Who knows how bad things will get when the next major crisis hits our country? Hurricane Sandy was a small indicator of how important it is to carry cash with you. Those who had it on hand could purchase supplies and those who didn’t were left finding other ways to get help. I’ve said it before, don’t count on government agencies to rescue you. Learn to be self-sufficient.
In the event of a total worldwide collapse, money will become nearly worthless, but for a while it will have some value. You could be traveling overseas when a disaster strikes. As a tourist you might have cash on hand, but keep some of these things in mind, resources and time will be in short-supply. Others will want the same thing you need and cash will allow you to get it.
Banking: Most ATM’s in Sandy’s path were rendered useless. And the ATMS that were operational had long lines and some supposedly ran out of cash. You need time on your hands. You don’t want to waste it waiting in lines. Electronic store terminals are going to be useless and will not take your debit and credit cards. Depending on the nature of the emergency, vending machines may still be functioning and have goodies. A pocketful of coins will come in real handy.
Imagine having to sleep at a bus or train terminal in bad weather. You’ll be able to buy toiletries, food and water. When you’re thirsty, having just $5.00 bucks in your wallet to get access to clean, bottled water is a lot better than having $100,000 grand in the bank and no way to access it.
Cash Passport: I remember traveling through Tijuana, Mexico with a business partner. He was lost and ended up making an illegal u-turn in front of a police officer. Not the smartest move…The officer pulled the car over and held out his right hand. It took $20.00 American bucks to make him disappear. You just might encounter road blocks and having a few bucks on hand is going to help you out. Just be tactful in how you offer it!
I have friends and family who have had to bribe officials for a boat to flee their homeland during a coup. The little money they carried allowed them to buy rice and travel.
Fuel: Generators and Gasoline are going to be in demand. Long lines, flaring tempers and maybe pushing and shouting. But if you have cash, you’re half-way there. If the gas pumps are off-line you can still get gas with a gas can. Some stations are still able to make distributions.
Transportation: There were stories in the news about people hiring sedans for transport because they were tired of waiting for buses, many of which were filled. Fares will likely go up and taxi rides could cost you a small fortune but if you don’t have cash, what then? During 9/11, air travel was shut down. Being able to buy a bicycle to ride 20 miles closer to your destination buys you time to come up with another plan.
Purchases: During Sandy, many hardware stores and gas stations were overwhelmed by the demand for generators and gasoline. These were in big demand. It may be a good thing to have a Wal-Mart, Lowe’s or a CVS Pharmacy nearby in order to do the last-minute shopping. In Europe it may be your Tesco’s.
For those who live in heavily populate areas like Manhattan or Chicago, getting to one of these locations and shopping isn’t easy. And during/after the emergency it will be harder to buy anything due to stores being nearly exhausted of supplies. Again, if ATMS are down in some places, Mom-and-Pop hardware stores will gladly take cash. Medicine for your sick wife?
Skilled Labor: During Sandy tree surgeons were inundated with phone calls for services. There were fallen trees on top of cars, yards and blocking roads. You may need the services of a mechanic to help you fix your flattened tire or faulty engine. A doctor can examine your sick child or stitch up a gash from a knife wound. A carpenter can rebuild the roof-top that partially blew off.
Cash is going to come in handy. Make sure you have it.
Picture from BerserkerAirsoft