The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash in Your Home

By Linsey Knerl on 20 December 2008 (Updated 29 April 2010) 103 comments
Photo: shironosov

The current economy has many people considering a simpler method of financial security — cold, hard cash. And while we all agree that a buck has value, it is also a bit vulnerable when not hidden properly. Forget the $3000 hi-tech safe, and stick with these affordable tricks I picked up. You’ll never guess which way I’m using to hide my money!

Tampon Box

I’m not kidding. Walletpop mentioned this gem of a tip, and I was instantly intrigued. By leaving a little “product” in the box for authenticity, and taping a wad of cash to the inside, you can be sure a robber won’t think to look in there. (Ladies can be certain that a husband or boyfriend won’t find it, either.)

Fake Drain

Another beauty from Walletpop, this one involves a little more handiwork. By constructing a false drain in the floor of your garage or basement, you can place a pipe full of money where no one can see. (Just make sure your cash is stored in a waterproof container or baggie, in case an unknowing person tries to use the drain!)

Your Yard

Digging holes and hiding money is an age-old practice. The key is to remember where you put the cash and keeping it safe from the elements. Most experts recommend using some kind of PVC piping to keep dirt away from the stash, and to discourage the ground from caving in. This will also prevent a pesky underground burrowing creature from discovering your secret. This article by LiveSafely.org suggests several extra tips for getting the job done. (Be sure to bury deep, and don’t forget where you hid it!)

Return-Air Vent

Family Handyman Magazine (Nov 2008) offers step-by-step directions for using the face plate of an air vent to conceal a cubby you can stash valuables in. The best part is that it is held in place by magnets (to give you fast access to your own cash) and the sawed off screw heads that give the whole thing a look of really being secured to your wall. If you use your imagination, you could probably rig one up without the directions.

Frozen food

Several people already keep their credit cards on ice, but what about cash? I wouldn’t put your bling in a box of Pizza Rolls, but if you have some aging frozen haggis or a box of hominy you’re not overly attached to, you can use it as a covert hiding place for a wad of twenties.

Tennis ball

I like this idea of cutting open a tennis ball, stashing your valuables inside, and then placing the ball back between two others in their original tube container. Just make sure that the goods don’t rattle when you shake them. (You can stuff some tissue paper in with jewelry or coins to hide their sound.)

Electrical Outlet

Please don’t take this to mean a “real” outlet. You can use a method similar to the return-air vent technique to create your own wall cubby that most smart burglars won’t attempt to touch. You can also skip the work of the DIY method, and buy one pre-made.

Now that you know some good places to stash your cash, it will help you avoid these worst places.

Mattress

This is one of the first places thieves are going to check, and it is hardly conducive to a good night’s sleep. (This roundup from AOL Money includes an “expert tip” from the husband of a “lazy 350-pound wife.” If the aforementioned “beached-whale” happens to read his unsavory advice, he may have more problems during the night than a cat-burglar.)

Toilet-Tank

Several websites still list this as a good place to hide money. Too bad every mob movie I’ve seen with home invasion as a pervasive theme directs the goons towards this niche first. The only thing going into my toilet tank is a freshening tab (or possibly a brick to save on water usage).

Purse

Yep, it’s been said that a lady with a large purse collection should pick some random handbag and stick it in there. Chances are good, however, that this totally-out-in-the-open hiding place is a little to available for many thieves. Don’t you want them to have to at least work for it? (And what if the thief has a penchant for Prada, Kate Spade, or Jaclyn Smith by Kmart?)

A few other pointers for those who want to conceal cash in their home include:

  • Be aware that many homemade safes (including those I mentioned) won’t make your valuables immune from fire damage. If you are concerned about the possibility of your nest egg going up in flames, consider a fire-proof case or bag.
  • Leave a clue to where you keep it. If you should happen to die or disappear for a really, really long time, would your loved ones know where you keep your cash? Unless you want your valuables to be of no use to anyone else in your passing, let a few close relatives or a trusted friend know your plans. Or have it clearly explained in your “top-secret” will.
  • Make sure you have the value of your cash added to your home owners or rental insurance, if at all possible. Some companies will have specific regulations as to what they can and can’t cover. If you have large amounts of cash on the premises, however, see how you can best minimize loss in a bad situation using your insurance plan.
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Guest's picture
poor boomer

Re: In Your Toilet-Tank – Several websites still list this as a good place to hide money. Too bad every mob movie I’ve seen with home invasion as a pervasive theme directs the goons towards this niche first. The only thing going into my toilet tank is a freshening tab (or possibly a brick to save on water usage.)

You could try this if you live in one of those ancient buildings with the elevated tanks.

Oh wait, this was covered (sorta) in one of those mob movies...

Guest's picture
Jenni

In the movies, the tank is also where the drug dealer hides his drugs, it usually seems to be cocaine too!

Guest's picture
DebtKid

My grandparents used to keep some old gold coins in a fake wall outlet. It was 100% identical to the other outlets in the house and to even open it you have to unscrew it. It's not the largest hiding spot, but I thought it was pretty effective.

Myscha Theriault's picture

Interesting topic choice, Linsey. Some very practical tips here too. I particularly like the wall outlet strategy as well.

Guest's picture
Guest

Many people think safe deposit boxes are the safest place, but banks and the government can freeze safe deposit boxes and owners cannot retrieve their property. As well, one must wait for the bank to open to gain access to their money/property. What if the bank doesn't open???

Another thought is that burying cash in the ground is safe so long as it's paper money. There are technologies that can find caches of metal coins/bullion buried in the ground.

Lastly, the best place to hide something is in plain sight.

Guest's picture
Guest

in plain sight??! why do people always think that is a good or clever idea? when people rob houses they dont expect people to leave valualables hidden in a wall or in the floor, they look on tables and in drawers, the kind of place that you would leave ur wallet, duh! so yeah, leaving a wad of 20's right in front of a robber is exactly the best thing to do XD well done you!

Guest's picture
Guest

How about in your potted plants...you could stash something in a waterproof container in the bottom of the pot when you are repotting a houseplant? A little easier than digging out in the yard! Just make sure that if the plant dies your hubby doesn't toss the planter out to the curb!

Guest's picture

I was thinking how about taped to the bottom of a clothes hamper. I don't think anyone would look there. My kids wouldn't even find it since they won't look in the dirty clothes. Love your post and food for thought!

Guest's picture

Candy @ deal with it.

I wouldn't use a laundry hamper or basket as thieves often times will use your own baskets and storage devices to carry off your stuff in. They don't usually walk into a house with their storage devices since it looks a little conspicuous.

When our house got broken into they dumped out all of our laundry and filled it full of valuables.

Guest's picture

Tampax box: bad idea. First place cops go to look for drugs; burglars aren't dumb, either.

Fake electric outlet: been around waayyyy tooo long. Right up there with the wall safe behind the family portrait.

Return-air vent: ditto.

In a hole in the backyard: Anything underground has to be waterproofed every which way from Sunday. Even an in-floor safe is vulnerable to mildew and corrosion, which (i speak from experience) will eat up your paper money, corrode silver money, and ruin your jewelry.

Fake drain: ditto

Tennis ball: LOL! Just be sure none of the kids (who should NOT know about this hidey-hole) decide to use it to play with the dog.

Other possibilities:

Take a box-cutter and some glue to the inside pages of a book to make a "book safe." This requires you to have a large home library that will discourage burglars from going through every book on your shelves.

Glue or tape a cache to the bottom of an ironing board.

Sew it into a blanket hem and tuck that end of the blanket into the foot end of the bed (o'course, they could find it while they were looking under the mattress).

Braid it into your hair?

Spend it all now and stop worrying about it?

Seriously: Your best bet is to invest in a fireproof, waterproof (!) safe that can be bolted to the floor.

Guest's picture
Guest

unless you have a small fortune, the best place is still a bank

Guest's picture
Brad Ford

For the vast majority of people, a burglary by strangers is extremely unlikely.

With respect to your solutions, most of them provide little/no protection from damage caused by fire, smoke and/or flood. For that reason, I cannot recommend any of your solutions.

Most thefts of cash will be by friends and relatives - not burglars. If you are interested in hiding they money from someone looking for it, make it hard to get to and hard to find.

Best Soultion: Small fire safe hidden in an old trunk (hidden in the attic?)?

Guest's picture
Guest

The problem with ANY and I mean ANY valuables in ANY home is when a disaster occurs. People think that because they are able to hide and protect their assets from thieves or disaster, they are covered. What they fail to take into account is one very important thing. If their home gets destroyed by an event... fire, flood, earthquake, tornado, etc. they will be able to get into their house. What happens often is the fire and police keep owners away from their home due to the hazzards that exist after such and event. Also, theives will hit first before the owner is able to return to clean up. Most firemen and police are up front and honest people, but unfortunately, some are not and will take items of value before the owner can account for them. So, safe keeping items in a home is not wise decision, unless one is willing to take the chance that these things won't happen. Your best bet is to find a piece of land that is protected from new contstruction and is heavily treed and is not visited by humans often such as a wooded area. The wooded area doesn't have to be far away, just an area that isn't frequented by anyone and doesn't stand a good chance of being developed without your knowledge. Your own yard is not a bad option either. Burglars are unseen once their inside your home. Out in your yard, that's not the case unless they dig at night. Motion lights can deter them from that too. Where there's a will there's a way.

Guest's picture
EN

But now that the secret's out...........

Guest's picture

A hint I read somewhere is that if you do choose to keep a large amount of cash in your home a good idea is to place a decoy stash in a slightly more obvious place to make a burglar think they have all of it before they find your real stash.

Guest's picture
Guest

A burglar with any knowledge of what he or she is doing knows their trade better than the home owner. They surf the web just like you do. They know TIME is their biggest enemy. they will enter your home and go thru EVERY item with a vengence. They know all of the tricks people try to pull. Hell, they go for those ones first! They will pick up EVERY item and tip it upside down inside and out. They will take every lamp, vase, can, water bottle, and oh yes, the fake outlets by plugging something in everyone of them to see if they're live circuits. Don't fool yourselves by thinking they won't dump out every single item in the frig. They will smash everything you own to see what's inside. They will rip apart, tip over the item till they see what you have. When you return, your home will be demolished it they did their job right. Your home owner's policy will come into play after such an event. Again, keeping things in a place where the thief is out of site is not a good thing. Make it more difficult by putting it in a place where they would be easily seen and uncomfortable.

Guest's picture
Andrew

I really don't see how keeping money at home could really be better than a bank. Just don't keep it in some little crap bank.

Guest's picture
Guest

Cyprus!

Maggie Wells's picture

You made me wish I had something valuable to stash away. We barely remember to lock our door. Although apparently I hide money from myself. I found $20 from last winter in my good coat's pocket. And I think I might check my back up coat as well. If all jackets and purses were examined in my house I'm sure I could make a grocery run or buy a round of drinks but that's about it. Margaret Garcia-Couoh

Guest's picture
Guest

This one takes some doing, but is very secret.

I used to have an ancient old VCR -very heavy. It wouldn't work anymore, but it did load, and unload tapes.

When I had something to hide, I would lug it over to a wall outlet, plug it in, and eject the tape I had doctored to contain a small stash area. Essentially, I just gutted an old tape, and glued the spindles in. Then I could insert my valuables, insert the tape, and put the VCR back in the closet. Its really secure because you can't readily see the container, and it requires some effort to remove it.

This only works if the VCR is really old, and not pawn shop worthy otherwise they amy just make off with the whole thing. But who steals VCRs anymore?

Guest's picture
Guest

If I'm a thief, I'm not going to steal your old vcr, but I AM going to tear it apart by throwing it on the floor as hard as i can. I will smash it apart into tiny little pieces. The tape inside will get ripped out too before I smash the unit. Not a good place for valuables.

Guest's picture
Guest

Also, the unit is not fire proof or flood proof. Not a good idea if the items you are storing are subject to these things.

Guest's picture
Guest

Ignore the 'smashing' troll. All sorts of reports, private and public, by the police, judicial and penal system say over and over again, 95+% of all robberies are "smash-and-grab", see the tv, the blue-ray player, look at the top of the dresser and in the jewelry box, check the top drawers of the dressers, and out the window. Ten minutes at most. If it's just one, he may just grab small things (jewelry, blue-ray etc.) This "As a robber I would smash everything you have and steal what fell out" 'person' is a teen who's parent's wouldn't to spank them when they got disrespectful, and now they make the rest of us pay for it. The kind of person that would do the 'smash everything' bit is a spoiled brat teen/20 something who isn't looking to rob, just to destroy because they can. They are not robbers, they are vandals. Pure and Simple.

The VCR thing is wonderful IF you and your partner remember that it's a 'safe'. Electrical outlet is a good one, the 'brand name' cans (says hair spray, is really empty can with twist off bottom) are great if there are other regular cans, freezer's a pretty good place if it's full, too much to dig out - one variant on that is make a seal a meal bag with a smaller bag with the $ in it (sealed) drop smaller bag in larger, fill larger bag with gravy etc. Electrical outlet's great IF it matches the other outlet places and color. Above florescent lights (we have one in our kitchen) above the reflector is a really safe place in our house, 9' ceilings. Back of kitchen drawers (taped in), bottom of non-mobile trash can (not in container, on bottom.)

Basically anyplace that's hard to get to, has lots of hidden corners, slots etc. and you haven't read about in a million other places

Guest's picture
julie

My parents store their cash in their safe... with the code above it circled in GIANT black jiffy marker!!! :)

I suppose that is a where not to store it!!

I know a few people who swear by keeping it in the freezer. Throw it in an old coffee can and nobody will ever look there. At least nobody that hasn't read this post.

Good stuff...thanks for the fun and interesting post.

Guest's picture
Guest

Totally off subject but my in laws did this exact same thing with their security alarm. They have detailed instructions and the code taped right next to it. I tried to explain to my mother in law that if the alarm is set off there is a 'grace' period to turn it off. Anyone could find the pad and turn the alarm off and take their stuff.

Guest's picture
Guest

Enough money-stashes can permanently damage the economy. Money should always be invested back into the system; stagnant money becomes worthless in comparison in the long run.

Guest's picture
Chloe

Right. Stagnant money. So I should use all my cash on things I don't need when the economy is at its worst, for the sake of "the system"? Maybe that seems selfless to #17, but try living without some fallback money. A hospital bill or car accident can put a whammy on your life.
Consumers will always need to consume, so don't you worry about the fall of the capitalist system if people want to save for a rainy day.

I was personally burglarized by strangers; maybe that's uncommon, but it happens. My house is old, and we hadn't updated the latches on our windows - so all they had to do was cut the screen and pull the windows open from the outside.

Places they looked: under the mattresses (of course), filing cabinets, closets, under clothes, etc. Didn't try the toilet, but I guess they were in a hurry. They stole the 3 laptops lying around the house, jewelry, and some cash... not bad, but the worst thing about the robbery is the feeling of being vulnerable to the world, when your house is supposed to be a refuge.

If you're going to use a safe, email yourself the code or something (not with an obvious subject line like "HERE IS MY CODE STEAL IF YOU WANT" or anything). Forget the code = lock yourself out.

Guest's picture
Jenny

"The only thing going into my toilet tank is a freshening tab (or possibly a brick to save on water usage.) "

A better idea than a brick to save on water use is to fill a plastic pop bottle with sand or water and screw the lid on really tight before putting it in the toilet tank. Depending on the size of the tank you can try one or two litre bottles and see which works better for you.

Guest's picture
THOR

Putting a brick in commode tank will cause it to slowly dissolve in the water, leaving you with a bricks-worth of detritus floating about in your commode.

Guest's picture
Guest

Hide it under your cat's litter box. Nobody is going to look there.

Guest's picture
Bellen

While useful, I think your places to stash are known all over the universe. About 20 years ago I checked out a book from the library called "Hidey Holes" or something similar. It was a book totally devoted to making places to hide small (foot square or less I believe) items. One of the places we used from the book was behind the baseboard at the back of the closet. Cut it to look like matched pieces and I'm sure no one would know. Besides, it would take probably 15-20 minutes to move the stuff in front, pry the baseboard off and fish the money out.

Now, we use a small safe bolted to the cement floor of the attached garage, under the workbench behind the cans of paint and bucket of paint supplies. Gee, I really hate it when we have to get some money out - hoping that thieves would too.

Guest's picture
Guest

Again, if your entire house were to burn to the ground, GOD forbid, you may not beable to get to your safe box under the bench behind the paint cans. The house may not be accessible unitl the grounds are deemed safe and any investigations are completed. But, many thieves know this and hit these homes at night looking for anything of value such as safes. And, unfortunately, unscrupulous firemen and police may be temped to lift such items as well. Don't count out the insurance claims person as well.

Linsey Knerl's picture

Those of you who know me well know this already, but:

1.  I'm not rich.  Any amount of cash I'd have in my home would be the remains of an ATM withdrawal, some fast cash for a vacation fund, or possibly a small savings method for a "secret" purchase (spouse's birthday, etc.)  It's also important to remember that many people don't deal with checks or credit.  If you want to purchase a small appliance or a stash of building supplies from Craigslists, for example, cash is kind.  It's nice to keep this on hand for a last-minute purchasing opportunity.  But I'm not talking thousands, people.

2.  I'm not anti-banking.  I keep most of my assets is FDIC-insured accounts, well spread out to diversify my risks.  I'd never suggest anyone comletely opt out of the banking system.  I'm not a financial expert.

3.  Any hiding place can be vulnerable to loss.  When you assume your own risk, you are basically saying that you think you are more trustworthy than a checking or savings account.  For some people, this could be true.  For others.... not so much.  If you are continually burglarized, live in a home with a loved-one with a drug problem, or are just really bad at remembering where you put things, these tips are not going to be as fail-safe.

4.  Crooks read the internet.  They read books.  They plan and plot and look for the best ways to get your money.  That being said, most of the burglaries I'm familiar with are weak attempts at getting fast cash for bad habits.  They are last-minute break-ins for whatever they can grab  in an hour or less.  Electronics, jewelry, guns and other pawn-worthy items are stolen first.  Cash is great, if it can be found easily.  This is the point to stashing it in a variety of ways, in a wide range of not-so-obvious places.

Thanks for all the extra-creative and awesome stash tips!  People have been hiding various amounts of money for as long as there has been money.  This will never change.  It's cool to hear that people are being careful with what they have worked so hard to earn!  Keep up the good work!

Linsey Knerl

Guest's picture
Mom of 6

Back when we lived in Earthquake Land, we were advised to have cash available to use in an emergency. During the Northridge earthquake we used a lot of that emergency cash while the electricity was out and stores accepted only cash. We stored a few rolls of quarters and about $100 in one-dollar bills with our emergency supplies.

Among our emergency supplies were seven 2.5 gallon bottles of drinking water. Hubby cut a hole in the bottom of one, we drained out the water and hot glued a well-sealed tupperware with our cash fund to the part he cut out. We filled the bottle back up, hot glued the bottom back on and put it with the rest of the bottles. Unless you picked up the bottle and looked at the bottom you couldn't tell it was any different than the rest. It just looked like water.

I'm not anti-bank, either, but I am a firm believer in a small household emergency fund!

Guest's picture
Brad Ford

Linsey,

1. Great topic.
2. Reading the posts, I think some people believe we must be "all or nothing" on the cash v. banking issue.
a) I have multiple bank accounts and have no plans on getting rid of them. I look to balance low costs, convenience, and high interest rates. Most of my money belongs in banks.
b) I have a safe deposit box where I keep things like important documents, certain jewelry, paper savings bonds,and my computer backup files.
c) I have a small fire safe with some "emergency" money in case the banks are closed and I need cash now.

Linsey Knerl's picture

Thanks for reminding us of the dangers of fire.  If you're not comfortable with $xxx going up in flames, don't put it in anything but a fireproof container/safe.  I also recommend having backup copies (notarized if possible) of all your important legal documents:  wills, etc. on your property and stored in the same manner you recommend.  I keep my Medical Directive in there, as well.

Some really nice fireproof safes (small enough to fit into into most any secured/hidden area) are available for under $100 at most home or retail stores.

Linsey Knerl

Guest's picture
Guest

How about behind a picture in the frame? you could easily hide a couple hundreds.

I happen to be one of those people who fell victim to a break in by a stranger. It was the usual, jewelry small electronics and even my bike. For the most part it was all just stuff. I'm mostly upset over losing the data on the external hard drive they stole. There was at least 3 years of photos on that hard drive that I had not taken the time to back up onto disk.

Guest's picture
Guest

I use to work as a piano technician... and you wouldn't believe what I would find in the inside of a piano(upright), there's a lot of empty space in there -- so I've always suspecting that it's a great place to hide cash -- It became very clear to me that once folks lost whatever they lost in their piano, that they were quite content with leaving it in there-- one of the older tech's told me he found a gun in a piano one time... I don't think a thief would take the time to pull apart a piano, let alone suspect it has valuables in it.

Just pop open the bottom foot board, no one ever touches this thing, as demonstrated by all of the spiderwebs, pictures from the 60's and forgotten toys I've pulled out of pianos -- find a nice corner away from the trap work and pedals, put your cash in a baggie and tape it in -- You possibly could have a little protection from fire damage if you jam the cash behind the plate, it's not foolproof, but it will take awhile before fire would be able to overtake it and by that time the piano would have to be fully ablaze and you'll have strings popping everywhere --

Only thing to remember is, if you have small rodents that live in your piano, hopefully no one lives in a house where critters are making a home in a piano(more like pianos that have been scuttled to the garage), although I've pulled a dead rat out of one that came from a house -- your cash will make a lovely nest... and unless you want to spend a few years taping your cash back together after being torn into a thousands of pieces -- be careful if you know you have a problem.

Guest's picture
Guest

I agree that sometimes the best place to hide stuff is in plain sight. I have a bag of 'junk silver' valued (now) at $9800. I use it as a doorstop. I knew it was safe when a brother noticed it and commented that 'someone's saving pennies.' People would never suspect that anything of value would be sitting out in the open like that, so it is safe.

Guest's picture
Guest

Just watch out if burying money- I used to work at a credit union, and musty or buried-smelling money was a giant red flag for suspicious (ie. laundering/organised crime) activity. Depends on the amount and circumstances I guess....

Guest's picture
steve

if you put a dessicant in the paper money and then vacuum seal it and put it in a thermos, it should be fine re: protection from dampness, at least for several years

Guest's picture
steve

"Just watch out if burying money- I used to work at a credit union, and musty or buried-smelling money was a giant red flag for suspicious (ie. laundering/organised crime) activity. Depends on the amount and circumstances I guess...."

and?
so what would happen? would the bank report it as supicious? if it did, the cops can come question you if they have nothing better to do.
is there a law against having moldy cash? last time I checked, a bank has to honor it.

if you were a thief and didn't want attention, I could see that this would be a problem, but if you are clean, i don't see this as a major problem. It just seems like a pain in the *&& to bury stuff though when there are cleaner, more convenient ways: for utilities' sake, best to keep your hidden money clean, dry, and mildew-free.

Guest's picture
steve

put velco on the outside of a stainless steel water bottle or a simple mason jar, with the matching velcro on the inside of the piano.

put cash or whatever in jar.

place against velcro.

done. and you can remove and replace it easily.

Guest's picture
steve

re: stagnant money shackling the nation into slavery:

don't worry, Paulson et al have enough printing presses to replace the $287.43 that i stashed away in a jar.

Guest's picture
Jennifer

When we were robbed, the freezer and fridge were two of the spots they hit. They even stole some food!

Guest's picture

Never mind the thiefs, I'm a bigger risk likely. Kidding aside;

My father had a hole in the wall behind the refrigerator. We got burglarized once too, and they looked everywhere.

They never found it his stash.

My Dad had to repair the wall when we moved though, which I remember him cursing about. I never knew about the hole until my mother told me years later.

Guest's picture
Amy

My dad successfully used to "dummy" stash concept and stored a little cash in a top drawer while hiding the real stash in another drawer. One Sunday morning they had a break it while they were at church. Sure enough, the thieves swiped the small amount of cash in the top drawer and missed the other money entirely.

I once knew this little old Chinese lady, when I was a little girl growing up in the Philippines. She owned a jewelry store, and after she satisfied herself that my dad knew a bit about jade, she took him into the back of the store where she kept more valuable items. She told him that during WWII, Chinese families in the Philippines were desperate to hide their valuable from Japanese soldiers and many of them buried their things in the yard, where it was promptly dug up and confiscated. Her father decided to leave his most valuable things sitting out as though they were worth nothing. When they soldiers came, they left it all alone. This only works if the would be thieves are not good at appraising the items you leave out, however!

Guest's picture
Guest

how about putting it in the refrigerator under the butter dish . I have done that and have put a fake bottom between the dish and the cash...if the house burns down, the refrigerator usually will not . it's easily accessible to me but no one knows about it and it's right out in the "Open"...

Guest's picture
The Economist

I just want to point something out to everyone here, including those who wrote the original article in regards to the saving of Dollar Bills. Over the past few months the federal government and the Federal Reserve have created Trillions of dollars to bail out businesses. The unintended, but unavoidable economic consequence of this is inflation. Simply put, the more of something there is, the less it's worth. And because Dollars do not have intrinsic value, nor are they tied to something that does, their purchasing power over time will fall.

My advice to those who are truly in the mood to protect their monetary investments would be not to stash away dollars, but to stash away gold or other precious medals. Gold has value of its own, and while its price does fluctuate, in times of inflation it becomes much more valuable, if for no other reason that the depreciation of currency.

Long story short, think of what would have happened had your grandparents stashed $300 in 1940, when that would have bought a car, and then took it out today. With that same money today they would have been able to buy gas for a couple months. But if that money had been in gold, today they would be able to sell the gold and buy a car.

Worth looking into if you're serious about protecting yourselves. Good luck.

Guest's picture
Guest

To "The Economist" - SO MOTE IT BE! (a.k.a. AMEN!!)

I am a wealthy woman and I used to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in a well-hidden safe in my home.

Now? All that has been converted to precious metals (gold coins specifically).

When the market collapses and the government seizes all the banks and their contents (even safety deposit boxes which they legally can due to Bush's wonderful Patriot Act) all we will have left will be gold, etc.

Paper is meaningless...

Peace

Guest's picture
Guest

HERE HERE! Well stated! Someone with a brain who understands why one would want to stash something of long-term value. I can't agree more.

Guest's picture

Creative article, I like your ideas but you forgot the old book safe trick.

Take an old book, hard back if posible, clamp all the inside pages between two thin pieces of plywood cut out a square with a drill and jig saw. Apply rubber cement to the in side edges of the square void let dry and you hgave a book safe.

-Dan Malone-

Check out other tips and tricks at: http://liveforimprovement.blogspot.com/

Guest's picture
jkg

LOL! That tampon box suggestion is sure to work!

Recent case study from my house:

"Honey, where is the floss?"
"Under the cabinet."
"...I can't find it."
"Hang on."

{{shuffle, nudge, rearrange}}

"Here you go. The floss was right behind the tampon box which you refused to touch because you're a boy."
"Wow! You're totally right!"

Guest's picture
easyrider

behind/under the vacuum cleaner bag, unless it's a very expensive machine and may be slolen also.

Guest's picture

Under the china cabinet, no one would ever think to move it.

Guest's picture
RealTimeSkips

Unless there is visible evidence of frequent movement of the type of furniture, or fixtures in walls, that isn't ordinarily moved, i.e., half circled carpet marks on one end of a china cabinet, worn out screw heads on electrical outlets., etc.

You safest hiding spot is going to be a location where it is normal for you to frequent and doesn't cause a lot of noise or disruption in the surroundings when you access it (it's true that the majority of thefts are by someone familiar rather than random strangers).

If you cook often, and your shelves are well stocked, a bag of flour placed, along with a few others, is a perfect spot. But if you eat out often and store only beer and frozen pizzas in your fridge... then the warn out bag of flour leaving fresh trails in the back of your top cabinet is highly suspect! lol

Guest's picture
ganesh

i read all and i find out its very good site and also a help full

regard
www.nepalpackagetour.com

Guest's picture
nepal

i feel good site

www.travellingtonepal.com

Guest's picture
wyndwalkr

This brings to mind the "buy gold" idea. When times are really really hard, will the grocery store take gold? Will the electric company let me pay my bill with gold? No? (I'm being facetious.) So I must take it to a gold buyer who will give me half of what I paid for it, (in CASH?) so I can go out and buy something to feed my family. Who makes out on that deal? Huh?

I am guessing most people commenting here want to hide away a few hundred dollars for an emergency. While cash may be devalued also, I don't see the answer as gold.

Gold is for the wealthy to buy as an investment so as to come out of the depression still wealthy. Or wealthIER is the point, I'm sure. What is he keeping around to buy groceries and pay utilities?

I have a book safe right now. But hey, I think taped to the bottom of the cat litter box is a great idea!

Guest's picture
Guest

Well, in terms of priority, the rule goes as follows... Food to feed yourself comes first. Then, the ability to protect yourself comes next. Then the ablility to house yourself next and so forth. When it comes to gold, lead is more valuable. Lead trumps gold any day. I can buy as many things as i need if I have lead and brass. In all seriousness, if things were to get that bad, my gun and bullets are worth more than gold. But, in a very very bad economy, one that has order and not chaos, silver dollars, quarters, dimes, and so forth will have much more practicle value. When people won't except dollars and want other things of value in place of them, silver and other such things will be common place in the economy.

Guest's picture
Guest

I've had my home robbed before and because we had accidently left the video camera in the kids room it was the one thing they didn't get. I store stuff in the top of my kids closets in containers that look like they belong there.

Guest's picture
Guest

Wow!  Best idea yet! 

Guest's picture
Monevator

I am sure any veteran thief who has time and believes you have valuables hidden will check the toilet tank...

Whilst renting houses over a ten-year period, I twice found something valuable stashed (and presumably forgotten) including a big of mysterious white power that went straight down the toilet bowl I might add.

I vote for cereal boxes at the back of the cupboard and the like.

Guest's picture
Guest

Prowl library old book sales & find a book or two that have the pockets glued into the front for the old check-out card. They're the perfect size for currency - and you can still read them!

Guest's picture
Guest

Or the robber wakes you up, sticks a gun in your ear, and makes you find the money for him.

Linsey Knerl's picture

While I don't know what I'd do in this situation (I hope my husband would have our gun ready to go...) I think alot of people keep a smaller stash of cash for just this reason.  If you can give the smaller amount to the robber to appease him, it may work.   Hopefully, this is just a hypothetical, guest.

Linsey Knerl

Guest's picture
Guest

The folks who mentioned Craig's List and disaster preparedness seemed to have good reasons to keep cash on hand. But personally, I've never in my life had a need to store large amounts of cash. Banks are just so much more convenient and secure. (Probably now more than ever before.)

If you really need to keep money, though, a drawer full of random loose change (or even rolls of dimes) seems like it'd be the least attractive find for a burglar and not too inconvenient for you. On the other hand, if you're saving up for the end of the world as we know it, a box of silver in little one ounce bars or coins might be the way to go.

One thing I would never do is store money or valuables in a worthless-looking and easy to dispose of container. You risk some unsuspecting person trashing your money. My grandfather, for example, put gold coins into the lining of an old suitcase. Now, my grandmother is generally not big on throwing things out, but one day she decided that ratty old thing just had to go...

Guest's picture
Guest001

You can store a small roll of fiat notes in a Marker. Just plug the cap off the marker and remove the ink cartrage then roll up the dough and put it... and then throw the marker back into your junk draw or however you keep it. Even your kids while using the marker won't know there is a wad of cash in there. Except kids are bad at losing things, so probably not a good idea if you have kids. ;)

Guest's picture
Katrina

I can't beleive that no one mentioned my idea-

I keep extra money in my underwear drawer inside of a sock. It probably isn't the safest place for a robbery by a stranger. But for a friend/family thief it would be weird for them to be found going through my underwear.

Guest's picture
pntylvr

"But for a friend/family thief it would be weird for them to be found going through my underwear."

You'd be surprised whose pawing through your panties ;\

Guest's picture
Guest

Katrina dear, have you never heard the term "socking it away."

Guest's picture
C. Sykes

First, I think a small emergency fund, say $200 or so, is a good idea. Banks CAN go under and even if they are FDIC insured, the FDIC isn't going to cut you a check the next day. Or you can have a real emergency on a weekend (some auto repairmen won't accept checks or credit cards, for example) or experience a natural disaster.

Here are a few ideas. Get a food item that comes in a canister with a lid --dog or cat food is good, because thieves won't be tempted to eat it -- clean out the can, put your cash inside and put it as far back in your pantry as you can.

Or create a fake sewer pipe cleanout, complete with screw on top, in your back yard, triple plastic bag the cash and put it in there. (Be sure to remove it if you actually ever need your sewer drain cleaned.)

C. Sykes
moneytospare.net

Guest's picture
bliss

- The paper shredder might be a good hiding place.
- A bag that's full of other bags might work.
- Mixed in with a pile of dirty laundry if it's tossed on the floor in a closet.
- Cash in a envelope can be taped to the upper wall of a small closet. The wall where the door(s) open is usually above someone's head and they won't bother to look up there unless it's a walk in closet and they actually walk in.
- Like someone else said, taped to the bottom of heavy furniture/appliances might work.
- Taped to the top of high cabinets if there's nothing else up there and no reason for a thief to be up there.
- If you have a bottom drawer on your stove that's for storage, tape an envelope to the back of it. Or maybe use an old dark crab pot that's stored in the drawer to hide small valuables. Then toss in a piece of dark fabric and cover with smaller pot or bowl lids.
- If you have a room for your furnace or hot water heater, it might be a good hiding place for an envelope or small valuables that are enclosed in a compact container.

Carrie Kirby's picture

Before my husband's grandfather developed Alzheimer's, he apparently hid some cash and valuables in a wall or something like that in his house. He was a carpenter, so he certainly didn't leave any marks, wherever he put it.

Sadly, when my in-laws had to sell his home during his illness, they gave up on the search. I imagine that the current owners (or more renters; the neighborhood has gone way downhill) have no clue there's hidden treasure there, but I hope somebody finds it someday.

When we lived in China we used to get paid in cash, didn't have local bank accounts so of course we had anything we didn't spend immediately on hand. We also had a cleaning lady we didn't know well, and had no idea if any building manager or something like that might have access to our apartment. We usually kept the cash in the freezer or buried at the bottom of the laundry basket. Maybe not foolproof but not obvious either.

 

I blog at www.shopliftingwithpermission.com.

Guest's picture
Guest

easy place to hide cash is in your arsre au!!!

Guest's picture

My folks told me people used to keep their cash under their pillows when they went to bed. During the day, they wore sarongs and strapped the cash in their waistband tucked under a t-shirt. Or the women would put them in their bra. :) As carrying a purse to the market meant they would be showing others they got money.

Guest's picture
Guest

All great ideas but you've really missed the best option. If we are talking about a few hundred dollars, why not keep it on your person. Certainly if it is in a wallet and you are robbed you will lose it. Fortunately, I have a colostomy. I have fashioned an internal pouch (yes waterproof) to hold about $500.00. I actually have been robbed at gunpoint but they never thought to check there.

Guest's picture
God Bless the Philippines

"Fortunately, I have a colostomy."
Never thought I'd see that written. :-)

Guest's picture
Guest

This was a GREAT read. Lots of great ideas. How about inside a shirt pocket hanging in a bedroom closet full of clothes? (As long as you don't live with anyone who would wear your clothes) Or, if you have a large shoe collection..stuffed inside one of the toes of a shoe in the shoebox.

If you know some carpentry skills, a concealed cubby could be constructed very easily, either in a floor or wall. Of course once you sheetrocked over it, or put flooring down, it wouldn't be easy or convinient to access. I knew someone who had a trap door in the floor of their old house which was hidden by carpet and large piece of furniture. A lil 'cubby' about a square foot in size had been made into the floor, near the wall with the trap door over it. I thought that was pretty cool.

There are lots of websites that sell 'safes' that look just like cans of soup or bottles of shampoo, and cost about 15 bucks. I even saw one that looked just like a can of WD-40. Just don't get the can that looks like potato chips!

I personally have NO secret stashes because I am dirt @$$ BROKE! :>(

I think the best idea I read was in the back of a closet, in a wall, behind the baseboard. Not convinient access, but definitly too much work for a thief. And, a decoy stash is a super idea, especially if you are ever robbed while you are home and don't own a gun.

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks for the hiding tips. I just took an emergency preparedness course (I live in an earthquake area, and used to live in a hurricane area). They suggested keeping between $300 - $500 in cash at home. If power goes out in your area, and is out for days, so are all the ATM's. Good luck going to the grocery store to charge it - although they may still take checks. BTW, the VCR idea is the best!

Guest's picture
Guest

What ever happened to the car battery safe? I saw one of those once and thought it was a great idea. It was heavy, large and something you can just leave in the garage. Who would take an old battery in the back of a dirty garage? On a further note, our hotel room was broken into in the VI. We had our money hidden in the fake shaving cream can. It was overlooked completely as well as the fake RC can (do they still make RC). Point being, those fake storage items can obviously work for amateur thieves.

My Grandma, she used to unroll toilet paper to a certain length and start wrapping it back up with twenty dollar bills every 10 inches or so; Looked great, wonderful idea.
Just make sure you buy the thick TP.

Guest's picture
Guest

One thing that my mom taught me was to tape whatever to the top of the ceiling fan, nobody ever looks there.

Guest's picture
Guest

Years ago I had a fire extinguisher I had cut the top off of. This unit had an aluminum label with a cinch piece, so it both opened and closed easily.

I kept it mounted in an out-of-the-way place and 'real' extinguishers in more accessible and appropriate locations.

It was not fire proof at all but 'out-of-sight-.......'.

Guest's picture
Clint

If you own several pair of the Pheiress Pocket Boxer Briefs from stashitware then you have the perfect place to stash your cash when you leave the house. Just put your money or credit cards in the stash pocket and then place the underwear in the dirty cloths or throw them on the bed or floor or fold them and put them in the drawers. It is very unlikely that any burglar will take the time to look in your dirty underwear for anything valuable and thats where your valuables will be. And always remember to wear your Pheiress pocket boxer briefs when you travel. Pickpocket proof with easy and fast access for stashing and retrieving your valuables if the need arises. If you were a burgler would you look in my dirty underwear for money or jewelry? Pocket Boxer Briefs.

Guest's picture
Katrina

My crazy demented grandfather buried 7000 bucks in his yard. Then he got really sick and had to be hosptalized. The only thing he could tell us was it was by the third tree. Unfortunately his yard was full of trees...Needless to say it was never found! Don't bury in the yard!

Guest's picture
Guest

I'm surprised no one mentioned hiding cash in the cat litter storage bin yet.

Guest's picture

I like all these ideas! How about hiding a few bills inside a picture frame? It won't be fire/disaster proof, but it's accessible. I would love to buy or make furniture with secret compartments. I love watching movies that had those are part of the storyline. =)

Guest's picture
Amy K.

I keep a $50 in my wallet, tucked behind a picture, just in case I'm out to dinner and discover the restaurant doesn't take credit cards.  Likewise, I keep a $20 in my car's owner's manual in the glove box in case I need gas (since most stations won't take a $50). I keep meaning to put $100 in smaller bills in our fire safe box for the power outage/calamity scenario.  Between those three and whatever is in our wallets, I think we're prepared for emergencies.  I don't have enough fancy jewelry to merit stashing it - burglars are more likely to go for our computers.

A fun article, I loved the inventive hidey holes.  My fave was the suggestion to hide it behind the vacuum bag, which came from a commenter.

Guest's picture
Mandy

Thanks Linsey!  Great article as always! 

Guest's picture
X-One

I have bad expirence with safe. It's burned full :( And I lost all my money, but now i use online banking ;)

Guest's picture
Guest

Um ... don't thieves read the internet?

Guest's picture
Guest

Wow, now that everyone has listed on the internet all their favorite places to stash it, where will you put it now, since you all have posted it on the worldwide internet?
ROFLOL

Guest's picture
Guest

And so by now, I am safe to assume that all those "best places" have just become numbered among the "worst places" to stash?

Guest's picture
Guest

Sure, the "diversion" container is an okay place to stash a few dollars, but forget about a quality in home safe? I think not. A genuine bad guy that breaks into your home is going to quickly and methodically rip through all of your belongings and find those goofy little hiding places and steel your cash. Where as a quality, in house, bolted down safe, the bad guy might find, he or she won't be able to get in to steal all your cash, or your passports or your pink slips etc. Be smart, buy a safe.

Guest's picture
FT

I'm going through a foreclosure and my attorney has advised me not to have any money in the bank so i will hide cash somewhere in my house that is until they take my house!

Guest's picture

After having lived with a couple thieving roommates... Here's a product I created that gives you a few more options when selecting a secret spot.

Works great in the house and in the car.

www.toysfrommyattic.com/StashableStorageTube

Guest's picture
Watch Close

Okay Folks, a little input here… I have actually read all these posts and I got to say I have had a good chuckle. Some great ideas none the less but here is some real advice for ya… Stop worrying about a “full-proof” way to hide a few hundred bucks around the house. If you are that paranoid about losing some “emergency money”, you should probably just fold it up and put it in your wallet. If you have a significant amount of money to protect buy a good fire-proof safe. It is well worth the investment!
I just paid a little over $900 bucks for a Winchester gun locker. It is fire-proof and should pretty much survive any disaster just short of the earthquake that the earth opens up and swallows it. Yes, I will store my guns in it but will also insert my smaller fire-proof document safe (extra protection) and that is where my cash will go. Gun locker is rated at 1700 degrees for two hours and document safe is rated at 1700 for eight hours. Although I have not yet done it, you can easily wire the safe directly into your home security system on a different circuit, just in the event the intruder is able to by-pass your home alarms.
Now why have I gone through this trouble and expense? Well, this part is for the folks that are still walking around with blinders on thinking their money is so safe in the bank… You can take this from the man who’s personal and business accounts were suddenly frozen for over eight weeks by the IRS a few years back. No, I was not guilty and no, they really didn’t care. I almost lost my business! I couldn’t pay my employees! I couldn’t even shop for groceries for my family or make any payments on my home or automobile. They fixed the “glitch” in the system at the IRS after two months… But they did little to fix things such as my credit, loss of employees or the late fees and penalties I had to pay for not making payments in my business and personal loans. I almost lost my whole livelihood that I worked most of my life for all because some slacker in the IRS made a computer error. They took their own sweet time fixing the problem too. OH! I forgot to tell you… They didn’t reimburse me one dime of the THOUSANDS of dollars in lawyer fees it took to help them speed up the process.
Now, believe me when I tell you that the IRS is only one of MANY government agencies that have the authority to seize your assets for simple suspicion of the least little thing. State agencies such as DHHR can also play with your bank account and business as if it was their own. I only tell you this because I, like many, was a sleeping beauty also.
Now before you get to thinking I am just another paranoid Joe digging in for the big fall… Well, I am also an employee of Homeland Security. The things I have seen the past few years has scared me silly! I’m sorry folks! I’m sorry to be the one giving you the wake-up call. But if you have any significant amount of money to protect, you better be investing in a good home safe and security system. Most home burglars are not going to pack in a cutting torch or couple hundred pounds of explosives. Some of them may be smart but I would venture to say they are not smart enough to crack a million variable combination. And, if they can lug an 800 pound, five foot gun safe out my front door and load it into a truck or van, after beating the security system and taking it from the bolted floor, without looking a little suspicious, Heck… they can have my money!
PS. Is it me or did the IRS just say they were hiring over a thousand new enforcement agents? Gee… I wonder why they would do that now?
Yall have a good day!

Guest's picture
Guest

Exactly. Banks are NOT safe. Not safe at all. Even the bank itself can take your money in certain situations. And various government agencies can tie up your money for days, weeks, months, years....or just flat out take it.

Your idea of a large, higher quality gun safe with other safes nested inside is excellent, even if a bit on the expensive side. I like it.

Guest's picture
Guest

I think the best place to hide money would be in a really big dog's collar lol.

Guest's picture
Guest

Remember the prison break series, well i did what the old man did !