We prep because stuff happens. Little stuff, big stuff and everything in between. And while the focus of our preparations is often a major disaster or collapse of some type, the reality is that our preps come in handy for all types of other scenarios as well.
As recent as December 2013, millions of folks were left without the ability to pay for their purchases when their credit and debit cards were caught in the Target data breach. This was not something that was expected and those without supplemental credit or cash were left in a pickle during the busiest shopping period of the year.
For some, the loss of a job, unexpected repairs, or medical bills have resulted in little left over at the end of the week to pay food, gas or the utility bills. It is times like this when a cash reserve becomes handy.
Things do indeed happen and the solution that stares us in the face is the need to have a cash reserve. We need to have the proverbial cookie jar with some extra change – or these days dollar bills – to get us through the rough times. We also need to have cash so that if and when the ATMS and credit card machines don’t work, we have a fallback.
Go Back To Cash
Debit and credit cards can be quite convenient, but they have an ‘Achilles heel’ in that when the power or network goes down, the electronic verification system cannot verify the card and the transaction is denied. This can also happen with paper checks. When this occurs, making purchases with your checks, debit or credit cards comes to a stop.
There was a time, not too long ago, when most people used cash. Today, the majority of us use cards to pay for purchases and carry few bills in our wallets, or have stopped carrying cash altogether. There are several significant reasons why you should start using cash again and veer away from the “cashless society.”
BENEFIT #1 – Cash is King
As noted above, there are any number of reasons that could prevent merchants from processing payments of cashless cards and checks. However, if you’re standing at the gas pump with an empty tank and the pump won’t accept your card, you won’t care what the reason is; only that you’re unable to put gas in your tank. Having cash can make the difference as to whether you are able to get fuel.
More seriously, if there was a collapse of the dollar or other economic collapse in this country, you’re going to see many stores stop accepting any form of payment except cash. In times of uncertainty, people become very protective and even business owners won’t be too keen on accepting forms of payment that they can’t be assured of getting reimbursed for.
BENEFIT #2 – Get to know your neighborhood merchants
When you use cash to pay for your fuel, typically, you go inside the station to pay for it. This gives you the opportunity for the small talk that occurs while you wait for your sale (or pre-sale) to be ran through the register. Likewise when you pay with cash at other places, there is a more personal interaction with the clerk. You never know when you may need the help of one of these people and them knowing you can go a long way.
BENEFIT #3 – Start a small savings account at home
When you use cash, you get change in return, including coins, but don’t spend any of the coins! Even if you can make exact change, use a bill instead. When you get home, put the coins into a coin jar. Depending on how many times you use cash throughout the average day, you could be adding $1 to $2 to your coin savings every day. It’s an easy way to save up a little extra money without putting a strain on your budget.
BENEFIT #4 – Keep your debt low
None of these benefits are more important than the others, but the importance of keeping your debt low cannot be understated. The less debt you have, the more financial freedom you retain. With the current average interest rate of credit cards hovering around 17%, using credit is tantamount to shackling yourself into financial servitude. We’re lured into thinking that, “it’s only a small payment, I can afford it,” when in truth, all it does is make you a slave to the issuer of the credit card.
By using cash, you’re paying for something now, not later. We’ve seen what happens when families get in over their head (repossessions, foreclosures, stress, divorce, suicides, etc.), but it can be avoided by not getting into debt in the first place.
The Final Word
Gathering new gear, learning how to use it and stowing it in a bug-out-bag is a pretty cool thing to do when you’re a prepper. Some may even consider it fun (I do). On the other hand, the more mundane task of saving money, reducing debt, and accumulating cash can be a boring drudge.
If you have not done so already, I would like to challenge you to begin to stash away some cash as part of your ongoing preparedness effort. As Rob suggests, setting aside dollar a day – or even a dollar a week – will allow you to save up some cash without putting too much strain on the budget. It just makes sense.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: For your discernment, here are of some budget friendly items that I personally own.
How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget: This book, by my blogging colleague, Bernie Carr, is a concise, easy to read guidebook for getting started without all the falderal about building a bunker full of stuff. Instead, it offers a roadmap for getting started with emergency and disaster preparation in a practical and pragmatic manner.
Mini Compass & Thermometer: I have been working with BDS Sponsor, Vivogear on a special promotion for Backdoor Survival readers. Check out this compass and thermometer combination for $1.99 with free shipping using coupon code BACKDOOR. I have ordered one for myself and will include it with the pocket survival kit that I carry on my keychain.
FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight Torch Adjustable Focus Zoom Light Lamp: Here we go with another flashlight. It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof. Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery. This my number one deal!
Survivor HK-106320 Outdoor Fixed Blade Knife with Fire Starter: Equipped with a full-tang, matte-finished, black stainless-steel tanto blade, this versatile and practical military-style tanto knife is a terrific choice for knife enthusiasts. The knife also includes a thick green cord-wrapped handle that allows for a secure and comfortable grip, along with a pommel lanyard that keeps your blade handy at all times. Other features include a durable green nylon belt sheath with a Velcro securing strap, a magnesium alloy fire starter, and a total length of 7 Inch.
ProForce Commando Wire Saw Bulk, Ideal For Survival Kits: Here is what one reviewer had to say:
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FROM THE ALMOST FREE DEPARTMENT – SURVIVAL GEAR FOR $5.00 OR LESS: This page is due for an update but the deals are still good.
The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage: My eBook will provide you with everything you need to create an affordable food storage plan, including what to buy and how to store it. Nothing scary and nothing overwhelming – you really can do this!
A recent Mountain House Order
Other specials to consider are the Fruits and Vegetables Favorites Combo and Freeze-Dried Fruit and Vegetable Favorites Combo – both at a whopping 49% off.
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