This morning as you’re walking out the door heading to work you decide to swing by the ATM on your way to work. It’s been a long weekend and you haven’t been watching the news like you usually do.
You get to the bank and hit up the drive through ATM. Except when you reach to put your card in the machine you see a notice that it’s out of order.
Fine, there’s another bank on the way. But when you get there, same thing. You drive across the street to another bank. Different bank all together, but you’re willing to pay the fee to get the cash.
Now you’re worried, so you turn on the radio in time to catch the news. And that’s how you find out that all of the major banks as well as the credit card networks have shut down all ATMs and credit card terminals in the country. Apparantly you missed a minor bank run over the weekend.
Well, maybe not all that minor, since enough banks were affected that they shut down everything. The banks expect things to be offline for at least a week while things get settled.
And here you are, no cash, your cards don’t work, and since nobody takes checks anymore, you haven’t had any printed for five years.
So now what?
Well, if only you had prepared ahead of time! How you ask?
First and foremost, have cash. And not just walkaround cash in your purse or wallet. You need to have a stash of actual paper cash in your home, preferably a couple stashes in a couple different parts of the house.
How much? At LEAST a few hundred bucks, ideally in 20s, with some smaller bills. Better yet, between $500 and $1000.
Next, having some paper checks around isn’t that bad an idea. I know we use almost exclusively electronic checks through our bank, but having paper checks is still useful for enough that you should keep them around.
Between the two your cash needs will be mostly covered. But you’re not done.
You’ll want to make sure you have food covered. While you probably have long term food covered, for something like this you don’t need to necessarily dip into your long term stash. So try not to let your fresh and short term food stash get too depleted.
Assuming you have these things covered, you’re good to go for a short term cash interruption.
If the bank run is something serious…well, that’s where your long term preps come into play. Way outside of the scope of this article!