The Right Way to Bury Money

dollar bill half-buried in the ground
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If you are like me you have probably long hoped that you would come across some buried money in your excavations. It is a pleasant thought, but you likely have not given much serious thought to burying your own cash for safekeeping.

Pirates did it, your great-grandparents did it, and perhaps the time is right for you to start doing it also. You might be thinking that it sounds like a great way to lose some greenbacks, and you are right, but only if it isn’t done correctly!

dollar bill in the ground

Burying important items as part of a cache or otherwise has a long and distinguished history for keeping your possessions your possessions, if you catch my drift.

Burying cash and other valuables is an excellent way to ensure concealment, security and also provide easy identification for anyone who might come sniffing around trying to find it.

With some basic materials and a few simple techniques you can use nearly any out-of-the-way place as a secure hide sight.

In today’s article I will be sharing with you the advantages of burying money for safekeeping, simple steps for pulling it off successfully, and some pitfalls to avoid.

Why Bury Money at All?

It should not take a prepper much in the way of imagination to think of a handful of reasons why you might want to bury your money.

As preppers, we know that to be dependent upon the fragile inner workings of society during any kind of emergency or crisis situation is to likely be caught with your pants down.

Cash is a vital contingency prep, able to get you much needed supplies or just a favor when you are in a tight spot when nothing else can.

It is naturally in your best interest that you should have a good wad of cash in your possession solely as a prep, but cash money is always vulnerable to theft.

You could, of course, put your money in the bank like billions of other people, but what happens when those banks close, or their workers simply don’t show up for work during a major crisis? Well, that’s an easy answer; you’ll just swing by an ATM!

Whoops, except the ATM has already been drained of its meager funds, or broken into, or has no power, or is missing entirely, ripped off by opportunistic crooks taking advantage of the larger situation as a cover for their nefarious deeds.

You know what, why not just keep your money in a safe alongside your guns, jewels and important documents? That is a fine idea, and many people do.

The only problem is that large and conspicuous safes are one of the first targets for theft in a robbery or home invasion.

But that’s not a problem for you since you have your safe correctly anchored, bolted securely to the structural members of the home, right?

So long as you do, you don’t have to worry about the inconvenient fact that safes as heavy as 800 pounds are considered a man-portable to a team of crooks…

Why You Should Bury Some Cash

In the end, since we cannot trust the banks, we definitely cannot rely on ATMs and putting our cash money alongside our guns and other valuables in a single safe to hold it all is the classic folly of putting all your eggs in one basket.

We need a new plan if we want to be truly prepared for the worst conceivable scenario. This is where burying your money comes in, either all on its own or as part of a larger supply cache.

Burying money means that it will be extremely difficult to find and laborious to access for anyone who does not know its exact location.

Assuming you choose your hide location well, anyone who is trying to access it, or in danger of accidentally accessing it, will be highly visible and make a not-inconsiderable amount of noise.

If you are nearby this can afford you the opportunity to defend your treasure. With some smart materials selection, even a metal detector will be of no use in locating your money.

A buried stack of cash will not be lost if your entire house is ransacked by robbers or looters, burned down by fire, or blown away by high winds. If you site it correctly it will still be accessible in case of a flood, and can even survive the passage of fire over the soil above it.

Despite all of this, all you will need in order to access your cash is a little bit of time and a digging tool to speed things up.

But you will need to prep your cash correctly, waterproof it and place it in a heavy-duty sealed container in order for it to survive the ordeal.

Burying Cash Step by Step

Standard United States currency is made from cotton fiber paper, not wood fiber paper, and that means that it is highly resistant to deterioration from moisture, but it is definitely not invincible and it will disintegrate if immersed or kept wet over a long period of time.

Priority one when burying our cash, aside from keeping a precise track of its location of course, is to prevent water from reaching it. This is easier said than done, and though there are several methods of waterproofing cash none work better than the method I’m about to share with you below.

The steps you’ll follow, in order, are:

  1. Obtain Supplies
  2. Prep and Seal Cash Bundles
  3. Prep and Seal Container
  4. Select Location
  5. Map Location
  6. Emplace Cash Container
  7. Sanitize, Blend and Conceal Dig Site

You can find the details for each step just below.

Step #1. – Obtain Supplies

First you’ll need some supplies. Obtain the following before you begin:

  • Vacuum food sealer with heavy duty bags
  • Desiccant packs
  • Large diameter PVC pipe
  • PVC pipe end caps (matching diameter as piping above, get two per container you plan to bury)
  • PVC cement and/or sealer
  • Shovel

Once you have all of this, you are ready to get started.

Step #2. – Prep and Seal Cash Bundles

We will begin by gathering our cash. Try to make sure the bills you select are well and truly dry, in generally good condition and not stained or otherwise contaminated with any obvious gunk that could fester and spread while in storage underground.

Once you have your bills sorted and stacked to your satisfaction it is time to tie them into nice, tidy bundles. You can use rubber bands, steal some hair ties from your significant other (or just use your own, ladies) or use paper money bands for the purpose.

With that done, insert your stacks of cash into the vacuum bags without overcrowding them. You can fit between 4 and 6 stacks of cash (depending on thickness) in a standard gallon size vacuum seal bag.

Make sure they will fit into your PVC tube as arranged, and they are lined up tidy so they won’t jostle around forcing your machine to struggle when pulling all the air out of them.

Note: Do not insert desiccant pack into vacuum bag with cash- it will accumulate moisture which can damage your money!

Next, all you need to do is attach the bag to the vacuum sealer machine and pull all the air out of the bag.

Take the time to do this right and make your bags as compact and as rigid as possible. Air is the enemy in this case. Once you have however many bags of sealed cash stacks we are ready to go to the next step.

Step #3. – Prep and Seal Container

Now it is time to assemble and prep the PVC container we will actually bury. Start by cutting your tube to lengths long enough to fit your bundles of cash.

Once this is accomplished, take the time to sand, file and clean up the edges; this is mandatory to ensure a good watertight seal. The next step will depend on what adhesives you were able to obtain.

If you are able to get proper PVC cement, or another substance that will actually melt the two PVC pieces together somewhat, that is probably all you will need as a generous bead of this material will form a completely watertight bond after it activates.

If all you have is conventional glues and adhesives, you will need a heavy duty sealer to waterproof your container.

Following the instructions on the package, attach one PVC end cap, and let it set up completely before loading your cash. Toss a desiccant pack inside the tube (again, not your vacuum bag!) and once you are sure everything fits, attach the other end cap.

Seal all joints if not using self-sealing cement. The desiccant pack will intercept any moisture that is still in the tube or that makes its way in through your seals.

Keep in mind you might have to break open your container once you’ve recovered it. This will not be the hardest thing you have to do, so don’t worry about it.

Step #4. – Select Location

This is one of the most important steps in the entire operation. Selecting the burial site is of prime importance, as it will overwhelmingly determine how accessible and how secure your buried stash of cash is. This requires careful thought.

A location that is closer to your house, say in your backyard or somewhere on a larger parcel of land that you own, will enable you to get to your cash quicker assuming you are at home when you need to access it.

You also will not be dealing with any trespassing violations and will hopefully, nominally, be able to control who comes on to the property.

A more remote burial site can afford you some flexibility if you are caught away from your home or if the area all around your home is unsafe or otherwise inaccessible, but it is much harder to keep an eye on.

No matter where you decide to bury it, try to ensure that it is off any known trail or path that is frequented by people or animals, since erosion and activity will be more likely to reveal it.

You also want to choose a location that is not prone to flooding, not likely to be built over and not a popular destination for metal detecting enthusiasts, amateur archaeologists or intrepid mineralogists.

Generally speaking, you want a place that is out of the way, safe, and unlikely to be disturbed while still being easy to access when you need to.

Step #5. – Map Location

Now, before you bury your precious commodity, drop everything and map the location to the site!

I cannot tell you how many people I have talked to over the years who have, over time, found to their shock and horror that their memory grew a little hazy or the area they buried their cash in changed enough to completely flummox their efforts to find it.

While this will no doubt thrill and delight the person in the future who finds it, it is pure agony for the unfortunate prepper who literally threw money away.

Don’t let this happen to you! Create a map, notes, or even record exact GPS coordinates of where you buried the cash.

Take pictures of the route to it and the immediate area around it. Pay special attention to any immovable landmarks that will help you zero in on the exact burial site. Any and everything that will help you find it quickly and efficiently when the time comes.

A good tip would be to take a photo of your self right above the site where you should dig – no one will ever figure it out but you.

Now, you must of course take care to secure your notes and/or your map, has anybody who finds it will be off on a literal treasure hunt.

Step #6. – Emplace Cash Container

You have your cash prepped, the container ready for burying, the location selected and your route to and from the burial site mapped. Time to dig! Before you get started, you need to kick in some serious opsec.

OPSEC, or operational security is essential to ensure that no one overtly or clandestinely observes your activity. Nosy folks are the worst, and curiosity will, in this case, not kill the cat, but instead get the cat quite a payday if they care to come along behind you.

How you go about ensuring opsec is up to you. If you are on your property and have no neighbors to worry about you can probably dig anytime you want, though I would encourage you to do it after nightfall just in case someone is observing you from a long distance using optics.

Suburban preppers will need to time their digging when their neighbors aren’t around to observe them, or are otherwise distracted. Having a cover story handy just in case someone does see you and inquires about your diggings is also a good idea.

If you are burying your cash at a remote location that is in any way frequented by other people- hikers, campers, birdwatchers, etc. – you’ll need to give them the slip without being followed before you start digging.

Keep in mind that digging does make some noise, especially when you strike rocks, so ensure no one is within earshot additionally.

Disturbing the surrounding area as little as possible, dig down to a reasonable depth, at least several feet.

The closer your container is to the surface the more likely it is to be accidentally discovered or inadvertently revealed by activity or weather. Place your container in the hole, fill it back in and rejoice: you are almost done!

Step #7. – Sanitize, Blend and Conceal Dig Site

This is the final step, and a crucial one. You want to leave no trace of your digging, comings and goings, or at least leave as little trace as possible.

It would not do at this stage to have some inquisitive person, especially one who is alert to signs of human passage, pick up your trail or notice the conspicuously disturbed surroundings and start some investigation.

Spread out any excess dirt as well as you can. Try to make it match the surrounding dirt as closely as possible. Use branches with leaves on them, or any other convenient natural implement to break up your tracks and your tool marks.

Do the same for your tracks along the path you took coming in. If you move ground cover aside to dig scatter the same type of ground cover over your dig site.

Do not take any chances! There is no effort toward concealment or eradication of track or trace that is too small when it is in quest of protecting a large chunk of money!

Conclusion

Burying cash is not just for pirates; preppers can make good use of this ancient method of secretly and securely stashing money to serve as a hedge against loss when all other methods fail.

But you must pay close attention to good procedure, lest your stash of cash be destroyed by the elements or some other opportunistic sort who would have no qualms about making off with your loot.

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