How much? That's an individual choice. Bradley recommends $1,000, in $20 bills, so that it's easy to make change.2. GET OUT OF DEBT AND BEEF UP SAVINGS A mortgage, car payments, credit cards, medical bills â¿¿ they all limit the amount of money one can set aside for an emergency, whether it be a job loss or something worse. Start by slashing credit card debt and only use plastic if you're going to pay off the bill each month. Bradley recommends gradually setting aside enough money to cover all expenses for six months. That cushion can be a life-saver if you lose your job and end up being unemployed for several months, as it typically takes far longer for people who have been out of work for six months or more to find another job. About 40 percent of all jobless workers are so-called long-term unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Having trouble saving money? Cut down on expenses like dining out, brown bag your lunch at work and use coupons. 3. STASH SOME GOLD AND SILVER Many investors have put their money in precious metals in recent years as a hedge against the declining value of the dollar. When the value of the dollar declines, gold prices rise. That's fine as an investment, but in the event of a major financial crisis, experts say it might be difficult to cash that in. So they advise that anyone who is very concerned that the dollar could decline dramatically look into owning some actual gold and silver. The coins can be purchased from many dealers, but expect to pay a 6 percent premium on gold coins and a 10 percent markup on silver coins, Scatigna says. Also, it's important to have a mix of gold and silver coins because, in the event of a dire emergency, silver coins can be traded for less expensive items.