Friday, June 25, 2010


One thing I forgot to mention in yesterday's post about an EDC (every day carry) bug-out kit is money. This is because I take it for granted that other people see the need to carry cash, while in fact, this is probably not true.  It's seems that more and more everywhere I look around me, people are using plastic in the form of credit or debit cards, to the point that many people, especially those under age 30, never have any cash on them, and if they do, usually only a few dollars.

Growing up in a mostly rural area and having been in many situations with a car breakdown or some other minor emergency, I've always made it a habit to have enough cash on me to get where I'm going by one means or another.  I can recall many cases where I needed cash to pay a shade-tree mechanic out in the middle of nowhere, or to pay for a tow or a ride.  These people don't accept plastic, by the way. You just never know when you're going to need it if you travel, and that just in the U.S.  This is even more important in many places overseas where you might need to pay bribes or pay for a guide or whatever.

But in everyday life, I can't understand why so few people have any cash on them.  People are so dependent on their plastic and so certain that the ATM will be working that they don't see the need for cash.  It's frustrating to stand in long lines at a store while people fumble for their debit cards and then try to punch in their P.I.N. numbers to purchase some item for $2.95 when they could just whip out a five dollar bill and be on their way - and out of the way of everyone else!  Carry some cash people!  I don't leave the house without at least $100.00 on me, and prefer to have 3 or 4 hundred, especially if I'm going anywhere out of my immediate surroundings.  It doesn't cost a dime more to use cash than it does to use plastic.  I think most people are afraid to carry cash these days for fear of being robbed.  But I'm more afraid of being stuck somewhere without it.

Lucas over at Survival Cache has some very good thoughts on this subject and points out 7 Reasons to Have Money in Your Bug Out Bag.

He also has a related post today on 3 Reasons You Shouldn't Stock Precious Metals.  This post reminds me of a quote I read somewhere:  "I used to invest in silver & gold.... but now I've diversified my portfolio to include brass and lead!"


  1. I use cash for everything myself, but am a minority in this regard. People look at me strangely when paying cash at restaurants or stores. Another good reason--your cash purchases can't be tracked by some data mining computer.

  2. In the age of commercial sail, seaman wore going ashore, a gold chain about the neck, and paid for purchases with a link or two, a universally acceptable currency. They also wore a gold earring or two, to pay for a christian burial if their corpse washed ashore.
    I've no suggestion for a comparable hard money modern version. Credit cards are usable throughout most of the world as of now. Any ideas for a "gold chain" in TEOTWAWKI scenario?

  3. Apartment Prepper: good point about cash purchases not being tracked. Also, like barter, transactions in cash made "under the table" can't be taxed.

    Dave: I think today cash is the equivalent. Like the linked article points out regarding investing in precious metals - it would be a long time before cash is no longer useful and would have to be a true TEOTWAWKI. As he says, the most like trade items will be useful stuff like food items, tools, firearms, ammo, etc.

  4. I read the linked articles and they're pertinent. I'm assuming the government evaporates in TEOTWAWKI. Who wants dollars then? Never mind that defunct confederate dollars are worth today more than greenbacks. LOL. Certainly trade goods will be used, but they're bulky for travelling. I suspect some medium of exchange will arise quicker than predicted. Some people will accomplish more than subsist and have surpluses. Would ammo become currency? Reloaders mint their own and would be kings or warlords. Ammo is a consumable so a diminishing supply. Imagine the inflation. And so many calibers of no use unless it fits your gun. A tradable commodity? Yes! But I doubt it will be currency. Hope we never need to find out or use all our paranoid preparations. But I'm gonna collect sea shells and make wampum just in case that gets popular again. Sometimes I wish I could see into the future....and more often glad I can't.

  5. Let me also add that you will typically spend 3-5% less of your money if you pay in cash. It's proven that it's harder for people to let go of their cash than it is to use plastic cards. It's more painful to pay in cash. Nice post, I'm a firm believer in having plenty of cash on hand. I'm going to link to this on my blog/podcast.

    Bob Mayne

  6. Just found your blog today. Lots of great info, I'll be hanging out reading for a while. Never having cash is a bad habit I've gotten into that I plan to get out of now. I agree I think people don't like to flash cash around for fear of getting robbed. When I do use it I'm pretty careful with it.

  7. Bob: You're absolutely right about it being harder to let go of hard cash. It is a good way to control spending. Thanks for the link.

    Melinda: I'm glad you found your way here, and I hope you find a lot of stuff you can use. This blog is relatively new, but over time I will be adding new material, and I invite guest posts from readers as well.

  8. Scott,

    Thanks for the links!

    It seems I there are several of us that don't think precious metals and things like that are the way to go for survival prep. (thought I won't discount it as an investment opportunity)

    After I wrote my article I also found Suburban Survivalists post arguing mostly the same thing:

    The powers that be are slowly fading cash out of our economic system...but that's another talk for another day.

    Bob makes a good point about spending less if you use cash, I completely agree, just from my own habits.

    Keep up the good work,


  9. Let me encourage you to try something. For one month pay ALL of your bills in cash and do all of your spending in cash. It can be done, it takes effort, but it can be done, I've done it. It will do 2 things for you, #1 it will clearly tell you where you're spending your money, #2 from that experience you will probably spend less because you know everywhere you're money is going and are less likely to overspend. Try it, it works.

    Bob Mayne

  10. concealing cash on the person. Joey Green recommended a tampon dispenser full of rolled up cash. How would a guy manage? How about a fake suppository, or a fake ostomy bag?

  11. I was in NYC on 9-11. First thing I did minutes after watching it happen was hit an ATM to load up on cash. Came in handy as everything electronic shut down and ultimately, our only way out of the city 2 days later was a 150 mile taxi cab ride.

  12. Good thinking on hitting that ATM right after 9-11. Even this far away I did the same, and filled up the vehicles and jerry cans with gas, because no one knew what might happen next. Same thing we do here when a hurricane threatens. Wait too late and you miss out.


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