Monday, January 14, 2019

Reply: How much cash for emergencies? Denominations?

Anonymous said...
   Have made it through some serious hurricanes and floods the last 25 years in South Louisiana, and the one thing I've learned was not only to keep cash where I could get to it, along with keeping as much of it as possible in small bills. Because the prices tend to go crazy after a weather event here, no one has change, or wants to give it to you. Also because soon as the electricity goes out, there are no working ATM machines for cash. We were 75 miles from New Orleans for Katrina and didn't have almost any rain at all, but we had strong winds that took down hundreds of trees, so there was no electricity for weeks. Which means no banks were open and no ATM's were working, nor gas station machines. Hurricane Gustave was much worse for us, as was the more recent flood of 2016. We lost the electricity after Gustave for 9 months at my place, although some neighborhoods came back at 6-8 weeks. It was 95 degrees F. during this time. The state estimated one million trees were lost in this area. Credit cards are not useful in these situations until after the events when there is substantial infrastructural improvements and repairs. And lastly, no cell towers means almost no communication (wind).

Anonymous said...
    You must have small denominations, because no one will give you change. This from 25 yrs. of hurricanes in South Louisiana. No electric means no banks, no ATMS, no credit cards can be used.

J said...
Seems to me that smaller denominations would be more flexible. I don't want to have to fork over a hundred bucks for a $25 item that I need. A thousand dollars in twenties might not be good for a wallet, but it doesn't take up that much space in a larger bag or in the safe.


Thanks guys for all the thoughtful input. Its true, in hurricane country you will come across the “got no change” types. Keep in mind some of these people may be trying to take advantage of the situation and pocket the change themselves. If they are taking “cash only” then by definition they have been taking cash and have a pile of smaller denomination bills. This is pretty common in Argentina where cash is predominant for daily transactions. Usually it’s the taxi drivers that try to pull the “Ive got no change” thing so that you round it up in their favour.

Still, great point. Doesn’t hurt to have more small denomination bills.
One little tip I do that has already come in handy a couple times: I keep the ashtray cup thing in my car full of coins, about 20 or 30 bucks worth of it.  This always comes in handy. I also placed a couple 50 bills in there, lined on the inside of the cup covered by the coins. Its not visible unless you dig around in there. I already found myself grabbing a bill and avoiding having to drop by the ATM.


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