How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

Preparing For The Next Bank Run

This morning as you’re walking out the door heading to work you decide to swing by the ATM on your way to work. It’s been a long weekend and you haven’t been watching the news like you usually do.

You get to the bank and hit up the drive through ATM. Except when you reach to put your card in the machine you see a notice that it’s out of order.

Fine, there’s another bank on the way. But when you get there, same thing. You drive across the street to another bank. Different bank all together, but you’re willing to pay the fee to get the cash.

No dice.

Now you’re worried, so you turn on the radio in time to catch the news. And that’s how you find out that all of the major banks as well as the credit card networks have shut down all ATMs and credit card terminals in the country. Apparantly you missed a minor bank run over the weekend.

Well, maybe not all that minor, since enough banks were affected that they shut down everything. The banks expect things to be offline for at least a week while things get settled.

And here you are, no cash, your cards don’t work, and since nobody takes checks anymore, you haven’t had any printed for five years.

So now what?

Well, if only you had prepared ahead of time! How you ask?

First and foremost, have cash. And not just walkaround cash in your purse or wallet. You need to have a stash of actual paper cash in your home, preferably a couple stashes in a couple different parts of the house.

How much? At LEAST a few hundred bucks, ideally in 20s, with some smaller bills. Better yet, between $500 and $1000.

Next, having some paper checks around isn’t that bad an idea. I know we use almost exclusively electronic checks through our bank, but having paper checks is still useful for enough that you should keep them around.

Between the two your cash needs will be mostly covered. But you’re not done.

You’ll want to make sure you have food covered. While you probably have long term food covered, for something like this you don’t need to necessarily dip into your long term stash. So try not to let your fresh and short term food stash get too depleted.

Assuming you have these things covered, you’re good to go for a short term cash interruption.

If the bank run is something serious…well, that’s where your long term preps come into play. Way outside of the scope of this article!

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9 Responses to Preparing For The Next Bank Run

  1. I think that when then run starts it wont end till it plays itseif completely out. People today are not prepared at all and when a run starts they will overreact and panic will set in.It wont matter if it is short or long term cause follks will just freak out.

  2. When was the last time we had a run on the banks? I admit that I live in relative isolation, but I wasn’t even aware of such behavior when the bankruptcy/buyouts were going on. Your short term scenario may just go unnoticed by many unless it’s the beginning of the month when the Social payments and food stamps are issued.
    Nevertheless, you have certainly offered sound advice. I know a lot of folks are acquiring gold and silver coins in preparation for such an event, but in a short term rush or the early stages of long term crisis, the people we deal with on a daily basis will not know how to deal with precious metals. You could potentially get nothing more than face value of your coin. Which offers the flip side (pardon the pun), it may be the most advantageous time to acquire those metals…watch out for coin dealers, pawn brokers or greedy capitalists.

    • There have been a few smaller runs on small banks, but nothing national like I’ve described here.

      On the flip side, if you go outside the borders of the United States, that’s a different story. Latvia, Iceland, Greece, and a few other countries have had bank runs recently…as recently as a few weeks ago in some cases

      The big problem is that you just can’t predict it, and as Gary points out, you have no idea if it’s a short term problem or a longer term thing.

  3. It may not be a bank run but not too long ago I wanted to cash a check for $58,000. I wanted it in cash. Now don’t think I’m loaded. I don’t really have that kind of money, it was money from a new loan that was to pay off an old loan. The bank told me they couldn’t give me that much money. They could give me $1000 and I would have to come back in three or four days for the rest, depending on when their shipment of money came in. They said that they normally only have a few thousand dollars actually in the bank. They figure that almost as many people come in each day putting cash in as those that take cash out so they don’t need to have much on hand. Pretty frightening if you ask me.

  4. What are you thoughts on having cash in a safety deposit box? I have a little stashed there and a little here at home, but I worry about having too much cash in the house, even when I hide it. BTW, what are the best hiding spots you have found?

    • I prefer to not keep much in a safety deposit box. They’re pretty easy to confiscate should the government go that way. California has already started doing it, declaring them abandoned after you don’t visit them for a few months.

  5. The system my household uses to stay on our limited budget is this: In a lock box in a hidden spot at our home we have an envelope for each budgeted expense for the month, (grocery, laundry, personal spending for each adult, etc,) that is filled with the budgeted amount of cash at the begining of the month. Only a few things like rent and electric are paid with a check (paper through the mail because we like having a postal service and support it at every opportunity). We are gaurenteed to stay on budget because once an envelope is empty there just isn’t anymore to spend on that thing that month. Whenever there’s a few bucks left over in an envelope I roll it into savings. Since I keep about two months ahead of this we always have ready currency, and about what we’d need for two months of regular expenses beyond the current month (assuming inflation doesn’t skyrocket). We live only a little away from check to check and this system has been a huge help in building up that slow and steady savings.