It takes a few days for even the most devastating crisis to fully set in. No one wants to believe this is the New Normal. Instead, people will do their best to hold onto the trappings of civilization. During this brief transitional period, you have an opportunity to transform some parts of your old life into useful parts in the new one.
For example, while you still have electricity and communications systems, take out the largest cash advance possible on your credit card. People understandably flinch at the idea of sinking into debt. If you think there’s a reasonable chance of recovery, you’ll have your entire life to pay it off. If things are truly grim, use that cash to invest in your future.
Also, keep in mind you’re not going to be able to get as far into potential debt as you think. Most ATM’s have a maximum $500 per day withdrawal limit. Most banks have a maximum $5,000 cash withdrawal limit for checking or savings accounts. The reality is, you probably won’t be able to get to all your money.
This is why people still stash cash in secret places around their homes in case of emergency. Your grandparents aren’t crazy. They lived through banks shutting their doors and refusing to hand over people’s money.
In a true crisis, cash will only have value for a limited period of time, so your next move is to visit the grocery, hardware store, and pawn shop for food, sundries, and guns. Keep using your credit and debit cards for as long as possible, wherever they’re willing to take them. Save the cash for in-person transactions.