Always Keep Cash at Home as your Emergency Stash

Updated: July 20, 2021

A couple of months ago from the time I’m writing this, two of the biggest banks in the country, BPI, and BDO, experienced prolonged downtime.

Their online banking was down, a lot of ATMs were offline, and the only way to withdraw money from your account is to transact over the counter from your home branch.

A lot of people expressed their disappointments, irritation, and anger over these banks on social media. A handful even went as far as blaming the corruption in the government for the incident.

But here’s the thing… Banks will go offline, whether you like it or not.


This may be caused by internal network problems, or worse, due to circumstances beyond their control such as natural calamities.

In fact, as I’m writing this article… personal banking on both websites is currently down while strong gusts of wind and rain are ravaging outside due to a typhoon.

And as expected, complaints about not being able to withdraw money or do online transactions are all over social media. Personally, such rants are unnecessary because the solution is so simple…

Always keep cash at home as your emergency stash. Avoid anxiety, stress, and worry by simply having money in your house for use in such emergencies.

How much should you keep?

Five days’ worth of your household’s daily expenses.

Why? Because that’s enough for you to survive our country’s longest weekends – Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday, December 24 (on a Thursday) until December 27, December 30 (on a Thursday) until January 2.

“But I have bills to pay!”

This is not a valid excuse because it means you have the habit of waiting for the due date before paying your bills.

Don’t wait for the due date, instead pay your bills as soon as you receive them.

Again, this is a great way to avoid unnecessary stress because when you immediately pay your bills, you’ll have one less obligation to remember and worry about for the rest of the month.

Furthermore, billing statements often come one or two weeks before the due date, so even if banks are offline when you receive them, you will have enough time to pay them.

That’s it for today’s personal finance advice. I’m posting this now before my internet connection goes offline due to the typhoon outside.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy.
Photo credit: z0


  1. Great tip, Fitz! Re: bills, as soon as I have the budget to pay them, I pay them and don’t wait for the due date. It’s more convenient and systematic for me, that way. 🙂

  2. We can hope the systems banks are tied into will improve over time. I must say I have never seen ATMs and banks in other countries off-line as much as I do here the Philippines. Perhaps it is growing pains in the economy? I think those with potentially larger emergencies may want to plan beyond the 5 days worth of cash for survival needs. I had to rush my beautiful bride to a hospital when she collapsed. The same could well happen again due to her medical issues. She was admitted, tests done and a diagnosis given. The admissions office then demanded P15,000 down payment toward her estimated length of stay and further treatment. I am not sure everyone carriers that much pocket money around just in case.

  3. Well, here we are just about one year after my post above. I do not like to be reactionary, however it is time to share again the lesson we learned through the COVID-19 emergency of early to mid 2020 and the ensuing lock-down. We were super blessed in that through most of the crisis, we wanted for nothing and we avoided any sickness. My beautiful Bride still had a flow of academic writing assignments long past her normal work season. The trouble began after she used her money to pay for certain regular expenses and then went to withdraw money at an ATM using my foreign card. NO GO !!! My card also failed to function at the local stores where we regularly shop for groceries etc. The store clerks passed on the rumor that “foreign cards are shut off to prevent foreigners from hoarding cash.”

    It turns out, that was close to the truth. A move with good intentions by the government, I think all of the consequences were not coincided. We had relatives, including one government employee with ZERO income through most of the crisis that truly need some financial help to “get by.” What a horrid feeling to know we have money to pay bills, purchase food and help others only to be denied access to those funds. As the crisis progressed, we were in contact with the bank manager where we have our local business accounts (three local business ventures, all in a holding pattern and waiting to reopen).

    The manager was kind enough to let us know witch ATMs will be reloaded and when, as well as what days my foreign card will function in the machines. With the long term food storage we keep for emergencies and the local vendors delivering all manner of fresh seafood, meats, eggs and veggies, we were OK. I “feel” for those foreigners with no friend at the bank!!! Please remember that most foreign tourists bailed out early on and went home. The Philippines is my home, I have a permanent resident visa, I am married to a Filipino and we have family here we desperately wanted to help and we did but it was a struggle to do so.

    So, my lesson? As much as I dislike seeing un-invested cash sitting around and earning nothing, I will surely build our cash reserves much larger in the future to help smooth out a crisis situation where we may not be able to access cash for days or as in our case, several weeks at a time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *