7 Reasons to have Money in your Bug Out Bag

Survival Money

I believe in the event of total collapse money and even precious metals will become fairly worthless for quite a while. However, total collapse is unlikely. While you may be in a regional emergency the rest of the world still takes cold hard cash.

Thanks to reader Jeff for the reminder to always carry cash.  Also read A Real Emergency Fund

1. Last Minute Shopping


Let’s assume since you read this site you are one of the smart ones who is getting out ahead of the curve. Stores may still be open. You can buy any last minute emergency items you need. (But keep reading this site and hopefully you won’t have to make any stops like that :)

2. Machines

Vending Machines

More and more things come in vending machines these days. A few bucks might come in real handy for those. Of course, you could always just smash the front glass and take what you need. I guess it depends on the type of emergency and what kind of person you are.

3. Gas


If you are Bugging Out by Car, which many people will be, gas is a hot commodity. Maybe you just buy a 5 gallon container from someone you meet. Perhaps the gas station got hit with an EMP and they don’t take cards. (But if that’s the case the electronic pumps probably don’t worth either…take your own pump/ciphen)

4. Skilled Labor


You may find yourself in a situation where you need skills you simply don’t have. Wouldn’t it be nice to say “Here is several hundred bucks would please take this bullet out of my leg Doctor?” or the more likely: “Here’s $500 to replace my fuel pump in the next hour”

5. Get A Ride


Maybe you don’t have a good But Out Vehicle, or you lost yours for whatever reason. Someone offering to pay cash, especially in an regional emergency, has a much better chance of getting a ride.

6. Bribe

Bribe Money

What else do you need to say? That cop or guardsman at the road block might not be a whole lot better off than you are. A few well placed bills may be just enough to get you by that search. (Be Very Careful with this tactic!)

7. Sheeple


Finally, you may know based on the emergency that cash has lost it’s value. However, some of the sheeple might not realize that yet and still be willing to take cash for anything. If you find yourself in this situation buy as many supplies as you can and get out quick. It’s a limited time offer so to speak.

What Else?

What other good reasons can you think of to carry cash with your survival gear? I guess you could always burn paper for fire tinder.

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Photo by: Borman818

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

zschell June 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm

If your group was hit by a larger band of outlaws, you may be able to buy them off to leave you alone with a few hundred dollars, provided that you could convince them that you didn't have anything else of real value. You might have a better chance if you could stash most of your gear before getting backed into a corner or surrounded. Not that anyone plans on those situations, but sh** happens.


Suburban Survivalist June 10, 2010 at 1:00 am

In the BoV, I keep a ziplock bag of quarters hand for vending machines. And a small crowbar, just in case.


Lucas_SurvCache June 10, 2010 at 6:31 pm

haha, very nice. If you can't get to the stuff the right way just strong arm it. I like it.


RudeBoy August 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Do you count yourself among their number? How exactly can you survive with weapons and weapons training alone unless you are planning on stealing from others?


willthered August 26, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Well you can always make the quarters in to arrowheads or smelt them in to bullets.


zschell June 10, 2010 at 3:45 am

If your group were hit by a larger band of outlaws, you may be able to buy your way out of the situation with a few hundred dollars, as long as you could convince them that you didn't have anything else of value. If possible, stashing your gear before a confrontation would be ideal. No one plans for it, but occasionally the bad guys get the jump on the good guys.


anon June 10, 2010 at 6:35 am

In the case of a pandemic and quarantine situation, a hefty bribe at the right location (minor, less-guarded road) might be able to get you and your family Out of Dodge.


Lucas_SurvCache June 10, 2010 at 6:32 pm


Good call. Sort of similar to bribing a road block. Your comment made me think of "I am Legend"


Lucas_SurvCache June 10, 2010 at 6:30 pm


To me that all depends on the the event, and how far after SHTF we are.

I firmly believe if it's total collapse money will be basically worthless and the bribe wouldn't work. However, in a regional disaster I think you might have a shot.


Scott June 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Why are you all so limited to paper money? If you really want cash for bribes, or what ever in a REAL SHTF situation why not have 1/10 and ounce of gold? Gold never loses its value, it actually increases in emergencies. Don't forget you can also get silver coins or other percious metals.


Lucas_SurvCache June 18, 2010 at 5:40 pm


The reason for paper money is in situations that are not a total collapse. If you were in a regional emergency the rest of the world still uses cash, like Katrina for example. You can't just walk into a store and buy supplies with gold.

My thoughts on precious metals post-SHTF: It's very popular among survivalists/preppers to stock precious metals for trade and barter and everything else when paper money will be useless.

However, gold will not me worth much for a long time. In the immediate aftermath and for quite a while there after, the only stuff worth anything will be food, water, weapons, and gear. Things your absolutely need to survive.

Sure, gold will become valuable again, as a trade-able commodity, but not until well after the initial collapse when things have time to settle down. For me that makes stocking precious metals way way down the list.


Bill in Detroit July 11, 2010 at 3:42 am

Just keep in mind to carry small bills: when the power is out, stores don't make change. If all you have are $50's, that's what things cost. If you have $5's $10's and $20's, you can strike a better deal. (non-violently)


roostercolorado July 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm

I think that in a serious SHTF situation, you should take into consideration that a good knife will be worth its weight in gold, and if you're trying to barter with someone who isn't a sheeple, you'll wish you had a couple spare knifes. cold steel makes excellent knives and they have some throwing knives that are light and worth keeping just for bartering


Emerson July 19, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I agree with roostercolorado… gear is good bartering material, provided you have extra items to trade. Everyone in a real SHTF scenario will be looking to increase their odds of survival. We never know when it will happen, so you can never have everything just right. Sometimes, you have to shoot first and aim later.


Red August 13, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Gas: take your own pump/ciphen (siphon) This should be in BOLD! A hand pump will be incrediably valuable. Won't have to pay anything to get gas from abandoned (or not) vehicles. True story (or so he said): I heard this many years ago when I in the Air Force. One of the aircraft maintance guys took a jet fuel pump that was not working up to spec, mounted it in his trunk and had a water hose attached to the pump input, and a hose dumping into the car's tank. Even with the lowered voltage from his battery and the out-of-spec pump, he could drain someones tank in under a minute.


SouthernShodan October 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm

I think people will just puncture the gas tank of an abandoned car in order to get the gas instead of carrying a hand pump.


pepe September 30, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Cash is good in small bills but, even during simple blackouts you can't pump fuel. If you have a bunch of gas cans or even if all you have is a pump set up at a closed gas station you can barter for stuff. Don't forget your garden hose.
The link is to a hand pump you can use for many requirements. http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/item.aspx?itemid…


bob November 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Fire steels for bartering? they are lighter, They have obvious use for non wilderness minded people and fire would be harder to come by for most people.
you can also get them cheap.


Old Scout December 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm

As far as a need for one, as Mr. brandon says, you might want to add a cache or a bunker to your cabin list. But I agree with Mr. Andy and I'm glad that some one brought it up, though he wasn't the only one. Cutting timber with my chainsaw I have seen some trees do some weird shit, as Mr. Cain can probably attest to, and I would not want my hands caught in those straps when I am in a hurry to unass the area that the falling tree is trying to occupy. I would opt for falling the tree with my double-bit and then using this saw to cut the flat edged cuts that I might need for construction purposes. And I am with Mr. Cain on his first comment; why can't I just make these out of my own chain saw stock, which I buy in a bulk roll. Scouts Out


LesStroudfan December 30, 2010 at 6:52 pm

im with most of the people here who say that money won't get you out of every situation. maybe you could use it as material to help start a fire if it's that worthless.


john May 1, 2011 at 6:16 pm

How much money do you think should be in a bug out bag?


CaptBart September 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Driving through northern Louisianan (on I-20) as Katrina was approaching the coast, I saw gas for $20 a gallon, credit cards not accepted (leaves a record of gouging). On a 30 gallon tank that's $600, except that all the stations were empty. Bottled water at $10 per bottle. Depending on the demand, need, and expected duration of TSHTF event, $500 to $1000 is not out of line – just be ready to defend it if need be.


T.Rapier May 9, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I heard on the news today that congress was going to rename the Dollar as the Peso if it dropped any lower .

Just Kidding !


@AZbeerPresident August 31, 2011 at 10:06 pm

the sand dollar has passed the US dollar in value :-p


epic survival June 10, 2011 at 7:48 pm

cash is good to after an emergency cause you might need to buy food if your home is destroyed


Michael May 25, 2012 at 11:36 pm

How much cash are people putting in their BOBs?


lonely survivor January 26, 2013 at 8:35 am

I am somebody who doesnt has money or firearms in a survival suitation.
in my city there are no thugs and nobody with a firearm and the people would help each other.


Crystal March 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm

In addition to cash I chose a recognized denomination of gold coins. 1. People may or may not realize that they are not entirely made of gold. 2. People are less likely to question the fact that they actually contain some amount of real gold if they are a recognized denomination. 3. Paper cash can fail misserably, but people feel that gold will always be a valuable commodity. But of course it is heavy.


chuckles July 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm

this never works


tacoma_lift_kit August 15, 2013 at 10:23 am

Good article. Hit the hills and grow your own.


Kev_B September 20, 2013 at 6:43 pm

We'll…when SHTF, becomes TEOTWAWKI…money burns…literally…and well!


comd October 15, 2013 at 11:02 pm

nice blog


dave November 28, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Well, if you are interested in holding cash, hold survival junk silver. It can be used as cash if absolutely needed, but more likely, when no one cares about cash you still have silver. They explain junk silver well here…. http://www.upstatecoins.com/silver-bullion/silver…


johnmook December 18, 2013 at 1:27 am

It will be very interesting for the people who will attend. It is also useful especially about social media, people can get information because of this. Thanks for sharing. free home designer


Doug Davidson May 17, 2014 at 4:21 am

keep in mind whatever the government mints or prints, it owns and can recall AT FACE FALUE as FDR did in 1931. And if we go into hyperinflation, your paper dollars will become just pretty (worthless) paper. Look into an ingenious tradeable,barterable option: 1 gram increments of pure gold 24 karat gold here: http://www.karatbars.com/landing/?s=dougdavidson


sp00nf3d April 20, 2011 at 2:47 am

I'm quite a fan of the barter knife, its been happening for the history of knives, pockets, and barter. on of my faves is the frost mora $10-15. Plus its a great basic knife in SS, carbon, or with a bright colored handle/sheath.


Chris July 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Or coin shot shotgun load. =)


guest December 9, 2012 at 11:05 am

You should stock precious metal so you still have some assets AFTER the huge depression. After the depression is over I want to have something besides my chickens, garden and guns. I have worked too hard all my life to see my entire life savings go down the drain in the stock market. After the depression I will still have the land I have purchased (in cash) and the precious metals I have cached.
If you by precious metals DO NOT store them in some depository! You will never see them again when times get tough. They will either be stolen by crooks or the government will find a way to confiscate them. Take delivery of your precious metals and cache them.
When times are very hard I want to be able to dig up a few silver eagles and have the dentist perform that root canal that is killing me!


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