Everyone knows they should have an emergency fund, but most people keep their money in the bank. That’s a good place for it . . . but you should also have a prepper cash stash.
Prepper cash means keeping actual money on hand for an emergency situation. If things go south, you may need to buy supplies and possibly safe passage, but banks may not be available. Basically, having some cash on hand allows you to take advantage of opportunities.
Keep in mind that having money on hand doesn’t mean you don’t need to prep in other ways. You should build up your food and medical storage first. However, once you’re ready to survive, you’ll want to have that cash on hand.
5 Reasons To Keep Cash Around
Why would you need to have cold, hard cash?
Imagine if the banks are shut down due to a crisis, but people are still charging for amenities? It’s too early to barter and too late to get cash. What do you do? This is where it would be useful to have some money ready to go. Here are a few potential scenarios that might require money:
- Someone has set up a “toll” on a road or bridge you need to cross.
- You want to buy last minute supplies from a store.
- Your home is unlivable and you need to stay in a hotel, but the credit card machines are down.
- You need gas for your car, but gas stations are taking cash only.
- Someone in your family needs medical aid and the only person available to help needs to be bribed.
These are just a handful of reasons you might have to pay cash. And it’s not inconceivable . . . many of these scenarios occur all the time when a hurricane or earthquake hits.
Where to Hide Your Cash
It would be ridiculous to leave your money out where other people could find it if they’re going through your home. To this end, it’s a good idea to hide your money, but not necessarily where others might hide theirs.
Common hiding places include:
- Taped under a drawer or desk
- Behind a painting
- Tucked in a photo, between picture and backing
- Under the mattress
- In a safe
- In a false container (like a spray can with a hollow space
While these could be good places to start with, anyone who has seen a heist movie will know about them. So, with that in mind, you’ll want to look for more difficult to find spots. It may also be a good idea to split your money up so if someone does find your stash, it isn’t everything.
Try storing your cash in an envelope tucked in with all your saved birthday cards. The idea here is to blend in with the surroundings. An envelope tucked into a box of papers is not noticeable at all and it’s not likely a thief will go through everything to find it.
While you can store cash in books, it’s an even better idea to add a false backing panel to your bookshelf and tuck some cash in there. People may flip through the books, but they probably won’t think to look for a false panel.
Likewise, instead of putting money under or in your mattress, roll it up and put it inside the screw on legs of the bed. A hollow post for the bed frame can also be a great option for hiding some money.
Other options include:
- In unused electrical outlets or switch boxes
- Inside the base of a kitchen appliance
- Behind the bottom panel of the stove
- Frozen in a bag inside a block of ice in the freezer
- Tucked inside a sewing machine’s storage compartment
- In the seat of a computer chair or inside the hollow legs
- Stuffed in a dark beer bottle that is capped and placed with other actual beer bottles
- Inside a board game no one ever plays
- In feminine hygiene product packages (fold the money to look like a pad and tuck inside wrappers, then replace in the package)
As you can see, if you just get creative, you can do a lot with hiding your money. So, now that you know what you need this cash for and where to put it . . . how do you actually get some cash to hide out?
Where to Make Prepper Cash
Chances are, you already spend your budget each month. Maybe you have some money that goes into savings and that’s a very good thing. In fact, I do not recommend storing cash in your home until you have a solid savings account and emergency fund set up.
So, earning extra money is the best way to add to your cash stash. You have a few options here. You can pick up some overtime and put that toward your stash, or you might even take on an extra job.
Other options include:
Selling stuff. Take this opportunity to clear some clutter out of your home and sell it all. You’ll get more room for your supplies and make it simpler to clean the house. Plus, you’ll have some money in hand.
Work online. Sites like mTurk, Swagbucks, and others will help you make small chunks of cash at a time. These are handy to do in your spare time and you can make a little extra money. If you want to make more, consider getting an online job or writing. You can find jobs on Upwork.
Set aside money. Every time you get a paycheck, consider setting aside $10-50 in cash. This isn’t a ton of money, but it could end up being a massive amount if you save it consistently.
Put up your change. Get a gallon jar and have everyone drop their change into it when they get home each evening. When the jar is full, convert it into bills and then start again. You’ll be surprised at how quickly this method adds up.
Do seasonal jobs. During the summer, mow a few lawns or do some yard work. Offer a New Year’s Eve babysitting service, or a cleaning service for those new year parties. Seasonal jobs tend to pay really well and are in hot demand. Even a few times a year can add up.
Do you save cash in the house? It’s easy to rely on cards and online payments, but what will you do when that isn’t available? It can and most likely will happen to us, so it’s a good idea to be prepared with your own prepper cash stash.