Allen Baler: Cash May Be King Someday

Allen Baler Cash is King

Recently my wife and I met a few other couples for dinner at a nearby restaurant. As we walked out, I reached into my wallet to grab a $5 bill to tip the valet guy but realized I didn’t have any cash. My wife looked in her wallet and realized she was cashless as well. Fortunately, one of our friends found a five in her purse. On the ride home, we joked about how nobody carries cash around anymore.


Reinforcing our emerging cashless society are those TV commercials in which lines at a store’s checkout counters move briskly when customers are using the sponsor’s credit and debit cards, but slow down considerably when someone has the audacity to use cash. The implication is that if you don’t use the sponsor’s cards for your purchases, you’re an out-of-touch dweeb who inconveniences those around you.


Those types of advertisements rub me the wrong way. There are a number of reasons why cash can be preferable, including for budgeting purposes. And considering all the recent winter storms wreaking havoc with our electrical grid, carrying cash seems like a good idea.


Storms that have caused long-lasting power outages and left millions of people in the dark and cold have also rendered many ATMs temporarily useless. Even some of the machines that were still working following the storms saw lengthy lines before they ran out of cash.


People with cash in their wallets are not the ones holding up store lines during the days and weeks following natural disasters. In fact, in some cases they are the only ones able to purchase items they need. With many electronic store terminals down, usage of credit and debit cards becomes very limited.


The fact is, it makes sense to always have cash on hand, a lesson I learned that night at the restaurant. If you don’t, you might find yourself in the position of not being able to purchase items you need when you need them most. Cash could end up being the only acceptable form of payment if the electrical grid goes down for any length of time.


So, if you’ve decided it’s a good idea to keep a nice supply of cash available for yourself at all times, the next step is figuring out the best places to put it in your home so that it’s safe. The key is to select places where a thief would not think to look. Hide it so well that an intruder might be looking directly at the container in which it’s hidden and not even consider trying to find it there.


Following are some suggestions:


  • In a can of soup. Open the can from the bottom, enjoy the soup, rinse out the can thoroughly, put your items in the can, replace the can bottom and place the can at the bottom of a stack of other canned goods.


  • In a zip-top baggie. Put two pieces of Styrofoam around it and then wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil and place it in your freezer.


  • In the soil of a fake plant, within a zip-top baggie.


  • Between two pieces of cardboard backing within a difficult-to-reach picture frame.


The last place you want to hide your cash is the first place that burglars look, so avoid…


  • Sock drawers. Very possibly the dumbest place to hide something. You might as well mail money in advance to the burglar.


  • Back of a wardrobe closet. Unless you live in Narnia, not a good idea.


  • Inside a shoebox. Seriously?


  • Inside a soup can that’s sitting on a bedroom dresser. Right item, wrong location.


Finally, make sure you remember where you hid your cash, and that family members don’t throw away any items in which you’ve got cash hidden. If that were to happen to you, the valet guy will not be pleased.

Photo credit: Images_of_Money / Foter / CC BY

Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville.