Is It a Good Idea to Keep Cash at Home for a Rainy Day?

I'm wondering whether it's a good idea to keep (real) cash at home for a rainy day, i.e ATM/banks go down for a few days etc, not a SHTF-type scenario. I'm only thinking about $1000 so not a huge amount but enough to last a few days for the day-to-day expenses.

Most of my payments are via credit/debit card so it's rare to pay cash for anything atm.

What do you think?

Comments

  • +11 votes

    normally keep a few hundred
    children had school photos this week, needed $80 at short notice
    .

    • +2 votes

      Do those guys really not accept bank transfer?

  • +6 votes

    I keep a few hundred too - during covid19 lock down upped it to a thousand.

    • +15 votes

      Most of my local businesses have (politely) refused cash since COVID started, with a preference for card use.

      •  

        I was thinking more if we got to the "walking dead" stage of covid19 when maybe cash would be handy

        also handy for the cash tradie deal where you get a job done, see the price and then ask if there is a cash discount.

        • +9 votes

          Lol. Is cash (either physics or electronic) handy at that stage.

        • +7 votes

          Walking Dead stage? Cash/ Currency would be worthless. We’d be back to bartering and stealing 😂

          Cash discount for trade work…. comes with the same paperless warranty too.

        •  

          this guys and op's name "thatonethere" "theotherleft" give me so much "walking dead" era feeling…

      • +17 votes

        Annoyingly my local Hairdresser did the opposite. Stopped taking card and only accepted cash. I think it was a dodgy ploy to make sure they were eligible for jobkeeper.

        Vague 'machine is not working', but the same issue when I took my son a month later.

        • +7 votes

          Find most of the nail salons do this all the time, even pre-COVID. Just don’t want to pay the ATO.

        • +7 votes

          Stop supporting them. Bet you won't.

          •  

            @nurries: You know they pokies and casinos are there as an outlet for these cash businesses to spend their money.

            These people don't stash this cash. They got to spend it and taxes get collected.

            It is just es interest it is only a minority to limit the loss.

        • +3 votes

          I've always found the 'oh, sorry, I only have card' to be the magic sauce that fixes their machines when it's businesses that do the 'service then pay' model.

          Usually when they work out that no, I'm not going to go and get cash out, I'm just going to leave.

          •  

            @Parentheses: then, what about the next time?

            •  

              @MechanicalCanine: It's never got to the point of me finishing my walking out, the machine has always fixed itself in time. Most of the time it's just meant the machine is never broken when I'm there, a couple of places I've had to do that trick twice. Never been refused service over it either.

      • +1 vote

        My local Subway started doing that when COVID hit. A few weeks later a sign appeared stating that they now preferred cash due to the increased bank fees that they were getting hammered with.

        •  

          Saying COVID could spread through cash is in best interest of big business.

          Imagine if they say don't tap on go public transport due to COVID transmission risk from dirty cards.

  • +1 vote

    Keep enough spare to last a week of normal usage plus extra during school holidays to cover excursions.

    • +16 votes

      All cool until "your bank's" ATMs go down or there is a major telecommunications outage.

      All depends on your personal preference. If you are (worst case) effectively able to "survive" (noting this can have a very broad definition for people when these problems have come up in the past) for 24 - 48 hours without literally being able to spend any money, you probably don't need to hold cash. If you can't, you should hold a small amount to see you through.

      •  

        All cool until "your bank's"(4bc.com.au) ATMs go down or there is a major telecommunications outage.(smh.com.au)

        This is when a shotgun and DLT comes in handy.

      • -2 votes

        Then you go to the ATM next closest or servo, or colesworth etc.

        • +2 votes

          I've been caught in Italy where all the ATMs were down due to some issue (probably made worse by a strike, knowing Italy) twice.
          One time I had like no more than 40 EUR cash and had to make it last for two of us despite being on holiday where you always spend lots (admission fees, takeaway, bus/train tickets etc) without knowing when it would end - wasn't a good feeling.

        • +1 vote

          until a genuine comms outage, power outage, storm, bushfire, etc. takes out everything within a larger area.
          a 99.99% uptime for electronic payments, if that's ever likely to be achieved, is not enough for that time you're in the 0.01% window…

    • +7 votes

      Theres ATM's everywhere now…

      Most banks have actually been removing ATMs at a record pace since the start of COVID. There's less ATMs in Australia now than there were 12 years ago.

      Also, with negative interest rates an almost foregone inevitability in the future and proposed legislation limiting cash transactions to $10,000 or possibly even $5,000 dollars constantly being discussed, not to mention the mass push for contactless payment systems since COVID, it's quite clear the goal here is to transition to an entirely cashless society within the next 10 years

      •  

        Not withstanding the whole discussion about holding an "emergency" amount of cash to deal with technological failure, we are all but at the point of being cashless anyway.

        I've noticed that practically all businesses (shops) now are willing to accept electronic payment even for "cup of coffee" amounts. This wasn't the case even a few years ago, but in my day-to-day travels there's only one place I know of near me that effectively prevents (or at least heavily discourages) electronic payment on small amounts.

        Tradies and similar outfits will generally carry around their mobile terminals with them if they're looking for on the spot payment … and to be fair, expecting customers to have cash on hand especially for somewhat open ended pieces of work is not only unreasonable, but frankly presents a security risk for all concerned.

        The only time cash seems to feature is in person-to-person transactions where the seller is attempting to protect themselves from one of the many scams going around. I wonder if a soon-to-be-launched feature of smartphones will be to effectively make them a CC/EFTPOS terminal for receiving electronic payments?

        • +1 vote

          Note also a lot of shops still charge surcharges for small transactions using credit card, hence where cash is more economical.

          •  

            @TheOtherLeft: True, and while it's still a pain up the jacksie, I've noticed we're basically at the 1.5% surcharge rate now, not the old 20c or 50c that pushed it to 5 or 10%.

            I tend to dodge joints that charge a surcharge, even the 1.5% or whatever, but must admit that for 6c it adds to my coffee every so often, I'm not then saying, "oh, sorry, I'll pay cash instead".

          • +1 vote

            @TheOtherLeft: Until you get $3.85 change and lose it…

            Seriously carrying around coins, who got time and space for that?

        • +1 vote

          No cash. Compulsory 1.5% surcharge. Great. The big Australian rip off.

          Saying cash is going to transmit COVID is like roping off supermarket shelves as you have no idea who's been touching stuff on the shelves.

      • +3 votes

        Most banks have actually been removing ATMs at a record pace(atmmarketplace.com) since the start of COVID. There's less ATMs in Australia now than there were 12 years ago.

        They’re doing this to stop future bank runs and to reduce their operational costs. They’re using COVID as an excuse so that people don’t get upset with them reducing services while they keep charging account fees.

        •  

          $250k deposit guarantee is to stop bank runs

          •  

            @netjock: The FIS has never been activated in Australia.

            Australians should be wary of government promises saying that they will look after their money. The people at the top will always do what is in theirs and their mate's best interest before anyone else's.

            •  

              @whooah1979: If you have 250k in the bank making 1% you probably deserve to lose it

        •  

          Um… The banks have been reducing their ATM networks for a few years now… Blaming it on covid or to stop future bank runs is short sighted. They are just reducing costs as lower demand.
          Article from 2019

          httpss://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/banks-cull-atms-as-more-customers-ditch-cash-20190118-p50s5j.html

  • +13 votes

    During some bushfires, the internet was down and a lot of people were unable to pay with credit cards. Cash was king.

    • +50 votes

      During those same bushfires, those with cash at home, lost the cash, as well as the home.

      • -9 votes

        Surely you'd have the time to take the cash with you on the way out. It wouldn't take much time.

        • +9 votes

          You have no idea what their situations were.. If that was the case, many wouldn't have escaped with only the clothes on their back..

  • +2 votes

    If you can afford it, it certainly won't hurt. Virtually zero chance of all banks and ATMs going down for multiple days without it being SHTF though.

    • +1 vote

      what's SHTF

      • +2 votes

        S*** hitting the fan. I read that at any moment we're only ever about ~3 days from chaos if everything we rely on stops working. It's so unlikely you don't need to worry about it, and if it did there wouldn't be much you could do anyway unless you already live 'off the grid'.

        • +1 vote

          If I were a shop owner or in some positions like that, the moment this SHTF event occurs, I won't sell anything whatsoever, exhange only, cash = paper = no value. Food/medicine/Eneloops etc worth heaps more….lolz

  • +1 vote

    This varies a lot culturally and by age group. But i have to say it's not very smart keeping lots of cash at home. If that cash goes missing, it is gone.

    But logically $1000 should be plenty for unexpected expenses that are immediate.

    Crypto may also become the new back up currency the way we are going. Maybe it will be a spare $1000 in a bitcoin wallet soon, rather than $1000 under the mattress!

  • +1 vote

    if you live in a regional area where efpos might not work. Then i would keep cash around, otherwise it not worth getting it stolen.

  • +1 vote

    A few mill stashed in a manhole under the storage room, yeah

    • +3 votes

      Do you happen to be the one who knocks?

  •  

    Always keep a few dollars under the mattress for emergencies and for the tradie who gives a good discount for cash.

    Nearest ATM is a 15 minute drive away as is the nearest bank.

  • +2 votes

    I keep $10K. You never know where to get greater than $1,000 outside banking hours. And there are less and less bank branches around.

    • +1 vote

      I can't remember the last time I needed more than $1,000 in cash since internet banking came a thing.

      I hope no one in my family gets kidnapped, then the hostage will be stuffed lol

      • +1 vote

        You never know until you do.

      •  

        It depends on what you do and how you live.

        It was a decade ago, but I used to have a decent reserve of cash in a safe and usually about $2k on me, but that was mostly work related. These days, it's rare that I have a hundred in my wallet.

    •  

      You USED to have $10k, every day that it becomes less.

      •  

        No, it's still $10,000. It's the purchasing power that's reducing

  • +10 votes

    If by cash you mean TP, then yes.

  • -1 vote

    Cash should be in a museum.

  • +8 votes

    In all honesty if things went completely dark for 2-3 days with no comms/power/services - you have to be realistic about the circumstances. It is most likely some form of natural disaster and in that situation you won't be popping down to the grocery store to buy some bottled water, chocolate and a pie with your tenner. It will likely involve you either being stuck where you are located and weathering it out or waiting for emergency evacuation help or you will be down at some emergency shelter where aid is already being served by SES or Military. If that is not the situation you are in, then it is very likely you will be able to fulfill your essential needs and the facilities such as comms/power/internet will be live very soon so having large swathes of cash is not a big risk. Similarly if you exited the affected area it is likely that where you end up will have services to take out money. The only other scenario I can think of that is relevant and not far fetched is 'war' and needing cash if you were to hit the road as a refugee. This is not a problem in Australia, because firstly it is unlikely war will come here, but if it did you can't just walk off to another country for shelter or safety you'd just have to join in or hide. Likewise if you double back, as soon as you are in a safe zone you can use the ATM there as well.

    •  

      Heard of NotPetya

      Cyberattack that pretty much shut down Ukraine impacting bank/ATM's and rail transport.

      Holding onto some cash is always a benefit as computer systems do go down.

    •  

      This is not a problem in Australia, because firstly it is unlikely war will come here, but if it did you can't just walk off to another country for shelter or safety you'd just have to join in or hide.

      World war 3, because everyone blames the virus came from them and china being "I've had enough of all this bullshit, it wasn't me, let's sort this out man to man as it seems to be the only way you can understand." or "So….you've figured it out….about time, because you're economy and military strength have been reduced enough that we can now overwhelm your pitiful country - prepare yourself!" and declares war on every civilization and nation who opposed china.

  • -1 vote

    ATM/banks go down for a few days etc

    There are bigger problems to worry about if such a scenario happen.

    • +1 vote

      Could you elaborate please?
      I reckon not being able to exchange money for goods would be on the top of the list. That's were spare cash comes handy.

      • +1 vote

        That's the point though. It's now the entire town/city that can't get cash out, so everyone panics.

        If you have cash at home then you are buffered to an extent from the panic.

        This goes hand-in-hand with the concept of 72hr kits, bug in/bug out kits, or simply keeping extra food and water at home for what-if scenarios.

        •  

          Got your initial comment completely upside down then! :) all makes sense now

  • +6 votes

    Interesting to read the speculations here.
    I have had a couple of occasions where there were multi-day blackouts, related to storms and bushfires.
    And I remember big black outs in North America.
    Having some cash on hand is extremely handy to buy those batteries you need, or to get another gas bottle for the bbq or a gas camping stove, or whatever you need that you only realise at the time.
    It isn’t about paying the barista for avocado toast.
    Consider too, if you were 20km from home when the public transport and ATM/EFTPOS stopped. A bit of cash might get the taxi to avoid a long walk (though people routinely are super helpful and generous in these circumstances).

    Or even more prosaically, your ID gets hacked and all your financial accounts are temporarily locked down and takes a few days to sort out.

    I don’t think having a few hundred dollars on hand in cash is at all silly to cover what could otherwise be a big hassle.

  • +2 votes

    I usually keep at least a hundo or two in my wallet at all times, but I probably wouldn't stash cash at home, the downsides outweigh the benefits.

  • +4 votes

    I'm wondering whether it's a good idea to keep (real) cash at home for a rainy day, i.e ATM/banks go down for a few days etc, not a SHTF-type scenario. I'm only thinking about $1000 so not a huge amount but enough to last a few days for the day-to-day expenses.

    Yes, for this situation it's a good idea. I'll usually keep $50 or $100 in my wallet. Never know when I happen to eat at a restaurant that doesn't take cash, for instance. I don't keep cash at home, but I do agree it's sensible.

    On the other hand, if anybody has the idea of keeping cash at home for if banks were to collapse or if there is a financial crisis, then the long and short of it is that this is a really bad idea. Firstly, if Australian banks were to collapse, it would likely be a huge, huge risk to the AUD, people would likely stop accepting it or peg it to other currencies…etc. This sort of crisis has happened before, and in most circumstances, holding cash would likely be of little help. If you really wish to protect against this sort of contagion, a better bet is to hold assets denominated in other currencies, e.g. US stocks or bonds, or perhaps even USD cash along with AUD cash, perhaps even gold bullions. However, that being said, the risk of your house being broken into and having everything stolen is far, far, far higher than the risk of you needing "cash" in that sense. So no, it never makes sense to do this. (Source: I'm an economist).

  •  

    During South Australia's state wide black out in 2016 I went to get fuel once power had been restored. Everything at the station worked, except the EFTPOS machine which tried to dial out but the system at the other end was still down. I could pay because I had cash, but others had to sign promising to pay later.

    Sometimes it's good to have a little spare cash on hand. I wouldn't have more than about $200 however.

    •  

      That's super odd, you can do offline transactions on those terminals

  • +2 votes

    Never keep more than $20 in cash, and for most of 2020/21 that has gone down to zero, only time it screwed me was the sausage sizzle at Bunnings a week ago.

    • +3 votes

      Do you read everything literally? Keeping cash for a rainy-day doesn't mean literally a 'rainy day' i.e. precipitation..

      • +1 vote

        But rainy days are quite common, so that's a bad analogy.

        • +3 votes

          You must be fun at parties.

  •  

    I do but only because its in foreign currency that I can't store in a bank…

  •  

    Does a couple hundred in coin change count?

    Most of the cash I keep is just the cash I've accumulated over time somehow and haven't been bothered to take it out to use (because I no longer carry a wallet).

    •  

      When I left the country in 2018 I scrounged up all my coins lying around the house/in jars, dropped them into the machine at the bank and had about $500.

  • +1 vote

    Great idea
    What’s your address?

  • +1 vote

    I am only on a pension and i try keep about $1k+ in cash. I rarely use ATMs as 95% of my spending is via card, and i rarely bank cash. If someone gives me $$ for say something i sell on Facebook or whatever, than I hold on to it. When i go on holidays i carry my cash with me just in case (and usually return with it!), but otherwise i rarely have more than $50 on me.

    When I use it it is typically when i buy something second hand or get a handyman or gardener who prefers cash. My other regular cash transactions are for my annual phone upgrade; i buy a second hand phone usually and get cash back for my old one. When i upgrade my car every few years i sometimes use the cash to supplement my savings. Seeing some cash gets me better deals from sellers. for phones and cars lol.

  • +1 vote

    I have about $30 in my wallet. I have never been in a situation where the power has been out for several days across the entire area in which I live. I feel like people are overestimating the likelihood of disasters, although I can see things like this happening if you live somewhere where there are cyclones or bushfires.

    •  

      i keep 100 in wallet for cash-only shops, and top up when reqd

  • +1 vote

    the only time where banks atms, things would be closed/shut down would be in an apocalypse - where money won't matter. Stock guns and food i say.

    •  

      I got two on me at all times. 💪

  • +1 vote

    ATM/bank down

    I keep two credit cards for this reason. One from the main bank and other from Citibank.
    unless EFTPOS network is dead everywhere, it's very unlikely you will be stuck unable to purchase stuff (eg Coles was down a couple of months ago, I just went to Woolworths)

    • -1 vote

      Imagine a world where people can pay anyone, anywhere digitally without the need for a bank card or account. That would be something special.

      •  

        arrr…. you mean bitcoin? lol

        •  

          But you still need to get the coin into cash equivalent. Unless they take bitcoin and you want to wait 20 mins for transaction authorisation.

  •  

    End of world scenario/zombie invasion, cash wont get you very far

    Sexual favours on the other hand…

    •  

      Sexual favours? Well, I'm out of luck. I'm male and ugly as hell. LOL!

      •  

        I'm sure that wont matter after a while….

  •  

    which reminds me we need to deposit