How do you deal with finding yourself stranded at night with no money

About a year ago, I was in a town about 75 miles away from home, noticed I had less than a quarter of a tank and the local gas stations were 10 cents cheaper on the gallon. Score! Only…my purse is not in my car. No money, no cards, no ID, yikes! I made it back to my office on fumes and a coworker loaned me $10 for gas to get home. Blessedly, my purse was sitting sedately in its appointed spot at home. now, I have a $20 stashed in the car, so at least I can get gas.

If I was well and truly stranded overnight, I would go to a hospital and sleep in a waiting room.

Keeping the reserve $20 in your wallet doesn’t seem all that smart. The whole point is what you would do if your wallet is lost or taken from you. Put the carefully folded $20 in your datebook, or your auxiliary wallet/transit pass case, or inside your smartphone case. When you’re traveling, put one of your credit cards in your carry-on luggage; leave it in your hotel room, etc.

Obligatory Saturday Night Live link:

Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson, wore a chain mail bikini. In one cup, she kept a $5, in the other, a $20, and she kept her daddy’s AmEx card tucked in a strap of the panty. I’m not sure how she kept the card from falling out.

My husband and I have kept a few emergency bills stashed in separate compartments of our wallets. That is, we have the regular spending money, and we have the stash compartment, and we try to never spend the stash money.

I’m not sure a hundred is the best option. I think a lot of convenience store/gas station type places won’t take such a large bill late at night. Five twenties might be a better way to go.

So stash a $100 bill in the car.
You may find yourself without a wallet.
You may find yourself without a car.
But usually not at the same moment.

My fist inclination would be to ask the attendant for help, perhaps other motorist there, and follow any leads from that. In a town I was stranded in without a place to stay (was on foot), and by asking around a person offered to take me and another hiker home with him and drop us off at the trail the next day. Asking for help seems to work.

I’ve seen the gas station attendant give out some food and perhaps shell out $5 for gas of her own money to help a stranded motorist at times.

I’ve also heard of some attendants who would take a piece of collateral and let you fill up (to make sure you would return to pay and recover your first born or whatever you left). Autoclub also a option, if I would have thought of that.

I keep €50 on my key ring in one of these. It’s come in handy a couple of times when I’ve gotten to the till and only then realise I’ve forgotten my wallet.

30 years ago I stopped at a gas station near my college. Back then you could fill up and then go in to pay. I hadn’t looked closely at the credit card sign to see which cards they accepted. I only had one card at the time, a Discover card and the clerk refused it. I had to leave my spare tire at the store until the banks opened the next day.

Since then I keep a ten and two twenties hidden in the car for emergencies.

The question is what to do if you are stranded with no money. Not what to do if I have to use my emergency money or spare credit card.

You pretty much have to depend on the kindness of strangers or be a thief.

I’ve done both. I was stranded with no money, away from home, middle of the night, plenty of gas to get home but with a flat tire and the spare was flat. I simply started walking and knocking on doors until a kind stranger loaned me a tire, he even came to the car and helped me change it. The next day I drove back and returned his tire. He refused money and just asked me to remember his kindness when others might need my help.

The other time I ran out of gas and had money but no phone and could not find a gas station open. I walked to a junk yard (about 1.5 miles) found a hose and a bucket and proceeded to siphon gas out of cars that had been hauled in. With a makeshift funnel out of a popcorn bucket I managed to get enough gas in my car to drive to a gas station that was open.

So, begging and stealing will get you out of most tight spots.

General consensus in answer to the OP appears to be: Don’t get stranded.

And if you need the money for gas you will certainly have the car. Or else you wouldn’t need gas. :wink:

I live by the Girl Scout motto. “Be prepared.” Only way this could ever happen to me is if I got kidnapped. And then I’ve got way bigger problems than the lack of funds.

Yes !!!

Habits were trained many moon ago.

One time in my 20s, I got paid in check for a job that I thought would be cash. I was in Baltimore and had no way to get home until I got a little cash in my pocket, so I had to wait until the banks opened. I just walked around the city all night. I went to the Greyhound station until the security guard kicked me out, hung out on a park bench on the waterfront until a cop rousted me, and then just kept walking around the city in a big circuit until I could cash my check, sometimes you just gotta suck it up and deal.

It used to be, years ago, you could walk into a hospital any time of the day or night. Now you have to go through a metal detector, show your license to get a stick-on badge, and have your purse or bag searched by security guards. At least at the hospitals in the downtown area. I suppose if you explained yourself they would still let you in and assist somehow, or let you sit in the waiting room.

I keep some money in my car.