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Monday, February 2, 2009

Emergency Cash

While sheltering in place is generally your best option, if you need to evacuate due to a storm or other emergency, cash will be an essential requirement. Most people live “cashless” lifestyles that depend on plastic. People carry lots of “plastic” money in the form of credit cards and debit cards but normally don't keep any significant amount of cash on hand for a true emergency. Most, if not all, purchases are made with credit cards, debit cards, or personal checks.

During and after a major disaster or in an emergency situation, it's very unlikely that there will be any merchants that are going to be able to process credit cards or validate checks. If people are selling items, they're probably going to accept cash only. This simply means you won’t be able to buy anything if you don’t have cash. Check and credit card machines and electronic cash registers probably won’t be working due to power outages, etc. Don't count on getting change back from a hundred dollar bill. Needed currency denominations to make change may be in short supply. It will be better to have smaller denomination bills ($10's and $20's) and plenty of change (rolls of quarters, etc.) available in an emergency.

Make sure you set enough aside to counter higher prices that may occur due to needed items being in short supply. Hotel and motel rooms will become very expensive in a short period of time, if any are still available. Gasoline and fuel prices can go up in a hurry and food items, including water and ice, will get expensive due to limited supplies and availability. Don’t count on any of your normal routines working during a disaster or emergency.

Got cash?

Staying above the water line!



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