The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash in Your Home

By Linsey Knerl on 20 December 2008 114 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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The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash in Your Home

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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 !

Guest's picture
Guest

What about the basement? There are lots of places there or did I miss that section?
I suppose the best places to put valuble and then publish them on the web.

Guest's picture
Guest

Mattress is too obvious now, this is not the 70s-90s, now we read news about robbed house where money are stored in mattress, not good.

Guest's picture
Anita

Some of these ideas are very ingenious and would work well...especially since most thieves only take a couple of minutes to ransack and get out.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have been broken into several times. The ONLY time the thieves went looking and searching was when they were known to us (our neighbours 3 doors down) and therefore knew (or thought they did) that we would have a stash. We didn't. In my experience (4 break-ins in different houses and different areas of the country) they do not spend long at all, 10 mins tops and they do not search. The second they think they might be disturbed they will scarper. They have odd ways of doing things. I was confused by their behaviour; I had a little fire proof lock box which you can easily pick up and carry. Instead of just lifting it up and carting it off and worrying about opening it later, they dumped it in a bowl of water (??) and opened it. Conversely they saw my £600+ camera opened the bag, fiddled with it and left it. But what was in my fireproof box were my wedding rings from my previous marriage, valued at £20 each which they took!! Dumbasses (had a good laugh at the fact that they have shot themselves in the foot for the sake of £40!! So anyway, like I said in my experience they do not ransack a house unless they have reason to suspect you are hiding something... So best advice is...actively seek to get friendly with your neighbours. They will keep their eye on your house, you can give them permission to park on your drive when you're away and if you don't get on they won't think anything to turning a blind eye to unusual behaviour or if you really don't get on, you will find yourselves being victimised by them.

Guest's picture
Thomas

I have a 60 gallon aquarium in my house, with a humungous filter. I keep a good deal of cash inside the filter (in a waterproof bag taped to the top).

Guest's picture
Guest

I've been robbed several times and never had anything "smashed" or destroyed. I have also known countless people with the same situation. It usually takes a while to even realize what was stolen...if ever. The only indication I've ever had showing a robbery, other than obviously missing items, was a busted door jamb. Most robbers like to come in and grab what they can quickly and get out. Any of those hiding places would work against any robberies I've had or heard of, except under the mattress of course. They will go for the most obvious, most valuable things and get out. I mean....what would you do if you robbed a house?...guns, jewelry, guitars/musical equipment, laptops, cell phones. I guess some punks may come in and smash and dump everything occasionally, but I would think fire would be a bigger concern. Some people have been watching too many 'caper' and 'mobster' movies.

Guest's picture
Guest

As for stashing your money in a safe spot. There is no safe spot. As for a thief you think like a thief. Time is the only enemy to a thief. My stash is going be in a very inconvenient place. Meaning I have to use tools to get to my stash. Many steps to get to my stash. Not a very easy accessible place even for me the stasher.