods is for there to be a few extra inches of snow than normal and there is a massive run on the supermarkets. What people don't have enough food and supplies to last them a few days or even a few weeks.


Greatness' list doesn't even begin to qualify as prepping. It is just good common sense to understand that you may need to be able to provide for you and your familiy's health, safety and welfare.

This should really entail moderate amounts of cash, food, water and personal defense (whatever you choose that to be including none). Looters are not typically your neighbors.

Investing is all about managing risk for financial matters. Shouldn't you also be managing other risks, including the specific point of this thread (cash on hand). Not because you have needed it, but because there is a reasonable chance you might need it. Do you have life insurance, because you will die tomorrow? No, you have it to protect your family's financial well being in case the unexpected happens.
LOL, here in southern california a power outage more than a couple hours generates the same type of behavior! Stores are emptied, people fight at gas stations that are no longer running. :mrgreen: ATMs and Visa networks are also disabled during a power outage.

I have $2k cash on hand but I'll bump it up to $5k, maybe keep half of it in a bank lock box. That should be enough, I think the risk of house fire is larger than a potential disaster.

ResearchMed
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:07 pm

sunny_socal wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:57 pm
Spirit Rider wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:39 pm
I don't think you need to resort to hyperbole.

"These times" probably means we are no longer living in a time populated by the "greatest generation" who understood adversity. We increasingly have a society that is ill prepared for everyday life, let alone disasters. Even with the limited disasters we have had in the last dozen years, many times it has dissolved in unnecessary chaos.

All you need around my neck of the woods is for there to be a few extra inches of snow than normal and there is a massive run on the supermarkets. What people don't have enough food and supplies to last them a few days or even a few weeks.


Greatness' list doesn't even begin to qualify as prepping. It is just good common sense to understand that you may need to be able to provide for you and your familiy's health, safety and welfare.

This should really entail moderate amounts of cash, food, water and personal defense (whatever you choose that to be including none). Looters are not typically your neighbors.

Investing is all about managing risk for financial matters. Shouldn't you also be managing other risks, including the specific point of this thread (cash on hand). Not because you have needed it, but because there is a reasonable chance you might need it. Do you have life insurance, because you will die tomorrow? No, you have it to protect your family's financial well being in case the unexpected happens.
LOL, here in southern california a power outage more than a couple hours generates the same type of behavior! Stores are emptied, people fight at gas stations that are no longer running. :mrgreen: ATMs and Visa networks are also disabled during a power outage.

I have $2k cash on hand but I'll bump it up to $5k, maybe keep half of it in a bank lock box. That should be enough, I think the risk of house fire is larger than a potential disaster.
Um, is the bank door lock controlled with electricity?
If their ATM isn't working...

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livesoft
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by livesoft » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:09 pm

One is not prepared for a disaster unless they can survive without using any cash. Sure, have all the cash you want, but in a real disaster there will be no one to accept your cash.

I used to live on Long Island. I was on Long Island for Sandy. I now live in Texas. I experienced Rita and Ike and Harvey. I experienced other disasters as a kid including having my high school destroyed by a tornado. I remember my mom screaming her head off because all the homes across the street were destroyed.

You had better have enough options for shelter, medicine, food, water, and whatever else you require for many days. You should be able to hide out in what is left of your home for a week or more without going anywhere. And if your home and neighborhood burn down, then you should be ready for that as well.

Our usual modus operandi is to be diversified in where to go when disaster is expected or after it strikes. We have sheltered in place for a day or so, then gotten out. Our vehicles can drive through foot-deep water, but not 2-feet-deep water. They can go 350 miles on a tank of gas and are kept filled if bad weather in the Gulf of Mexico is expected. If there was no power in our home, there is enough food in the pantry of the usual stuff to eat for a few weeks. There is enough camping fuel to cook. There are enough fish in the local ponds to augment our diet. We are not going to starve, but we won't be eating gourmet food every day.

I am not worried about using pond, stream water because I know how to disinfect it. I also know out to fill up containers and to use the 80 gallons of water in our water heaters if needed.

I have solar chargers for batteries, so I can use headlamps, radios, and phones, but I also don't need them to survive.

We don't keep much in the way of perishables in the house, but prefer to buy them weekly. Thus, we don't have much in the freezer or fridge to be ruined during a power failure.
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livesoft
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by livesoft » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:20 pm

I'll tell a Sandy story.

I was at a place providing First Responders with meals during the storm. I was sheltering in place. At lunch a fireman told me this story: His wife decided she needed to get gas in her car. I don't know why because gas stations were not open. So she drove out of her neighborhood until she came to a large tree fallen across the road blocking her progress. So she called her husband who told her to go back home. The next call he got from her was that another big tree had in the meantime fallen across the road she had already travelled over. So she was trapped in her car, away from home between two fallen trees. And then her cell phone battery ran out.

I don't know what happened to her, but she probably easily survived. I'll just note a couple things:

1. Everybody knew Sandy was coming, so why didn't she fill up with gas beforehand.
2. Why didn't she have a cable to keep her cell phone charged by her car.
3. What was she thinking?
Last edited by livesoft on Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Meg77
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Meg77 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:38 pm

My mom says she keeps enough cash in the house to buy enough gas at today's prices to drive and pick up each of her 4 children (and their families) and bring them back to the house where we grew up in Alabama. Her 4 kids are spread from TX to OH to KY so that's a fair chunk of gas $ - and I think she's serious.

My dad meanwhile keeps the "Y2k closet" stocked with coffee and canned goods and water that would probably last a month with all of us there. He cycles the inventory by using the stores himself on a "last in first out" method so nothing gets too old/expired. He's also got some gold coins hidden in the smallest denomination possible (for bartering, naturally, if it comes to it).

They aren't paranoid types; I think these sorts of preparations just give them peace of mind. Plus they make sense and don't hurt, especially in a rural area where the house is with few ATMs nearby to begin with. Sometimes I think it would make for a great adventure for us four sisters to all be home again with our spouses and kids all in one house. My military brother in law and his guns could guard the property; me and my banker husband could work out a barter system and manage inventory; my youngest sis and her husband could grow crops...
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cherijoh
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by cherijoh » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:20 pm

Admiral wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:36 pm
I think you're going to get replies that run the gamut from greatness's to samoses's. Some people are preppers, some are not. Some people expect and plan for the worst, and some don't. Certainly if I lived in a rural area I would most likely have a generator, and/or water if I had a well that required power. You can go a long time without much food, and a lot less time without water.

We live in a city. We do not own firearms (because, if we did, spouse and I would have shot each other long ago :happy ). We do not keep cash around, nor food stuffs, nor bottled water. Our power lines are buried. At any given moment we have enough food to last weeks (provided we could cook it). We also have family nearby.

I suppose if a major hurricane was imminent (we live 70 miles from the ocean) we might get bottled water and some cash. Other than that, we do not prep. We have candles and flashlights. It would take an awful lot for us to lose water (like the entire municipal water system would have to fail) or power for long periods. Not saying it's impossible, but it seems unlikely.

That said, we were not in lower Manhattan during Sandy (or 9/11 for that matter). Had we been, we might be more of the prepper type.
Charlotte was hit by Hurricane Hugo back in the 80s and so when they were forecasting that Irma might come inland, stores sold out of batteries and bottle water by the Thursday before the storm. Some people didn't get power back for 2 weeks during Hugo, but we never lost city water. I think the latter may have been influenced by issues a few years back in Columbia SC where the water treatment facilities were breeched by flooding.

I have lost power many times (even though power lines are buried in the neighborhood). A few summers ago we lost power for several hours 3 Saturdays in a row! :annoyed Fortunately that was very localized so I just drove somewhere with power and A/C.

We did lose power in my neighborhood because of Irma for 24 hrs (some parts of the neighborhood for almost 48 hrs.) A falling tree snapped the main power pole feeding the neighborhood the neighborhood.

Whenever they are calling for snow or ice here you can't find bread, milk, eggs or toilet paper. Probably beer as well although I'm not a beer drinker :wink:

Pobre
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Pobre » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:38 pm

"The Northeast blackout of 2003 was a widespread power outage that occurred throughout parts of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and the Canadian province of Ontario on Thursday, August 14, 2003, just after 4:10 p.m. EDT.

Some power was restored by 11 p.m. Most did not get their power back until two days later. In other areas it took nearly a week or two for power to be restored. At the time, it was the world's second most widespread blackout in history, after the 1999 Southern Brazil blackout. The outage, which was much more widespread than the Northeast Blackout of 1965, affected an estimated 10 million people in Ontario and 45 million people in eight U.S. states."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast ... ut_of_2003

A New Yorker who lived through this told me about how people without any cash in hand had trouble buying food and water during those days.

Hug401k
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Hug401k » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:02 pm

We keep a few thousand dollars in a safe. Frankly, it's come in handy a few times to get the "pay cash get the 10% discount" than emergencies but I wouldn't get too comfy with ATM reliability. They don't work in power outages. We also have a portable generator and a moderate supply of canned goods/pasta/rice we eat through often every 3 weeks or so. We have a bathtub and lots of containers to fill with water if necessary. We are more hurricane, ice storm, blizzard prep than zombie or end o' days prep. It wasn't too long ago that a crazy ice storm hit New Hampshire and some were without power for 11 days.. in the cold. That's a lot of burst pipes. We also have a fireplace and some electric heaters.

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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by mouses » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:11 pm

I have $200 to $300 on hand in the house in $10 and smaller denominations, and replenish it when it gets too low. (I run it down with farmers' markets etc.) I have maybe $50-$80 in my pocketbook. I learned to do this when I was in a dept store and the power failed and only people with cash could buy things.

I have 4-6 gallon containers of water, canned goods, manual can opener, food for the cat, a month's of meds for me and the cat, etc. All this stuff is in use so it cycles without effort.

I have a battery powered lantern, big fat candles, matches, a battery powered radio, I think I have a hand cranked radio, flashlights, emergency lights in some rooms. In the car I keep a blanket in case I get stuck in the winter. A charger that works with the car battery for my cell phone. In my pocketbook I keep a charger for the cell phone that works with regular outlets. A bunch of batteries that I check a couple of times a year.

I try to never let the gas tank get lower than half full.

A lot of this will be of no use/destroyed during a hurricane. This is why it annoys me when people criticize the Puerto Ricans for "not being prepared." How the hell can you be prepared for 150 mph winds and ten feet of water.

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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by sawhorse » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:12 pm

I'm sure glad I had some cash when Hurricane Sandy hit. During the recovery time, many many places only accepted cash.

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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by whodidntante » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:59 pm

$1,000 + $500 for each additional adult should ride through most localized emergencies. In addition to cash, it's a good idea to keep 10 gallons of gas in cans in the garage for localized emergencies. You can either use fuel stabilizer or rotate the gas frequently by putting it in your car/snowblower/monster truck.

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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by scrabbler1 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:12 pm

The only time I went out of my way to have a little extra cash around was when Y2K (January 1, 2000) finally arrived. Remember how there was a lot of fear that things wouldn't work because all the computers would think it was January 1, 1900? I took an extra $160 of cash from my local ATM just in case ATMs were down for a few days. Y2K passed with very few interruptions of our day-to-day lives.

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Watty
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Watty » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:18 pm

JGoneRiding wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:54 am
I also now think I need to store some water! We have a well but it requires power and we have no generator.
Just FYI, in an emergency you likely have about 50 gallons of drinkable water in your hot water heater.

You can also get inexpensive "straw" water purification filters from some place like Amazon for around $20. We have several of those.

thangngo
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by thangngo » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:24 pm

Stop being paranoid. $100 or less cash is more than sufficient.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by BolderBoy » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:25 pm

I'm much more concerned about an inopportune power outage that lasts long enough that I can't shopvac water that may be seeping into my basement during an extreme rain event (happened here in 2013 - fortunately the power did not fail.)

To that end I put together a 2kW inverter setup that runs easily off my auto battery / alternator system. And I don't let the auto fuel level get below 1/2 full. The inverter can power lots of other individual things as well.
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Hyperborea
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Hyperborea » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:43 pm

scrabbler1 wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:12 pm
The only time I went out of my way to have a little extra cash around was when Y2K (January 1, 2000) finally arrived. Remember how there was a lot of fear that things wouldn't work because all the computers would think it was January 1, 1900? I took an extra $160 of cash from my local ATM just in case ATMs were down for a few days. Y2K passed with very few interruptions of our day-to-day lives.
It was great. All the old Cobol programmers were banking a lot of dough. Some came out of retirement.

I think we're good for a little while but most of the non-computer folks may not realize that time on many systems will run out in 2038. To be exact - 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, 19 January 2038. It's because of the way that computer time is often measured as seconds since 1 January 1970 using a 32 bit integer. Well, those seconds run out in 2038! So, stock up your survival bunkers - there's only 20 some years to go. :P

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem

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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by mouses » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:33 am

Hyperborea wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:43 pm
scrabbler1 wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:12 pm
The only time I went out of my way to have a little extra cash around was when Y2K (January 1, 2000) finally arrived. Remember how there was a lot of fear that things wouldn't work because all the computers would think it was January 1, 1900? I took an extra $160 of cash from my local ATM just in case ATMs were down for a few days. Y2K passed with very few interruptions of our day-to-day lives.
It was great. All the old Cobol programmers were banking a lot of dough. Some came out of retirement.

I think we're good for a little while but most of the non-computer folks may not realize that time on many systems will run out in 2038. To be exact - 03:14:07 UTC on Tuesday, 19 January 2038. It's because of the way that computer time is often measured as seconds since 1 January 1970 using a 32 bit integer. Well, those seconds run out in 2038! So, stock up your survival bunkers - there's only 20 some years to go. :P

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem
Raise your hand if you can program in COBOL :-)

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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by MikeG62 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:02 am

This post is a good reminder for me to keep a few grand in the safe in my house. I did that back in 2008 during the credit crisis, but used it once things settled down. Now with what feels like more frequent natural disasters or even the possibility of some wide scale cyberattack from some foreign actor which impacts the internet or power grid and makes the use of CC's difficult for a period of time, I think it is a good idea to have some sort of cash cushion that is easy to get my hands on. I'll use this post as a reminder to go down to the bank, get some $ and replenish my at home emergency/disaster fund.

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dm200
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by dm200 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:42 am

Raise your hand if you can program in COBOL :-)
:beer

and FORTRAN and 360 Assembler

OS/360 - PCP. MFT (and MFT2) and MVT

The good old days with standalone dumps and sitting at the console of a 360 M65 or 360 M65MP - in the middle of the night

jebmke
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by jebmke » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:49 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:42 am
Raise your hand if you can program in COBOL :-)
:beer

and FORTRAN and 360 Assembler

OS/360 - PCP. MFT (and MFT2) and MVT

The good old days with standalone dumps and sitting at the console of a 360 M65 or 360 M65MP - in the middle of the night
same here in the early days. Heavy computations in the assembler routines to speed things up and conserve memory.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

Uniballer
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Uniballer » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:21 am

Pobre wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:38 pm
"The Northeast blackout of 2003 was a widespread power outage that occurred throughout parts of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and the Canadian province of Ontario on Thursday, August 14, 2003, just after 4:10 p.m. EDT.
...
A New Yorker who lived through this told me about how people without any cash in hand had trouble buying food and water during those days.
We had power in my area, but nobody could process credit card payments. I remember paying cash at the local truck stop, and while I was pumping gas people started coming up to me and asked how I got the pump to turn on. I told them since my credit card wasn't working I went inside and paid cash, and some of them looked at me like I was from another planet.

scrabbler1
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by scrabbler1 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:39 am

I was in charge of my division's end-user programs in the 1990s and 2000s, so I was on the front line making sure those SAS programs were Y2K-compliant. We were also building a new report system and I was in charge of the testing of the large COBOL programs written by our systems analysts. I knew just enough COBOL to be able to understand their record layouts. It was good for job security and I did earn a special bonus once.

With the 2003 blackout, I was lucky to lose power for only about 7 hours, although I was woefully unprepared for it. Thankfully, I was working from home at the time (see that other thread about telecommuting), so I didn't get stranded anywhere. But I had no way of lighting my candles because I had no matches or lighters, and the gas stove uses electric to light the flames. A local bodega was open despite having no electric, taking only cash. I bought a lighter for 75 cents and had some light as darkness fell.

I did lose power during Sandy in 2012 but my ladyfriend's nearby apartment had power so I moved in there for a few days. I had about half a tank of gas, so I drove there with my stuff which included a lot of frozen foods which would have spoiled otherwise. Being retired, I had no need to spend any money for a few days. I knew power had been restored back home when the answering machine picked up my calls home, as my ladyfriend's phone and internet worked but her cable TV was out.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:46 am

I don't live in an area prone to a lot of disasters - if something is headed my way I will have notice thanks to modern weather forecasts and will have time to prep.
I typically have about $200 in my wallet. Enough if the power should go out for one day unexpectedly. I don't believe in things like zombie apocalypses.

simple man
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by simple man » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:50 am

I understand and have been made comfortable by all the arguments regarding modernity and silly prepping. BUT then I realized I was suffering from arrogant first worlder privilege. Problems can and will happen. By definition, we do not EXPECT them to happen. I realized (and this is just me) that if I did not have water, power, defensive weapons, food and medicine to be self sufficient for at least 2 weeks, then I was really not doing what it took to REALLY have by family protected. I was letting them down....It is arrogant to think there will always be electricity, gasoline and food on the local supermarket shelves. What are the odds of a major issue soon? Probably low. What are the odds something will happen eventually? Good. Do I owe it to my family to be prepared for the black swan? Yes. There is no excuse NOT to be prepared - at least at the basic level. It is do easy and cheap - given our modernity.

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lthenderson
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by lthenderson » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:54 am

I generally keep $300 on my person all the time. I live in a rural area, have a filter for filtering water if need be, several months worth of canned veggies from my garden and a gun and plenty of deer out my backdoor. If I lived in an urban environment without these things, I would probably consider having more money stashed away. In the past when there have been local disasters, it has been as easy as jumping in the car and heading off for a short drive in about any direction to escape to "normality" again. Puerto Rico residents don't have this option as others have stated.

AlohaJoe
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by AlohaJoe » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:59 am

simple man wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:50 am
BUT then I realized I was suffering from arrogant first worlder privilege. Problems can and will happen. By definition, we do not EXPECT them to happen. I realized (and this is just me) that if I did not have water, power, defensive weapons, food and medicine to be self sufficient for at least 2 weeks
I live in a third world country. (Except they're not called that anymore.) No one does any of the stuff you talk about (water, power, defensive weapons, stockpiling food). If someone did, their neighbors and relatives would think there was something very wrong with them.

I don't really understand what "arrogant first worlder privilege" has to do with what you're talking about.

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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by JGoneRiding » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:17 am

Greatness wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:58 pm
In these days, I'd recommend keeping the following at home.

1) 2.5k - 5k in cash (in a hidden safe preferably bolted to the ground).
2) Legally licensed gun and ammo (in a hidden safe preferably bolted to the ground).
3) Water for up to 2 weeks for you and your family.
4) MRE's which last for ever.
5) Water purification tablets
WE actually have some of 4 :happy they were a "gift" to my husband from his army BIL one year. You are making me rethink 1) I need to get on 3) because I could see that being a problem

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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by JGoneRiding » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:31 am

Hug401k wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:02 pm
We keep a few thousand dollars in a safe. Frankly, it's come in handy a few times to get the "pay cash get the 10% discount" than emergencies but I wouldn't get too comfy with ATM reliability. They don't work in power outages. We also have a portable generator and a moderate supply of canned goods/pasta/rice we eat through often every 3 weeks or so. We have a bathtub and lots of containers to fill with water if necessary. We are more hurricane, ice storm, blizzard prep than zombie or end o' days prep. It wasn't too long ago that a crazy ice storm hit New Hampshire and some were without power for 11 days.. in the cold. That's a lot of burst pipes. We also have a fireplace and some electric heaters.
I was definitely thinking natural disaster needs NOT Zombies :) There has just been a slew lately and Pureto Rico is at 2 weeks!

ResearchMed
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:46 am

JGoneRiding wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:17 am
Greatness wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:58 pm
In these days, I'd recommend keeping the following at home.

1) 2.5k - 5k in cash (in a hidden safe preferably bolted to the ground).
2) Legally licensed gun and ammo (in a hidden safe preferably bolted to the ground).
3) Water for up to 2 weeks for you and your family.
4) MRE's which last for ever.
5) Water purification tablets
WE actually have some of 4 :happy they were a "gift" to my husband from his army BIL one year. You are making me rethink 1) I need to get on 3) because I could see that being a problem
Regarding water, we go through quite a bit of bottled water, gallons for coffee, tea, oatmeal, etc., and bottles of sparkling water to drink.
So we tend to keep a large supply and then rotate with frequent/smaller replacement batches of both.
We also have a lot of canned food that we rotate by eating.

And we'll get back to keeping $1-2k in cash, mostly in small bills (not just a stack of hundreds).
We have a pesky habit of grabbing from this type of stash, rather than heading for an ATM, but not replenishing regularly.

Prescriptions are very important, too, so we try to stay ahead, but that's tricky, given how the insurance payment system doesn't make it easy to have a full extra month available for every necessary Rx, unless we keep claiming we are "about to travel out of the country for a month" [yet again?!?] or pay cash price, and some are mighty spendy.
Requesting a 3 month supply helps at the beginning of the 3 months, but by the end, we're back to start.
(For a few critical meds, we've asked our physicians to temporarily write the Rx for a higher dosage, so we have the extra supply, and then drop back to the regular dosage.)

Ammo? If it all really comes to that, we're toast.
And it it's an "ammo" situation, I suspect that more than 2 weeks worth of water will be needed...

It's unlikely, but IF something "semi predictable" like a Cat 5 hurricane was headed our way with a possible direct hit, we'd be outta here.
If it didn't actually happen, well... we'd have had a nice mini-vacation somewhere.

RM
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Re: Cash on hand for emergencies

Post by Nate79 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:05 pm

Cash, storage of nonperishable food, fuel (both heating and cooking), dog food, water, water purifier, generator, and bug out bag are part of our emergency kit we have available. This type of preparedness was taught by my family, growing up in rural area where these needs were real, where electricity could be lost for a week and ability to get to a town thru deep snow and ice was not possible. Neighbors helped each other, especially for water where having a well and a generator meant having enough drinking water for the area.

Now, living in the suburbs the likelihood of having extended loss of electricity is less but still I will not rely on maybe's to keep my family safe in a possible extreme situation.

In natural disasters and extreme weather it is very sad to see so many families not prepared but we will not be like the sheeple.

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