I know a lot of people that don’t keep any cash at home and I was one of them until 1995. Since then I always keep a minimum of several hundred dollars at home and I don’t even try to hide it these days since my conversation with a burglar (I figure is someone is determined enough to break into my house, they are going to be determined enough to find the money as well — that being said, I am living in Japan before anyone tries to track down where I live )
From a financial standpoint, pre 1995 it didn’t make sense for me to keep a large amount of money at home. The money wasn’t earning any interest and there was always the chance that it could be stolen. I maybe had $20 in my pocket and relied on credit cards and small cash withdrawals from the ATM which worked splendidly.
I don’t think that I have ever met anyone who has been in a major natural disaster that doesn’t keep some extra money at home. Mine was the Great Hanshin Earthquake on Tuesday January 17, 1995 when the city of Kobe was destroyed. While I lived on the other side of the mountains where damage was much less extensive, I had to hike 20 miles into the quake stricken area to deliver medication to my wife’s aunt who lived in the center of the city and had no way of obtaining it.
When all power and water is out and banks are closed, you quickly learn that ATM cards and credit cards are of little use and it doesn’t matter how much you have in a bank account because there is no way to get at it. All commerce for the weeks after the quake was done in cash because none of the credit card systems worked.
I hope that I never have to use this emergency cash money, but I feel more secure that if something terrible does happen, I will be in a position where I have the means to negotiate getting the things that I need.
Please share your own experiences on this topic as a wide variety of views and thoughts are helpful to everyone. If there is one thing that I have learned about personal finances from all of you is that there are always exceptions to the rule and differing circumstances can mean completely different solutions. If you have a blog and you have written about this topic in the past, feel free to link to your writing (although a short summary would be helpful). If you have recently read a good article on this topic, please links and share in the comments.
Image courtesy of amanky