Having an emergency fund in a savings account is a basic part of personal finance, but what about the traditional “cash under the mattress” approach? Is there still a place for a stash of paper money in a world of ATMs and online banking?
Why have a stash of cash?
Imagine for a moment that some crisis (blizzard, earthquake, etc.) cuts off power to your hometown for a week. With no electricity, you won’t be able to use an ATM — and if a crisis is severe, it’s unlikely that the banks will be open. Without power, you won’t be able to use credit cards, either; the only cash you’ll have in this situation is whatever you have on hand. Could you and your family get by for a week on the cash that’s in your wallet right now?