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-   -   Thinking out loud: How much cash should you have at home? (http://www.mcarterbrown.com/forums/money-finance/224728-thinking-out-loud-how-much-cash-should-you-have-home.html)

Painthappy 01-28-2013 03:13 PM

Thinking out loud: How much cash should you have at home?
 
Here's a thought... How much physical cash should you keep at home? I got thinking about this when our power went down a while back. Ice storm, no power, no ATM's, no cash.

Stores had stuff to sell, but no machines for taking debit cards. (generators for power, but the lines were down so no point of sale purchases being made).

And the ATM's that WERE working, were out of cash due to everyone taking out what they could when they could.

Most of the younger generations just don't carry cash. I'm one of them. I rarely have cash on me, but having a bit at home for emergencies is probably a good idea.

Heck even ATM's limit the amount you can take out in a day.

So right now every month I'm taking a little bit out and putting it in my safe. I'm not sure how much to actually put aside, but I figured starting it is the right way to go about it.

desertT1 01-28-2013 03:20 PM

If I needed cash, I'd raid my kids' little stashes. They probably have about $100 total at any given time. We deposit cash into their accounts from time to time though, so that well could be dry. When the wife and I were serving, we'd have anywhere from several hundred to a few thousand dollars on hand because we didn't ever deposit cash tips. It's easier to just bring some with you and spend it than it is to deposit it and then spend it.

I like the subject though. Out here, water is more valuable than cash in the summer. If there was an outage, I'd rather be sweating, temporarily broke, but with plenty to drink.

paintslinger16 01-28-2013 03:28 PM

I am the cash guy, I have the ATM card but dont even remember my pin.
Pay days I take my cash out so I am never caught without at least 100~200 bucks on me.
We have had two ice storms in NNY and that was the hardship with some places they had gensets to power the gas station, but you better have cash.
Worst case you may need to fill up just to drive out of the damaged are that is 50-100 bucks and if your going to wait it out, you need at least that much for some staples that will keep without having power.

Dave Cameron 01-28-2013 03:28 PM

I don't generally carry cash on me but I keep about a grand in the safe for situations like you mentioned.

Mr. Hick 01-28-2013 03:31 PM

Why would I tell you how much cash I store in my home??? :P

I do a LOT of side jobs for cash. Cash is king. I use my checking/debit for bills. Practically all other spending in done in cash.

Painthappy 01-28-2013 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Hick (Post 2606878)
Why would I tell you how much cash I store in my home??? :P

I mean.. Only hypothetically speaking ;)

I think having $1000 is a good safe number. At minimum, at least enough to fill up a tank of gas and hit the grocery store for a weeks worth of items. So maybe $300 minimum on the safe side?

But I'm the overly cautious person, and figure a months worth of bills (including your mortgage) in cash might be enough for the truly prepared.

Of course the REAL trick will be to have it and not touch it.

Dave Cameron 01-28-2013 03:43 PM

That's easy, just forget the safe combo! At least that's how I handle it.

808raoul 01-28-2013 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Cameron (Post 2606874)
I don't generally carry cash on me but I keep about a grand in the safe for situations like you mentioned.

This would be my thoughts also.

forstgump 01-28-2013 03:48 PM

What is cash? I haven't used it in so long!

desertT1 01-28-2013 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CJOttawa (Post 2606951)
I see the issue as "access to funds", not so much "access to cash."

There are small businesses around that accept PayPal or other forms of payment.

Interac Electronic Funds Transfers are available here in Canada - sort of like a debit transaction but between email addresses.

There are just so many ways to move money around, I don't carry cash at all.

Remember these?

http://creditcardsupplies.co/wp-cont...cimprinter.png

When I worked retail in high-school, we had one of those and used it all the time. Every cashier seems to still have one under their cash register.

We have enough food to last a few weeks. The car is fueled up so if we need to we can drive several hours away, if needed.

I've seen those card slider press things (no idea what they are actually called, but have seen them used many times) tucked away at several checkout lanes. I'm only slightly put off by the fact that I have been in places trying to check out when they lose their connection to verify transactions. Even though the devices are there, guess how many cashiers and managers knew how to use them?

Mr. Hick 01-28-2013 06:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CJOttawa (Post 2606951)
snip snip*
Remember these?

http://creditcardsupplies.co/wp-cont...cimprinter.png

snip snip*

I'm not sure about Canada but the majority of the major US bank's and credit companies no longer have embossed numbers on the cards. Those machines have finally met their end.

Cash is king.

Carter - I generally try to keep enough cash that I could pay the bills and buy a pile of ramen noodles if it got really ugly. The trick to not spending it is to make it disappear. I may have a little better discipline with my cash than most due to the fact that I have had a "rainy day" cash pile since I was a kid, and have been dealing in mostly cash transactions whenever possible since then as well.

Painthappy 01-28-2013 07:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Hick (Post 2607076)
I'm not sure about Canada but the majority of the major US bank's and credit companies no longer have embossed numbers on the cards. Those machines have finally met their end.

Yup, was going to say exactly that. Only 1 of my cards still has embossed numbers on it, and I'm due for a new one this year, and I'm sure that one will be gone too.

Those things are dead...

I agree with you on the cash amount. I figure enough for bills and emergency. It may seem like too much, but we're basically trying to plan for things you can't plan for.

Mr. Hick 01-28-2013 07:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Painthappy (Post 2607114)
Yup, was going to say exactly that. Only 1 of my cards still has embossed numbers on it, and I'm due for a new one this year, and I'm sure that one will be gone too.

Those things are dead...

I agree with you on the cash amount. I figure enough for bills and emergency. It may seem like too much, but we're basically trying to plan for things you can't plan for.


Agreed. I wouldn't keep enough cash in the house that you would be completely SOL if you were robbed/fire/natural disaster. However, cash is fairly easy to hide and very easy to remember.

MarkT 01-28-2013 09:19 PM

I pay cash for pretty much everything so always have several hundred either on me or with me. I keep about $500 locked up at home, always in small bills. I figure if the power goes out for several days I am going to need to have change available because the store won't be able to get change from the bank.

I don't worry about having cash for the mortgage payment, I have that in the bank and I figure anything serious enough to prevent me from getting money from the bank will be serious enough to give the mortgage company trouble finding me.

Mr. Hick 01-28-2013 10:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CJOttawa (Post 2607205)
I'm curious: what bills?

All of mine are paid online. Cash wouldn't be any good.

Do you live in a place where you don't ever personally meet the people that provide home heating fuel? How about your local bank? I live in a VERY rural area. If it goes all bad I still want cash to put into the bank to pay the bills. I still want cash to go down and talk to Skip at my local home heating oil business so I can stay warm in the winter. I do all my bills electronically as well but that doesn't mean I'm going to completely rely on my imaginary money to do the talking when times get tough. You might be able to get $500 of home heating oil with $150 cash if you talk to the right person.

I live far enough out from the major metropolitan area's that I can still take cash down to the local farmer and buy a SIGNIFICANT amount of food for the price. I'm not talking about keeping cash to pay my cell phone bill. I'm talking about when SHTF and I need to eat or die, stay warm or die. That type of situation.

The Flounder 01-28-2013 10:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Hick (Post 2607345)
Do you live in a place where you don't ever personally meet the people that provide home heating fuel?

Home heating fuel? Around here we call that firewood. A decent axe, 2 man crosscut saw and a splitting maul and you get warm when you collect it as well as when you burn it.

Mr. Hick 01-28-2013 10:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Flounder (Post 2607351)
Home heating fuel? Around here we call that firewood. A decent axe, 2 man crosscut saw and a splitting maul and you get warm when you collect it as well as when you burn it.

No doubt. My parents burn about 5-6 cord a year for their 1400sq/ft ranch depending on the winter. But, what happens when you have a brutal chill with high winds and you end up cracking a chimney liner from a super cold draft? (has happened) Have you ever called a Mason to replace it on short notice, in bad weather, on a weekend? Depending on the height of the structure you could be looking at 1-3k worth of work. I got away with $600 because I had dead inventors to pay him with. (cold beer and some hot stew helped.)

Any time you have a situation that requires a "trained" professional to come and do you can get away with making a deal with cash. Uncle Sugar is the deciding figure on cost. Cash is king for making sure he doesn't find out.

Luckless 01-29-2013 09:01 PM

I really don't think there can be a very hard and fast number to this. Everyone is going to vary a little in what they need, could use, and can have on hand.

If you are young, just getting started in life, and can barely scrape together a few thousand in savings right this minute, then planning to have 90% of that as cash in your hand might not be the smoothest idea. Its not exactly insured in most cases, so if someone robs you blind or your place goes up in smoke, then you're left in a tricky spot.

The nature of the community you're in, and the spirit of the people you deal with will also impact that amount. How willing are people to let things slide a day or two? How trusting are they? Can you walk into a local store, sign your name at the bottom of a slip, and have no one bat an eye at the idea that you'll be back at the end of the week to settle up?

And don't forget the ultimate in important issues: If you can't use your plastic, are you even going to be able to use cash for it?

Last summer I was up at the mall, passed the kiosk for my internet provider, and remembered that I was going to have to pay my bill sometime that week. I had the paper bill in hand, full payment in cash right down to proper change, but their power was out. They couldn't do anything for me and were waiting for someone to fix it.

I've gone to pay for meals after eating when the power went out, and gotten rather blank stares from the young staff. Not a clue how to properly calculate tax on it, no confidence to get the math right in their head, and no way to open the till so they had a reasonably secure way to store the cash me and the other customers were going to give them. Not to mention the several places with a fully automated 'print on demand' billing system: Power outage means they didn't even have a clue what my order was anymore, let alone how much it was suppose to cost me.

Greenmtnphantom 01-30-2013 09:37 AM

I generally have $30-$50 cash on me financially we aren't in a position right now to have a big slush fund of cash, and anything in the savings. Even though I'm not all that ancient, I'm oldschool enough to know exactly where my checkbook is should I need it. I know some places won't accept checks any more but I've lived in this area long enough that I can get what I need at the local stores with checks if it comes to it.


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