Survival Gear – Don’t forget the Cash

dollar billWhen putting together your list of survival supplies, don’t forget to include some good old cash.

You often hear people going on and on about stockpiling gold and other precious metals, but for all practical purposes, I think cash will still be king during a SHTF situation; especially in the beginning. While I do think owning gold and precious metals are a good long-term strategy, having some extra cash in your bags is probably going to do more for you in an emergency situation.

and here’s why cash will still be king…..

1. Most emergencies are small-scale disasters. If you have to buy something during a natural disaster most cashiers are not going to take your gold!

2. Vending Machines – There are millions of vending machines scattered throughout the country. It may sound weird, but I’ve talked to a number of people who have vending machines routed out on their evacuation maps.

Having some smaller bills in your bug out bag can help you stock up on supplies as you go. It’s not the most nutritious food in the world, but in an emergency it’s still food. (yes if it was a really bad situation you could just bust open the machine, but do you really want to draw attention to yourself?)

3. Navy Seals – When going into hostile environments, the Seals always carry cash as part of their survival supplies. They do this because in most parts of the world cash is king. If they find themselves in a sticky situation, having cash can help them buy weapons, a ride out of town, or even pay of the locals for a temporary hiding place. You can apply these same principles to a SHTF situation, and see why cash is a good survival item to carry.

4. People are stupid! Even if the dollar collapses, most of the country is completely clueless and will still see it as having value. People are conditioned to perceive paper currencies as having value and in the beginning most people will still believe that it has value.

15 Comments

  1. millenniumfly
    July 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. With enough cash you buy almost anything, even in desperate times. So, any advice as to how much to carry? A few hundred? Thousands?

  2. Bob Johnson
    July 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I keep the following:

    $200 in ones
    $200 in 5s
    $200 in 10s
    $400 in 20s

    These are further broken down to small packets of bills so you only flash about $50 at once. Philly rolls if you will.

    I feel thats enough if I get displaced and need a motel, or if I have to scrounge my way wheeling and dealing across country for scraps of food.

  3. Spec
    July 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Always good to have cash around for those short term SHTF situations…Never really thought about the break down as Bob has said…Changing out some of my cash as soon as I can to mimic that list…Thanks for the info..

  4. Whatifitistoday?
    July 26, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Whenever I travel I figure out how much money I would need if I had to pay cash to get home. Then I multiply it by three or four, depending on how far away I am. This is my emergency money that I bring in addition to whatever cash I would be expecting to pay. I take a varied supply of denominations and keep them stored in several different places. One stack of bills can be in my wallet, another in my pack, another in my truck, and more in my pocket or a hidden pocket on the inside of my pant leg.

  5. BryanJ027
    July 27, 2011 at 2:56 am

    I usually get a $10, a $5 and five $1’s, then next time I’ll get a $10 and two $5. That way I end up with plenty of small bills besides the $20’s or larger bills.

  6. Mick
    July 28, 2011 at 2:24 am

    cash is king!! I love how us humans are trained that paper is soo valuable. I always carry cash

  7. Washington
    July 29, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    If you had some savings in the bank, how much would you need to spend (rough estimate) to purchase a good bug out bag, some tactical equipment and medicine (first aid kit) for one person?
    Thank you

    • OFFGRID Logo
      Off Grid Survival
      July 29, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      It really depends on your experience, location and a number of other factors…. with that being said If you check second hand stores, garage sales, ebay and even Amazon for deals then your can probably get everything you need for a couple of hundred dollars. But again it depends on your skill set and what you think you need.

      I keep a very minimalist lightweight bag but I did spend a lot on a couple of key items. The most expensive things in my bag include my knife (a Sog Seal Pup) which I picked up for $70 on Amazon and a Katadyn Water filter that is around $300. I also bought a Hennesey Hammock with Tarp Shelter for around $120 I felt those 3 items were things that I was not willing to go the cheap or the used route on so I spent extra money in those two areas.

      The rest of the gear in my bag can all be obtained for under a hundred bucks from a second hand store or by watching out for deals online.

  8. joe abbadabba
    October 24, 2011 at 1:04 am

    I can’t speak for the seals but I can confirm that green beanies do carry u.s. and region specific currency depending on the mission. In regard to what we in america would consider a true SHTF situation, IN america… cash wont be worth shit, and this article is a silly waste of space. In SF, these are not SHTF situations, 99% of the time so called war zones still have regular people living and working in them. It pays to be able to pay, but that is as a worst case scenario. If it goes down in the states all the cash in the world wont buy security or food, water, shelter etc. Vending machines? How do you figure on counting on the electrical supply to run the machines? Perhaps a crowbar is a better consideration. Two other things about which you are absolutely wrong: 1. People wont take gold any less or more than cash in an emergency. Things we can recognize as having value in emergencies have nothing to do with cash. Its more about inherant/intrisic/PRACTICAL value. Food/water/TOOLS. 2. You have way too little faith in the survival instincts of so called “stupid people”. Despite the fact that you may be much better prepared for problems doesn’t mean your desire to survive is any less than the average joe. Trust me, people will do anything to survive and your claim that cash will make a difference is idiotic and borderline irresponsible. Perhaps you should consider an article about how to deal WITHOUT cash, because it will be worthless when SHTF. Believe me, I speak from experience.

  9. Rodd
    November 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Cash is king….only as long as the US dollar is the worlds reserve currency. WHEN that changes the dollar will be worthless. I’m not saying burn your money but having some gold and/or silver in reserve is a smart idea. Gold will always be gold.

  10. Chris
    February 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Remember that after WWI the Germans needed WHEELBARRELS of money to simply buy a loaf of bread. So it really depends on what you’re preparing for. In a 3day bag cash is king because things like the economy shouldn’t have collapsed. In a true SHTF situation then either silver or barter goods (such as spare ammo). And I say silver because it’s easier to deal with. An ounce of gold is $1300+ and you’re most likely not buying that much stuff and have no way to really break down the gold to a smaller size. But an ounce of silver is currently only about $35 and its a lot easier to buy an amount of supplies roughly close to that. Not that I expect gold/silver to remain as highly valued compared to barter goods, but it would most likely have more value than the equiv amount of cash.

    • Mike
      June 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Yep… more silver than gold, so you can make change for all those that only have gold.

  11. Mike
    June 15, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Welcome to Barter Town!
    Sure cash will still be worth something for some people and items, especially in the beginning or short term events, but for the long haul… I believe the actual value will be on good old General Store & Mercantile items; tools, foods, ammo, weapons, water/purification, medical supplies, clothing, shelter items (creature comfort)…
    If you have the cash now, sure make sure you keep a percentage of it, but I would diversify and include “Goods” including more Silver than Gold.

  12. greyghost
    December 1, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Carrying all your cash in a “wad” is probably not the better idea. I group two $20, four $10, two $5, and ten 1 together and vacuum seal them in a just-larger-than-a-bill Food Saver bag. This way only $100 is seen at one time, plus they are insulated from water. Not inflation, just water.

  13. MV
    January 15, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Ok, I’ll buy 1, 2, & 3. But 4?! Pointless. You’re handicapping yourself by holding on to cash that won’t have value in that scenario. Granted gold may be a great long-term option, but silver is a great short term option as it’s a smaller denomination than gold. But to hold onto an item of currency, in this case cash, is foolish as it applies to #4. It will only tie up the diying currency and prevent you for exchanging it for a living currency.

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