Welcome to my Prepper Post which aims to help you be ready for any kind of short or long term disaster that might come along, and showing you the importance of being ready and able to help yourself when the authorities cannot assist you. I don't claim to be an expert on these subjects but I'll tell you what I can and direct you to prepper sites for further information if you are interested. Prepping is for normal people, and I aim to give you common sense reasons for thinking about how ready you are.
This week I'm looking at how important it is to have access to cash for emergencies.
We now live in a digital society where banks are trying to get everyone on to online banking as that is cheaper and easier for them. We seem to be totally reliant on credit cards for even the smallest purchase, and we rely on technology to make every aspect of our life easier. These options may well make life easier now but what happens when things go wrong? Let's look at what could happen. Imagine there is a bad storm and you lose power for anything up to a week. It seems logical that you would be ready for this by having a short term food supply that you can access rather than going out in floodwater to try and get to the shops. It is also a good idea to have a supply of batteries, perhaps alternate cooking options ie a camping stove and gas, or even a generator as back up. These things allow you to carry on as normal even if you are on your own until the power gets fixed.
So why then do a lot of us not keep cash for emergencies too? A prime example of why you should do this became clear when Visa cards became useless all over Europe for around six hours in places just over a week ago. Shops were putting up signs saying 'cash only' and irate shoppers were venting their spleen on social media and complaining to tv reporters about how unacceptable the situation is. OK so if there is an ATM outside the supermarket you can just go to that and you're golden but what would you do if power was out to them too? What if it was cash only or nothing?
Here are some good examples of the importance of cash. You could avoid the irate people waiting their turn at the ATM or yelling because it is shut down and go straight in and get your shopping done. You don't have the problem of being stuck at the front of the queue when they tell you that cash is your only option and you stare helplessly at your credit card. You also have the advantage of not worrying about your online bank account being hacked or frozen, a hardware problem stopping your card functioning or if you are paranoid, having your location and every purchase tracked by the government every time you use your card. Cash is private, convenient, unhackable, in your pocket and at the moment, accepted everywhere. It still works when the digital options grind to a temporary halt as with Visa. It also means you pay as you go rather than running up monthly debts on the credit card. Cash is great!
It really bugs me when people say we are headed to a cashless society. Yeah that's all well and good when all of it is working properly but if there was no cash option in the world, what do we do every time there is a glitch or a hack and the bank systems shut down? Imagine if that happened and it took a week or a month to fix??? There could be riots on the bloody streets and the government would be in chaos trying to feed the masses. I doubt the shops would be happy at having no customers! Yes that might seem like an unrealistic scenario but it isn't something we want to take a risk on. I think there must always be that cash option for us.
There are a lot of people out there, like me, who don't like or trust mass technology. I do have a computer but I never use any kind of online banking service. Frankly I don't trust that it is secure. I've seen too many stories about accounts being hacked and frozen to ever trust this system. Yes it might be convenient but you can't force everyone to do it. Some of us would rather keep the cash hidden in our home than use that! Island and rural communities are having local banks closed down or being made to travel insane distances to make an actual deposit, sometimes travelling to a different island by ferry. I don't doubt that this is to force people online and it isn't acceptable as a lot of these people don't want online banking, they just want the same service options the rest of us have.
In fact, preppers are choosing not to even have bank accounts at all. Your transactions can be tracked easily and I can imagine that if you are building a doomsday bunker with lots of food and weapons, you would want to keep that kind of thing private and away from the prying eyes of the government. In a crisis of course, the government can freeze your account at any time if the stability of the bank is in question, preventing you from taking out money or limiting what you can do. It happened in the UK during that last global meltdown and it happened in Greece during their financial crisis. Banks can also close your account with very little or no notice. European Union Governments can take money from your account without your permission to pay their debts. US banks no longer need to seperate customer funds from bank funds so your money may not be safe. There are other scary stories out that that show that banks regard your money as their property.
Sensible tips from Chuckles is to have enough money for petrol in your car in case your card isn't working when you fill up the car. It avoids embarrassment and ensures you are carrying something with you just in case. It's a good idea to have food and drinks in the car, or cash to buy them in case you need them on a journey or when stuck or broken down somewhere. Consider keeping an emergency cash supply in your home for any kind of emergencies whether it is an ATM fault or recession or EMP that you are dealing with. Ensure you have extra cash on your holidays in case you overspend on your card! If you can manage it, maybe avoiding banks is a good idea or at least be vigilant about new laws passed in the banking sector, and at the first sign of trouble, start getting your money out.
Are you a cash loving person? Do you prefer to deal in credit and digital? Do you trust online banking and digital technology?