Greeks are now panic buying ovens and refrigerators over fears of banks collapsing

Greece, euro, shoppingREUTERS/John KolesidisA woman walks by a pawn shop in central Athens August 26, 2013.

Greek people are using their debit cards to panic buy kitchen appliances such as dishwashers, ovens, and refrigerators over fears of banks collapsing and not being able to withdraw deposits, The New York Times’ Suzanne Daley reports.

Greeks aren’t just stock piling electronic items. They are taking other precautions to financially prepare themselves if Greece is forced to leave the euro. Any new currency that’s installed would be worth much less than the euro, meaning debts taken out in euros would be much harder to pay back.

One Greek jeweller told the NYT he rejected an offer to buy €1 million (£717,000, $US1.1 million) worth of jewels because he felt safer holding onto the merchandise than putting that money in Greek banks.

Some Greeks are even prepaying their taxes, the New York Times said, in case their savings are lost in a bank failure.

“I have a huge number of customers wanting to file their taxes right here, right now, to have the tax calculated and paid instantly before a possible haircut. Even if the tax is 40 to 50 thousand euros, they pay it off in one go,” Athens accountant Antonis Mouzakis told the Times.

For nearly two weeks, Greeks have only been allowed to withdraw €60 (£43.24, $US66.62) per day from ATMs. Greek banks, which been closed since last Monday and will stay shut through at least Friday, reportedly only have four days of cash left. This means cash withdrawals could be reduced even further over the coming days. Even though the limit right now is €60, many machines have run out of €20 bills, which is preventing people from taking out the full daily cap.

On Sunday, Greeks overwhelmingly rejected a bailout deal from European creditors that would impose greater austerity measures on the country.

European leaders gave Greece a Thursday deadline to submit a new reform plan. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras proposed a deal that included a 3-year bailout plan , but it did not provide more detail about tax and pension reforms, according to Reuters.

On Sunday, all 28 members of the European Union will meet to discuss Greece’s proposal. This meeting has been described as Greece’s last chance to agree to a bailout deal — or be pushed out of the euro.

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