One Smart Idea: Keep Emergency Cash in Your Phone Case

updated Mar 11, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Cash ain’t king anymore. Most people would rather keep a slim debit card in their wallet than a wad of dead presidents. But what do you do when you mosey up to the valet, taxi driver, farmer’s market or food truck and see that ubiquitous “cash only” sign?

Even if you’ve transitioned to a cash-free lifestyle, there are still some moments where you’ll wish you had an extra $20 with you. To be ready for cash “emergencies” — craving a taco from that food truck down the street is an emergency, OK? — keep a spare $20, $10 or $5 bill sandwiched between the back of your phone and its case.

Lifehacker featured this tip from Reddit user lunkavitch who suggested it as a way to stay cool if you lose or misplace your wallet and need some cash to get home or grab a meal. But it’s also a great idea for debit-card-only folks who might find themselves in need of paper bill in a crunch. You carry your phone everywhere, so it means you’ll always have a bit of cash in a pinch.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Alternatively, you could also invest in a phone case that doubles as a wallet to keep some spare cash around. Check out this post for several phone/wallet options for every style.

We know what you’re thinking: What if you lose your phone?! The idea is to keep only small-ish amount — small enough to spare, but large enough to get you out of a pickle. If your $200 phone is lost or stolen, will you miss the extra $20? How about $10? It might be worth risking the small loss to have the peace of mind of knowing you have cash when you need it.

No phone case? No problem. Here are a few more places you can stash away emergency cash in your gear or apartment:

• Inside an old remote.
• Between the pages of an unread book on the bookshelf.
• Inside a zippered pocket of your coat.
Inside a novelty “safe.”
• A hidden storage compartment in a desk, cabinet or table.
• Taped to the bottom of the desk or coffee table.
• In the freezer.

(Images: 1. Lifehacker, 2. Speck products)