Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Segregated My Emergency Cash and Credit Card

My recent "almost" dine-n-dash experience made me wonder whether I need to keep an emergency credit card and a stash of cash outside of my wallet.

Which brings me to the topic of what's IN my wallet?

$92 in cash...

ATM cards, 7 credit cards, Driver's License, Telephone Card, Costco card, Supermarket Club/Store Club cards, Library Cards, Gift Cards (McD's and Coffee Bean).

Wow. I didn't realize my wallet has more plastic than a Playboy centerfold! :-P

With respect to my cash, I'm trying to take the advice of the late Dr. Randy Pausch, who gave one of the most inspirational lectures at Carnegie Mellon University. In his book, The Last Lecture, Dr. Pausch advised his kids to carry $200 in cash. It's enough to cover most emergencies and not enough to devastate financially if lost or stolen. I generally set aside $20 to use, and hide the remainder. I try to keep different denominations of cash (since it doesn't help to have a Benjamin when you need to tip someone) and I'm slowly working my way up to the $200 figure.

I've been pretty good about not spending my cash, since I purchase most of my stuff with a rewards credit card. But in the past, I used to origami my cash as a deterrent to spending. Ha ha.

Looking at all of my credit cards, it's no wonder I was so up to my eyeballs in credit card debt until only a couple of months ago. (I thankfully no longer carry a balance from month-to-month.) Most of my credit cards are "dormant." I try to use each of my Mastercards at least once a month to pay for stuff like my cell phone, cable and insurance bills. My department store cards may get used once or twice a year. (But I don't really care about my department store cards since I have such a low limit on those cards anyways.)

I've decided it's probably a good idea to keep my emergency stash of cash and credit card away from my wallet. I've put $70 of emergency cash and one "dormant" cc into a small coin purse. I've also included my most recently expired driver's license, just in case. It's expired but it's better than nothing when you don't have your wallet, right?


Ms. MoneyChat said...

hey shtink ... what's up w/the phone card?

Shtinkykat said...

used to use my pre-paid calling card to make long distance calls but I don't use it anymore since I got my VoIP. It sometimes comes in handy when I make international calls, though. And you never know when you might forget your cell phone!

sbinzel said...

I only carry 2 cc's in my wallet. One for gas and one for everything else (which get paid in full every month). I keep a cc at home that I only use for internet purchases...and our family has a cc that is only used for auto-billed items (ie newspaper)

My point? Take all those extra cards out of your wallet except your main card. That way if your wallet is lost/stolen, it's not as much of a pain to notify/replace everything (and then you have back up cards at home that you can use while you wait for the replacement cards to show up).

Miss M said...

My wallet has the same amount of plastic, less cash. I almost never have more than $20 on me, though I think we should stash some money in the house as our just in case.

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