We are used to swipe our credit cards every day and get the items we need, we even use our phones to pay for the things we desire. However, in the event of a regional emergency, your credit cards will become useless for quite a while and this is why it’s important to keep cash in your bug out bag or on you at all times.
Regardless the reason behind the emergency, most of the world will still take cold hard cash and you would have the upper hand if you keep cash in your bug out bag. There are many preppers and survivalist who recommend having a cash reserve ready for emergencies and their reasons vary based on the event they are prepping for.
There is also the debate on how much cash one should keep in the bug out bag and how to use it when things go south. I can’t speak for others, but I can share with you how I’m prepping in regard to this topic. I usually keep $1,500 as my emergency money reserve and if I somehow manage to use some of it, I always put it back. If you want to keep cash in your bug out bag, it is important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t keep all your eggs in one basket. I usually divide the amount of cash I put aside and keep some of the money on me, just as a backup plan.
When it comes to how you should use your money, the situation can vary based on the region you live in, the time of the year and the crisis that could hit your area. Below you can find some of my reasons, which can be common for any type of disaster.
10 reasons to keep cash in your bug out bag:
- ATMs are inaccessible and unsafe in a disaster
First of all, the power could go off and you won’t be able to use your credit card to withdraw the money you need. Second, these machines will run out of cash fast if general panic sets in, remember how the Greeks were lining up to withdraw money when the economic crisis hit them? And third, if the disaster creates favorable conditions for certain elements of society to act up, you don’t want to be near an ATM when the looting starts.
- Stores will not be able to process your transactions
The stores could be up and running without any problems, but the credit companies could be shut down or the network could be hacked. If they can process an electronic transaction, you will be glad you brought your cash reserve with you. You will be able to get your items and be on your way faster if you keep cash in your bug out bag.
- Last minute shopping
There will always be last minute shoppers who need emergency items, and it doesn’t matter if they are preppers or regular Joes. Cash is king and if the stores are still open, and if you know what to buy, a last minute shopping run will keep you alive longer than those who buy bread and milk. You can also keep cash in your bug out bag as a loan for neighbors and distant relatives.
Suggested reading: 10 best survival foods at your grocery store
- You can pay for services right away
If you keep cash in your bug out bag you can pay for whatever service you may need, if you haven’t planned for it or if it’s something unexpected. You can get to a mechanic and say “Here’s $1,000 to fix my car in the next hour”. You can pay for medical aid and pretty much anything you’re not skilled for.
- Vending machines are just waiting for your cash
This may not sound appealing for the hard core prepper, but in an emergency you can use vending machines to get food and water, or any other items they hold. You could also smash the front glass and take what you want, but why risk it? Especially if you don’t know how the locals are and how the type of emergency is influencing the authorities. The last thing you want is to get shot for a snickers bar.
- Bribe your way out of a tight situation
If you find yourself in a situation where you have to deal with roadblocks or guards, you will be glad you keep cash in your bug out bag. You can bribe people to close their eyes and let you pass so that you don’t get trapped with the rest of the crowd. You can bribe guards to let you pass through private property if your bug out routes are obstructed.
- Money can be broken down into various denominations
If you need to buy something that costs $5 and you only have $100 bills, you might need to rethink your strategy. First of all you don’t want to flash a $100 bill when there are people around you that have no other options than using their credit cards (and can become desperate). And second, if you carry small bills, you don’t have to wait for the change stores don’t have and you can strike a better deal. If you plan to keep cash in your bug out bag, you need to have $5’s, $10’s and $20’s bills.
Related article: Bartering after and economic collapse
- You can use your money to “manipulate the sheeple”
People always take cash and they have an instinct based on immediate gain, rather than a long-term prosperity system. Before most of them realize that cash has lost or doubled its value, they will be willing to take cash for anything. You can use your money to get supplies, you can get a guide to accompany you through an unknown region and so on. It depends on what you need and how good your social skills are.
- Cash will help you stay under the radar
If you are one of the preppers that are dedicated to the Grey man approach, you should know by now that you need to keep cash in your bug out bag if you want to become invisible. The purchases you make using cash can’t be tracked electronically and you will be off the radar.
- Get a ride when times are tough
If you lose your bug out vehicle or if it breaks down on you for whatever reason, you will be forced to continue your journey by foot. Things may work in your favor if you keep cash in your bug out bag and you could easily get a ride in a regional emergency. If you offer to pay cash, you have much better chances of getting a ride than those offering to barter in exchange for a trip to safety.
The list of reasons to keep cash in your bug out bag enumerated in this article is not exclusive and it represents a glimpse of why I’ve decided to keep cash in my survival bag. You may have your own reasons to carry cash in your bug out bag and I’m assuming is not just to use the paper for fire tinder. If there are any other good reasons you think carrying cash with your survival gear will make a difference during SHTF, please use the comment section to let us know.
Stay safe and God Bless!
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