How to Safely Carry Cash in a Disaster

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How to Safely Carry Cash in a Disaster

If you're anything like me, cash isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you're preparing to survive a crisis. The first time I packed my bug-out-kit, I had food, water filters, spare clothes and a ton of gear to survive in the wild, and didn't even think to include cash in my packing list. Big mistake. The world isn't going to stop spinning overnight, and cash isn't going to lose its value in a day. For anything short of a total economic collapse, having cash on hand in a crisis will help you to survive. As a society, we're all carrying less cash than we used to, which is a recipe for disaster. Here's why.
  • Power goes out. Stores can't accept credit cards which means you don't get to buy today. What if the powers down for days, weeks or even months?
  • Power's up, but the crisis sends everyone to the store to ‘stock up’ and the credit card processors go down because of the strain on the networks. You still can't buy anything.
Having cash makes everything easier. You can avoid long lines at the ATM or simply pay for that food in the vending machine instead of causing a racket smashing it open. If the gas station runs out of fuel, you can bet there'lls be enterprising survivors willing to sell you a jerry can, but they're not going to want your credit card. It's easier to check into a motels or camp grounds with cash for a place to spend the night, and it gives you the ability to pay other people for services you need. A wad of bills can convince the mechanic to look at your car, the doctor to properly stitch up that wound, or even the roadblock guards to let you through the checkpoint without any hassle. The amount of money I keep in my emergency kits is another question I get asked all the time. I've got a rule to never keep more than $150 in a single spot, which means that I've had to get creative in storing my money away, yet keeping it accessible enough so I can get to it when I need. This ensures that if I'm robbed or someone stumbles into my home, there's a good chance they'll overlook some of my hiding places and I'll still have funds left after being robbed. Overall, I've usually got over $1,000 in cash on hand at any one time, but I'd never keep this in a single place (for obvious reasons). Once the rule of law no longer applies, the amount of desperation in our fellow man is going to slowly escalate until people are more than willing to take from you to ensure their own survival. It happened after Sandy, and you can bet that it'll happen after the next crisis. So if keeping all your cash in your wallet is a mistake, here's where I've got my money stashed.
  • Chapstick. I took an old chapstick that clips onto my keychain and removed the actual chapstick. I've got a bunch of bills of various denomination rolled up inside just in case.
  • Pens. Similar to the chapstick trick, I've got five different pens with money rolled up inside. There's a couple I carry with my work gear, two in my car, and one in my bug-out-kit.
  • Travel belt. When I saw the leather belts that had a hidden pocket I had to have one, and it's also another place I like to keep my money stash.
  • My wallet. Rather obvious hiding spot without being immediately apparent, I've got a couple of bills folded into the small pockets inside my wallet.
  • Linings. Look at the clothes you normally wear, and there's usually space in the lining to carefully slice it open and stitch a new pocket. I've got bills hiding in both my hat and in my bug out bag.
  • Vehicle. Taped up and under my dash and out of sight is another cache of cash, just be sure to take this one out if you're dropping your car in for a service.
I've also heard survivalists using special socks with pockets to hide bills, or stashing money in a small ziplock bag underneath the insoles in their shoes. I see both of these spots to be a little risky (and will probably get very wet in bad conditions), but to each their own. Having these separate caches of cash is like adding multiple ‘Plan B's’ to your disaster planning, because even if you're robbed, burgled, or simply lose your wallet from plain bad luck, you've always got a backup. The more creative you get with your hiding spots the better, especially if you've got these in obscure places most thieves aren't going to look. No matter how bad things get, I've always got a way to get my hands on the cash I need to sort out whatever situation I'm in. Cash is going to be crucial during a disaster, especially at the beginning. You'll need it to get your hands on any last-minute supplies you need, to pay your way out of any trouble you find yourself in, or to help you navigate the SHTF scenario that's now your new normal. Don't rely on your credit cards or the banks, when it all comes down to it, cash is the real king.