I was reading a recent post over at Jim’s Blueprint for Financial Prosperity site that asked readers how much cash they typically carry, and with the abundance of credit and debit cards, I wasn’t surprised to see that most of the responses dealt with having very little, or no cash at all. And in many ways, that makes sense. With all of the cash back and rewards available, not to mention the security that can be had by using plastic, it is a very effective way to buy things without the need for cash.
Personally, I keep a little bit of cash on me for a few reasons. First, our cafeteria here where I work only accepts cash. Since I eat lunch here almost every day because it’s incredibly cheap, I try to have cash on me so I don’t have to go out to grab something, which would undoubtedly cost more. The other reason is in case of the unplanned need for money or situation where a credit or debit card may not be an option. Picking up some fresh produce at the corner produce stand, or going to buy something or needing gas only to find out that the store’s credit card machine is down.
Since part of this use for cash is planned and set aside for lunch, and the other reasons are quite infrequent, I tend to not carry more than $40 on me. There is enough to get me out of a jam in the event I need the cash, and not enough that would be devastating if I was to lose it or have it stolen. Even so, I think I’ve found a reason why it might be a good idea for everyone to keep at least $30 on them.
May Pays Attacker $30 to Stop Stabbing Him
Ever find yourself getting into a situation where someone starts viciously stabbing you and wish you could make it stop? Well, according to this story, the going rate to stop a stabbing appears to be $30.
One of the men pulled out a knife, chased the other down and began stabbing him, police wrote. The victim suffered two “very deep” cuts in his arm and then gave the man $30 “to quit cutting him,” police wrote.
Who knows, giving up $30 may have saved his life. Would the attacker have stopped the stabbing if you offered to give him a credit or debit card, knowing that he would need your PIN to get cash, or you could call and report the card stolen? Or is he going to pause the vicious beating so that you can write out a check? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t want to find out.
All jokes aside, this brings up an interesting point. It can be a dangerous world out there, and if a criminal is looking for money, what lengths would he go to if he couldn’t get any from you? It might be just your casual city mugger looking for a few bucks, but what happens when this guy has a bad day and after stealing a dozen wallets but earning $0 because nobody carries cash, who’s to say he won’t flip out and take it out on you when he finds you also don’t have any cash?
Is it a bit far-fetched? Sure. But if you think about it, if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, having a mere twenty or thirty bucks on you could mean the difference between life and death. I don’t know, I don’t spend a lot of time walking the city streets or getting into fights, but maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to keep a few bucks on me as a cheap insurance policy for that very rare chance I find myself in that situation.
Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle
My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.