Personal Finance, X Files

How Much Money Should I Keep at Home? (Your Advice)

As the US becomes more and more a cashless society, is it really necessary to have cash at all? In many instances, there may be no reason, but one time that cash is king is when there is an emergency where normal outlets that dispense cash are not available and credit systems may be offline such as with Hurricane Katrina. This begs the question of how much cash one should keep on hand for such emergencies as this reader asks:

Your Advice - help answer readers' questions

I currently keep all my money in the bank or in other investments. The only cash I have on hand is what is in my wallet. This is not a problem because there are plenty of places I can get cash if I need it. However, I was talking with a friend who said that she always keeps $500 in cash at home in case of a natural disaster or some other emergency where getting cash from ATMs or other places may not be possible.

I have been thinking about this and it seems to be a good idea. I’m wondering how much cash I should keep at home? Is there a minimum amount that I should have on hand? Is $500 enough or should I keep $1000? Is there any way to determine this?

How much money do you keep at home and how did you decide on that amount?

7 thoughts on “How Much Money Should I Keep at Home? (Your Advice)

  1. I keep about three hundred dollars at hand = three weeks food for my family of 4. Everything else, in case of emergency, can go. I have family for lodging in an emergency, and a project car that runs, in an emergency. All of my bills have at least one month paid ahead, so that gives me two months leeway.

  2. I would think somewhere around $200.00 With that much gas you can usually get to somewhere where you will have access to your accounts. You can get pretty far if all you buy is gas and drive.

  3. I would keep more than what has been posted here. I live in a hurricane area and CASH is king at that time. Having alot of ones is extremely important for the purchase of ice. There’s usually very little change for larger bills. You also may need some toll money if you get out of your area and need to travel. Ice can be very expensive and there’s so many items that you need to buy that may require cash including public telephones. You also might want money to go to a laundromat. I know because I had to do alot of things that I just mentioned. You will also need to increase your money each year to meet inflation.

  4. I have eighty $5 bills in my disaster supplies. (It used to be a hundred 5’s, but I had to raid the kitty a few months ago and keep forgetting to put it back.) 😉

  5. 1000, for emergency house repairs i.e boiler failure. Normally service people appreciate the cash a will sometimes give a good discount.

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