Experts always recommend having an emergency fund. This helps in many situations where financial resources are needed spontaneously. However, this doesn't just apply to savings at home or in the bank account. The cash in your wallet can be just as important.

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Unlike the question of what size your emergency fund should be in general or how much cash you should have at home, there is no specific expert recommendation on the optimal amount of money to carry. This is because, among other things, the amount of money to carry in an emergency can of course vary depending on your personal situation and the specific conditions of your location.

As a general rule, you should have enough money to cover major expenses like food, transportation, and supplies for a few days. When determining an appropriate amount of cash, it is helpful to consider several factors.

Factors that influence daily expenses:

  1. Daily expenses : Think about how much money you normally need for daily expenses. A good starting point might be to carry enough cash for two or three days.
  2. Local conditions : Some regions and cities require cash more frequently than others, especially if credit cards are not widely accepted. Consider accepting cash and cards where you live or travel.
  3. Personal security : Carrying large amounts of cash can pose a security risk. Weigh the need to have enough money with you against the risk of losing it if it is stolen.
  4. Transport mode : If you travel frequently on public transportation, which may not accept cards, you should have enough cash for tickets.
  5. Emergency Preparedness : Consider whether you have quick access to additional funds in an emergency, for example through ATMs or digital payment methods. If this is difficult for you, it may make sense to carry a little extra cash with you.

Having that emergency fund is always useful

It is also important to keep in mind that there may be various situations where the usual card payment is suddenly no longer possible. This may mainly be due to technical circumstances, which often occur unexpectedly and can last for a long time.

When cash becomes the only payment method available:

  1. Power outages : If a power outage occurs, electronic payment systems, such as credit card readers or ATMs, may be temporarily out of service. In such cases, cash is often the only option for making payments.
  2. System failures in banks : Technical issues or system maintenance may cause banking systems to be temporarily unavailable, making the use of cards or online banking impossible.
  3. Natural disasters : Floods, storms, downed trees, and other natural disasters can cause extensive damage to infrastructure, including networks necessary for electronic payments.
  4. Cyber ​​attacks : Attacks on the banking system or individual banks can paralyze their systems and limit or block access to electronic media.

Depending on the factors and possible circumstances mentioned, a practical amount of cash or “mobile” emergency fund could range between 50 and 200 euros. If you don't like carrying too much with you, you should be able to get by with the smaller amount for a short time and without serious exceptional situations.

Sources: own research.

This article was created using machine-assisted (AI) technology and was carefully reviewed by the editorial team before publication.

By Dana Neumann

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