What do you do when banks close?

Our small town has seen all the local banks go under except one. All changed hands literally overnight with the SWOT-style efficiency of the federal banking folks. You could use the ATM the day before the takeover, and the day after the takeover. No problem. NPR’s Planet Money team did a great story on the nuts and bolts of this.

But what would you do in a short-term emergency if you could *not* get cash out of your bank’s ATM? Or any other ATM in your town? And the emergency made it such that the bank employees could not get to work, so you could not even go inside the branch to write yourself a check?

You might consider an addition to your go bags of a small bundle of cash to use in an emergency. But if you do, it might not be wise to have that cash sitting with the rest of your go bags in your garage. Our solution is to bury it on our property where it can quickly be accessed but is not findable by a burglar. We don’t keep cash or anything near it’s equivalent in our house for security reasons. But with this small amount of emergency cash, we’ve got enough to get by for a few days on the road, assuming the ATMs are not working.

Using a sealed plastic pipe (not metal, think metal detectors), we’ve kept cash on hand this way for years, safely and discreetly. This year I finally got smart and transitioned from a sealed pipe that had to be cut open to one that has a plunger style rubber gasket for waterproofing that can be opened without destroying the pipe. Add a few packs of oxygen absorbers and your cash will stay dry and mold-free.