What to Do With Your Federal Reserve Notes In a Survival Situation

by | Jan 19, 2012 | Entertainment | 107 comments


For those excepting a hyper-inflationary destruction of the US dollar at some point in the future, you might consider hanging on to your US dollars – at least some of them. There may still be a use for them post-collapse, as highlighted in the following real-life survival story:

A snowshoer who was lost in a blizzard for two days on Washington state’s Mount Rainier said he stayed alive by digging out a snow tunnel and burning the dollar bills for warmth.

Yong Chun Kim, 66, of Tacoma, said he carried a lighter and other emergency supplies and burned personal items: extra socks, Band-Aid, toothbrush, packaging, and lastly $1 and $5 bills from his wallet.

Kim, who served in the South Korean military in the Vietnam War, told KOMO-TV in Seattle that skills he learned as a soldier helped him survive. He said he wasn’t scared. He kept waiting for the sounds of the helicopter — though severe weather conditions prevented park officials from using one to search for Kim.

“I’m a lucky man, a really lucky man,” he said in an interview Tuesday afternoon from his home.

With temperatures in the teens and winds whipping on the mountain, Kim said he kept walking and moving to stay warm. He took cover in several tree wells — depressions in snow that forms around a tree — and slept standing for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.

He initially made a shelter near a big rock and tried to stay warm. He tried to keep walking, but at times “the snow was so deep, I couldn’t breathe.”

And even as he burned his personal items to say warm, the last $6 going up in flames Sunday night, he said: “I worried because it’s a national park. You’re not supposed to have a fire. … I’m worried about that but I want to (stay) alive.”

Money made for the best fire, he said, laughing. Nylon socks and packaging, not so great.

“He was determined,” An said. “He kept saying, he is not going to die unless God thinks he should. All he did was try to survive.”

Source: ABS News via AP

US Dollars…an excellent kindling substitute, recommended by a true survivor.

Additionally, if you ever find yourself out of Charmin, the use of dollars as toilet paper has been highly recommended by survivalists and economic analysts alike:

So, if the worst happens, perhaps it’s not such a bad idea to stock some of those crisp $10 bills in a #10 can, because you just never know.

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    1. SmokyMtnLady

      Using it for wallpaper would be nice…

      • JM in Denver

        Thousand dollar bills in the near future?

        • Redneck2

          Sort of like pre-euro Italian money? Italy was to the point that its “lower” denomination cash was at about 10,000 lira.

        • Chipper

          My suggestion: hedge.

          We might have hyperinflation, we might not. I think it is equally likely that all electronic money will simply go “poof” one day. On that day, your paper money will still buy things, and in fact will be worth more due to extreme scarcity, not less.

          So I say hedge. Have some cash, some gold, some silver, some copper and nickel (nickels are 75% CU 25% NI), some quarters, at least a few weeks of preps, etc. And don’t liquidate all your paper accounts. There is always the tiny chance they will retain some value after the crash.

        • Chumbawamba

          When you’re out of the Charmin, reach for the Chairman.

      • Odd Questioner

        Well, it is made of linen.

        Believe it or not, even in a true TEOTWAWKI situation, there will likely be some folks dumb enough to take the things.

        Hyperinflation aside, if you’re trying to bug out of town in most other situations and are stuck with being unarmed, it can be useful if you’re confronted: You take the cash and throw it to the ground (or the perp) as a distraction while you make your getaway. People (esp. criminals) are so tuned by their environment to see money flapping in the breeze and paying attention to that, so it would work in most cases.

        Post-collapse, it might even be used temporarily as a medium of exchange until something better comes along. I wouldn’t bet on it, but it is possible.

      • Hammerun

        It sounds like a great time to pay off an underwater mortgage. Just collect a wheelbarrow full of them and take them into your mortgage holder and say here, give me my deed.

        • AZ Ready

          Sounds great to me! Can’t wait to see the expression on my ex’s face when I show up with a wheelbarrow full of worhtless paper and pay off my second mortgage that she has on my house.

    2. SmokinOkie

      will i ever get to be 1st? i’m starting to develop a lower case complex. next thing to go will probably be my punctuation skills-/?…:;””‘{

      • SmokinOkie

        old vulcan proverb says: he who tarries on the keyboard of life shall be reduced to sloppy seconds in the universal realm of comment-hood…?/::”’&#@

        • Anonymous

          Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy: Dammit, man! I’m a doctor, not a physicist!

          • SmokinOkie

            And a fine sawbones he was. Best tri-corder man in the whole sick bay. Just make sure he’s sober before the operation.
            ‘Will it hurt, doctor?’
            “I doubt it. I never feel a thing.”

        • Anonymous

          James T. Kirk: [on Spock] Who was that pointy-eared bastard?
          Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy: I don’t know, but I like him.

      • Burt the Brit

        I have noticed commenting on being first, if you are first gets lots of red thumbs lol

        Take care

        • Anonymous

          So does being chicken of the sea and getting off the boat first. He fell, right… Never run up & down the stairs of AF1.

        • Anonymous

          And it is totally unlikely ever to be me….too much of a time difference.

      • SmokyMtnLady

        Hey Smokie…Jealous much?? LOL!! BTW,Is there a prize for first??

        • SmokinOkie

          Bragging rights are yours for today! 🙂

          • SmokyMtnLady

            Awww….you’re such a gentleman! 🙂 You’ll be No. 1 one day…I hear it’s better than No.2…LOL!!

    3. butch

      Mushie is right…. cherrio

    4. Newton

      Holy Shit. Literally! This is what I have been saying all along. Too funny. Thanks for the laugh this morning. This picture should be given to anyone wondering what is happening to our country and the economy. And if they tell you it’s okay to cheapen your currency in this way, then you know who’s been trying to hoodwink and defraud you all along. Physics, or even economics, my dear Watson, has nothing to do with it! 🙂

    5. Havok

      I love that…crisp $10 bills.
      Still, I kinda want to wipe my ass with them but I can trade them in for better paper for that job, for now…..

      • blackriflewarrior

        Run ’em through the wash machine a few times first to soften them up. If you never had a paper cut on your Obama…well you just haven’t lived!

      • Son of Mushroom

        This is why I store crisp ten dollar bills. Everyone knows that you can’t wipe your butt with gold or silver.

        Dad is always right.

      • laura m.

        Havok: I watch for and clip the Cottonelle T.P. ads that works better than paper money. Right now, I have a stack of $20’s $50’s and 100’s. Since there are so many ignorant sheeple, paper money may work just fine post collapse.

    6. Burt the Brit

      Be positive, if your countrymen are as stupid or as greedy as mine you WILL find someone who takes them off your hands so that they will be rich “when everything gets back to normal”

      Failing that I hear that origami is a relaxing hobby, and folding the paper may make them burn longer…you know, like bunching up dried grass instead of throwing it loose onto the fire.

      We have just been told AGAIN that inflation has dropped.

      I would love to know what colour the sky is in their world

      Take care

    7. Silver Bean

      toilet paper and nose blowing

    8. Burt the Brit

      Fuses for defensive molotov cocktails?


        I like !!!!!!

    9. Tom

      Answer: Origami-the Japenese art of folding paper.

      • SmokinOkie

        New American paper folding art: Obamagami.
        Here, fold this one into some hope. Now watch it change.

        • Tom

          You bastard, I like it.

        • RICH99

          My GPS warns me not to go there.

        • Burt the Brit

          Love it lol

    10. blackriflewarrior

      There are plenty of idiots who would take money in a crash situation. A lot of brain-dead sheep are so dyed in the wool about money they get mahogany if they find a dollar bill on the floor. Us smart folks are converting our paper into metals and food. Every time I drive by a McDonalds or a wally world and see the lot packed with cars I think to myself, if this is a cross section of the mentality of people in this country, we are in deep kimshee. Last time I was in wally world was to go to the mens jon and write graffiti on the stalls about the DHS and wal-mart putting in tv screens to run the looped message from Janet, the carpet muncher, Nappy. My local gun shop has .22 bricks of ammo on sale today, gonna pick up some and get a Ceiner kit to convert one of my ARs to .22. I feel bad for the suckers at the gun shop…trading awesome weapons for toilet paper. Who says this isn’t still a great country?

      • B

        True that BRW. After the fact and even after EVERYONE realizes the dollar is worthless we will likely still be able to barter with paper money with those who believe it will all work out and they’ll be RICH when everything settles down. (insert shaking head here) It is sad but true.

    11. formerfinancer

      When iwas younger i was into cocaine .We would only snort it useing fresh new 100 dollar bills .I got out of it 20 years ago but my other friends(one is a a president of a small bank) still does it .But when i saw him last at a social function a few months ago,He wasnt useing 1000 dollar bills but a small plastic straw .I asked him what is that about? He turned to me with a smile and said its the economy you know .

      • Highspeedloafer

        Great Video! Thanks for sharing.

    12. DRD5508

      An item for prepping that I don’t see people talking about: newspapers. They have a variety of uses. Don’t throw them away or turn in for recycle. Granted, storage space is required. Newspaper usage (to name a few); roll em into a fire log (tightly), packaging, fire starter, TP, stuffing, cleaning, and arts-n-crafts.

      • Burt the Brit


        A pile by the back door soaks up the water from boots a treat. Saves a hell of a lot of mess on the floor.

        • commodester

          A pile of dog shit on the back porch will discourage you from using that door and save a hell of a lot of mess on the floor, but you have to be looking out where you’re going or you’ll step in it anyhow!

      • JRS

        DRD..Good idea.Trouble for me is I don’t waste my money on them anymore.I hope my 10 year old pile don’t run out.Off topic, but I saw that Canada banned Fox News from broadcasting there since they have a law against lying in the media.Truth.

        • Burt the Brit

          Jrs…me buy them…when people can’t wait to throw them away? , I get given them by the rest of the family that still feel they can afford to waste money on what is usually lies anyway.

          Take care

      • Dante

        Crumple them up and stuff them into wet boots, dries ’em faster than just about anything else.

        • commodester

          Also, they make great ass wipe material provided you use care not to get the ink on you hands.

    13. Sandy

      He was worried about starting a fire because it was a national park? In a blizzard, really?

      • Comenius

        At 66, he wouldn’t want to spend the rest of his life in a pen; after all he spent 3 years in the ‘Nam.

        (SK compulsive military service was for 3 years at that time. After leftists won elections, it was shortened to 20 months now).

    14. Prepared Pastor

      After losing a motor home years ago because the seller accepted my deposit then sold it out from under me before the bank opened, I try to keep $2,000-$3,000 in $20s. Having cash to flash has helped me negotiate lower prices on used items and even allowed me to close on a great Craigslist deal on a dual sport motorcycle which was listed on a Sunday.

      I get a text anytime the markets change rapidly one way or another (even gold which trades overnight) so I am hoping to make it to Sam’s Club or at least the gas station to top off both tanks and buy all the grill propane tanks. If not, I have more than enough already and the stash has already paid for itself in negotiations.

    15. geo-lithic

      USE the green stuff now to buy stuff you need when the green stuff won’t work.

      • kevin

        I spent all my “green stuff” 3 or 4 years ago like that, when I thought it was going to $hit,then It didn’t go to $hit, and I ran out of that “green stuff”, then I had to sell some of that damn white metal (on a dip)for some of that greenlegaltendermonopolymoneystuff that people except for gasoline. BAD ADVICE, KEEP A STASH OF “green stuf” You get alot sales people on this site, stirring the $hit to sell products, and also gov trolls to help the economy, and maybee have some of you run out and charge preps or phyzz. Buy with cash, keep some cash!

        • eeder

          Absolutlely kevin.

        • admin

          Having some green on hand is good advice…. As worthless as it is, there are millions of people and businesses that actually accept it as legal tender… A 3 to 6 month emergency stash is good practice, IMHO.

    16. Mona

      Prepared Pastor: Like you, dh and I have been filling up our propane tanks and keeping them full.

      I’m the prepper in the family, but dh likes that he will have enough of everything that he consideres essential if the shtf.

      The window is closing on many prep items. Inflation has taken quite a few items off the list in our home.

      But it doesn’t stop me from prepping what I can when ever I can.

      Prepping isn’t so much about buying all the preps you need. It’s more about utilizing what preps you do have when the shtf, and the ability to be flexable in your future.

      God bless and keep on prepping.

      • Prepared Pastor

        Mona: I find so many deals on propane tanks on Craigslist that I only buy the 100 pounders. I use them at my cabin for my kitchen stove/oven and instant hot water heater so I don’t have to fire the wood stove. Sometimes will give you an grill for free and you can trash the grill and keep the tank. If I buy an entire outdoor rack at a convenience store that would give me at least another year.

      • DRD5508

        Mona, truth and wisdom in lines 3 and 5. Keep the faith sis and thank you for your thoughts and input.

    17. Gods Creation

      Far better to buy a Bic lighter with it than to keep it for firewood.

      • commodester

        yes, but then you won’t have any firewood to light with the bic!

    18. Barn Cat

      You could also keep them as future gag gifts. I sent my dad some German hyperinflation money once in a birthday card.

    19. Daniel

      Toilet paper sounds reasonable and it’s renewable since it’s mostly made of cotton you could wash it and reuse it

      • commodester

        you know those depend undergarments are really great. I can put one of them on and shit in it 3 or 4 times and it still keeps my ass dry. i have them at the top of the list of preps.

    20. Beefcake

      TEOTWAWKI TP, love it!

    21. mushroom

      Thanks Mac, I feel vindicated!

      …$10 cans — crisp $10 bills …



      • Anonymous

        You’re #1!

      • kevin

        crunchy shroom!

      • kevin

        Actually you might want to fill some cans with pre-82 pennies,nickels,quarters, and “gold” pres coins. History shows when a currency is devalued, the coins are left in circulation. You might be taking the can opener to those cans, to turn those bills in for $1 bills! Vindication, and victory dances are for AFTER the $hit has flown. THEN you can say if it covered the mushroom or not.

    22. Terry W. Reed

      They also make good insulation.

    23. rachel

      unfortunatly paper accounts for less then 3 percent of total money supply. the rest is on plastic and in computer accounts. you’ll have to use that credit card to scrap your rear. in which case, we should all be used to getting our asses scraped by credit cards by now anyways.

      • commodester

        I use a sheet of 180 grit sandpaper to rough up my ass a bit and then wire brush it with alcohol.

        • HotLandingZone

          It’s so much easier if you use a sanding disk on a drill motor.

    24. iowa

      Drier lint works great to start fires. Got a couple gallon zip lok bags full. Grab a book of matches every visit to the station.

    25. Comenius

      I did actually ‘read’ Gone with the Wind in the book form. (curiously I never saw the movie)

      It is, actually, quite a good book for preparation, if you take away the mushy parts.

      Scarlett is a no-nonsense survivalist who does what she can to thrive in changing circumstances.

      That aside, in that book, around the time of the fall of Atlanta, she still pays Confederate dollar to buy foodstuff, since Union money was illegal and gold and silver had been all taken to pay for weaponry.

      The state of the Conf dollar was such that sometimes counterfeit Conf dollars were stamped as ‘real’ money, and were put back into circulation.

      Still, until the fall of Atlanta made the Conf dollar completely worthless in the area covered by the book, people used it as money, no matter how bad it might have been.

      Similar things happened on the last day of KMT in China; until the commies stormed over Nanking, people used the rapidly inflating KMT money as legal currency.

      The greenback will outlive the Republic. It is still recognized in Russia and virtually all other nations on earth (even in North Korea!), and there is simply no viable alternative for now.

    26. Joerocker

      Trade your FRN’s for Gold and Silver physical !
      as you need , trade your Gold and Silver physical into whatever is the current currency is when you need to.

      Ron Paul 2012

      • commodester

        don’t listen to ron paul. everyone knows he’s nuts!!

    27. Mushroom


      Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery……..but i don’t really need it.

      Can’t you block the imposter mushroom.

      Thanx in advance

      Mushroom #1

      • RICH99

        R U the real #1?

        • mushroom

          Cheap imitation…

          …#10 cans — crisp $10 bills…



      • GMAFB

        Will the real piece of Shitake please stand up! GMAFB

        • RWS III

          He’s not a shitake the imposter in a morel :-0

          • commodester

            what’s moral about a shit cake?

      • kevin

        “ignorance breeds imitation”- neil peart

        • commodester

          “garbage cans breed flies” – William Snakeshit

    28. Joshua10

      Burning worthless devalued currency to stay warm is not a bad idea when the SHTF! 8 out of 10 Weimar Republic hyper-inflation survivors can’t be wrong.

    29. Frosty21

      #10 can filled with crisp $10 Bills.That what I’m talking about.

    30. Plisken

      What did Spock find in Kirk’s toilet?

      Captain’s Log.

      It seems no matter what the situation,
      Money still burns.

      • Ben Dover

        What does the starship Enterprise have in common with a piece of toilet paper?

        They both circle around Uranus wiping out Klingons.

    31. FightNGear

      I wonder about the mortgage payoff. Will banks continue to take dollars at 1=1 rate (dollar accepted for dollar owed) after a huge hyperinflation? I know the bill says it is legal tender, but what if the bank says no we won’t take it? In a SHTF scenario do we need to make the payoff? Do we need the bank’s signoff on the deed? Will the debts be due after the collapse and financial reorganization, or will the land belong to the tenant? Interesting thoughts indeed.

      • Merree

        One of the quotes from German hyperinflation was from a woman who went out into the country to trade for food. She asked the farmer what they were doing with all the money they were getting for food and he told her, “paying off our mortgages”.

    32. REB

      Anybody else but me asking this question?….for being so worthless and there being so many in print(FRN) why in the blue blazes are they so hard to accumulate??? 🙂

    33. GrayFoxGreen

      Greeting Everyone!
      I agree that the buck still has some life in it yet…
      When thousand dollar bills start to make a showing,all bets will be off.Personally,I expect that the banks will close someday in the near future and just like Mexico,we’ll have pennies on the dollar in value.At least checking account cash(by law they must so far keep those funds “on Hand”)can’t be ruined by Bank of Americka’s recent deposit of derivatives based notes to the tune of billions(almost capitalized that one!)into FDIC insured accounts.The fallout from that one would reduce the available fund for everyone else’s savings to almost zero.Just like the friendly local banker did to my grandfather back in the 1930’s.It only took them eighty years to pay off Congress enough to let them ruin everyone else’s day again.
      But I digress into the disgusting past…
      Best to All
      Dried mixed beans in plastic bags(think 1,5 and 10# amounts) could make a good exchange medium.And the resulting gas would keep even the most determined predators at bay.

    34. tgr1775

      Soylent Green is made of people!

    35. StevenKY

      A copy of the KORAN should be in everyone’s survival pack. Useful as toilet paper and can also burn the pages to stay warm.

      • ninaorket

        naw… use the king james holy bible… for doo doo paper… it’s so holy and full of bullsheeit stories… doo doo wont even stick to it… perfect for fire starting and wiping yur butt @stevenkyjelly.

      • James Woroble Jr

        Fully aware of the probable shortage of the soft stuff. So my choice was to stock up on Torah rolls, being fully cognizant of WHO is totally responsible for the horrendous devastation and deprivation I will be experiencing. If I could find even ONE Muslim bankster among the tyrannical pirate(Z) that got us here over the decades, I may have considered your choice. But, alas…

    36. TheCurtster

      For all who say the FRN’s are worthless, please send them to me and I will dispose of them for you… no charge!

    37. ninaorket

      have a 3 month supply of small bill us dollar cash locked up hidden at home to cover all bills and emergency meds, medical… the rest should be in pm’s 1 ounce bars, solid gold 24k jewelry for barter… anything else is gone come shtf/ martial law day… if you can’t physically touch it… it’s gone.

    38. Metz

      Kinda hard to burn digital money.

    39. iamdlogan

      Ever tried to used a dollar bill for toilet paper, forget it…it is worthless…better to use a digit and wash it than try to wipe with money…

    40. JR

      “… I worried because it’s a national park. You’re not supposed to have a fire.”

      WHAT??????????? Is this the same country that not THAT long ago Kit Carson, John Coulter, Lewis & Clark, etc wandered? I know these aren’t similar times, but have we become THAT “pussified????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

      • James Woroble Jr

        OH, YEAH!

        To the point that in New York City it has become fashionable and ‘politically correct’ for ‘sophisticated’ males (Metro-sexuals) to refer to their penis as a four inch clitoris!

        You see, its all part of self-interest social engineering… sissies don’t storm up marble stairs and bust down bronze doors with weapons and rope, and drag out arrogant, thieving tyrants to do the ‘air jig’.

        Humphrey Bogart would, but Rue Paul certainly won’t.

    41. Jonze

      If I was going out alone, mushing around in multiple feet of snow I would be bringing some tinder and fuel along just in case. Cardboard is very light… cut some into squares and stow it in a ZipLoc baggy. Split some kindling and stow a few sticks or lash them to your pack.

    42. James Woroble Jr

      For those guessing that hyper-inflation will get them out of debt, guess again.

      Plans are already underway for a new US currency, that will be exchanged for a high ratio of the present currency. All debts will be payable in the new currency. Did you really think these ingenious demonic tyrants were going to be so stupid as to let you serfs off the hook of indentured servitude?

      Gold and silver will be critical as a store of wealth, but will have severe liquidity drawbacks as a common medium of exchange, at least in the initial stages of economic collapse. Try taking a silver coin to the supermarket or gas station for payment. You’ll experience this point firsthand. Yet holding today’s currency has the very great risk of having its value hyper-inflated into oblivion. There does seem to be a solution to this dilemma.

      In my study of monetary inflation throughout history, I came across a rather interesting anomaly regarding the issuance of new currency. The vast amount of a nation’s currency is of course in paper bills. Metal coins represent a minute fraction of this amount.

      The recalling, destruction, printing and distribution of paper bills is cheap. The re-minting minting of coins, representing an insignificant amount of the total currency in circulation, is very expensive and problematic.

      Due to this situation, coins are left retaining their value of the new currency.


    43. Tina

      Well if this is all that the FRN’s are good for then maybe we should all invest in a bunch of $1 bills instead of $10 bills. That way we would 10 times more to burn when the going gets tough and we are freezing to death…..LOL…just a thought.

    44. wriv

      why would anyone want anything to do with these idiots? after everything that has happened, people really are too self-centered & ignorant to just get rid of that mess. keep their frns? get rid of that shit immediately.

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