If you are like most people, you probably think the best way to safely store large amounts of cash is in the bank. But you are not most people, and you know that banks do not typically store your cash as cash, converting it instead to electronic currency, but they will also be one of the first casualties in a societal collapse, meaning you will not be able to get your money back.
What, then, is the best and safest way to safely store large amounts of cash for dark days? Distribute your cash into multiple bundles in different locations – bury it, hide it inside book cases, furniture fixtures, or even in plain sight. This avoids the “all eggs in one basket” folly, and helps ensure you won’t lose it all in one shot due to theft or disaster.
In the remainder of this article we will discuss various considerations you should keep in mind before storing any amount of cash yourself and also offer you several effective methods for hiding your cash bundles.
Why Should I Hide My Cash at All?
As already mentioned, at the end of the day, you cannot trust banks. Not to say that they will steal from you (though they might, and have before), but it is simply not a good way to prepare financially for a true worst case scenario.
Cash is a vital prep, and one you must have on hand and ready to use, or travel with, as readily as anything else you own.
Additionally, by employing the methods recommended in this article, you will ensure that at least some of your cash will survive your home being thoroughly ransacked by burglars or looters, and will even survive the destruction of your home entirely.
Now, as with any physical commodity there’s only so much you can do to entirely prevent loss or destruction, but I can promise you you’ll be a lot better off and your money will be a lot safer than it would be in a big sack kept under the mattress or in your drawers beneath your socks.
With a little bit of ingenuity and extra effort you’ll be able to keep your nest egg or rainy day money safe, sound and close at hand.
Why Don’t I Just Stick It in a Safe?
It is true that you might rely on a strong box or safe to protect your money. Societies and people all across the world rely on exactly those containers as security solutions for all kinds of valuables, including cash and coins.
The problem is that the overwhelming majority of consumer safes are not proper safes or vaults at all, and are instead “residential security containers”. The corporate advertising double-speak tells you everything you need to know about how secure they really are…
It is true that a safe properly designed and constructed will provide your cash a significant degree of physical protection from degradation and damage, and potentially some protection against fire (at least for a time) but there are two major problems with safes for cash storage.
Safes Aren’t Good Enough On Their Own
The first is that safes are highly conspicuous unless the safe is itself also hidden. Crooks and looters both know that safes aren’t for storing gummy bears; they’re for storing valuables, and once they have located the safe they know that the prize is close at hand. In this way, the safe advertises the presence of valuables.
The second major problem with safes is that, much of the time, they are entirely vulnerable to being breached, or to being carted off in one piece for later opening.
Large safes, like typical gun safes, usually only offer their full protection rating when they are properly anchored into the floor and wall and usually then only from the front.
A couple of burglars using common power tools can often defeat a safe from the side given enough time, or even haul it away entirely.
No, safes have their place but if you really want to flummox the bad guys you will need to rely on clever storage solutions.
The Fix for Storing Cash Safely
If you want to step up your security when it comes to storing large amounts of cash, you’ll need to get clever. In the sections below you will find multiple methods for storing your cash.
Some are simpler, and others are more involved. Generally that means if they are easier for you to access they are also easier for potential thieves to access.
The point is that you should endeavor to spread your cash across at least two different hiding locations, so if one of them gets hit or otherwise taken out you won’t be left with an empty wallet when you need it the most.
The best results will typically come from employing multiple methods at the same time. Let’s get to it!
Method #1 – Bury It
Burying money is a time-honored method of keeping it safe from prying eyes and sticky fingers. If it was good enough for pirates, it’s good enough for us!
Properly burying your money is one of the most laborious but also most secure methods of storing it and if you do it well people will never even know it’s there, and won’t even know to look for it!
If you want to do a good job of it you’ll need to be prepared for a multi-step process. First you’ll need to prepare your money by sorting it into stacks, and then sealing it up inside a heavy duty, vacuum-packed bag.
Then you’ll need to place the packages inside some type of weatherproof container. Many people use heavy gauge PVC that is friction welded or chemically sealed for the purpose since it is completely impervious to water.
With that done now you’ll get on to the real work selecting your burial site, digging the hole then blending the dig site once the cash is in place.
There is a surprising amount of forethought that must go into this part since wherever you want to bury your money must be secure must ensure that the money will not be accidentally revealed, must be accessible no matter the time, and the weather and also must be left well enough alone.
You don’t want to run the risk that someone will develop the land where your cash is buried, and then plop a strip mall on top of it!
Don’t let the seemingly complicated task dissuade you – burying your cash is definitely a prepper approved method of storing it safely so long as you use a little common sense!
Method #2 – Set a Decoy Safe
As it turns out safes might be of some use to us after all one of the best ways to keep something hidden and safe is to convince people who would be looking for it that they already found it, even though what they found is a fake or is substantially less valuable than the goods kept in your actual hiding spot.
This is best accomplished by using a decoy. In our case, a decoy safe is exactly what it sounds like, a genuine safe that has some valuables and cash in it, or things that look like valuables or cash, which will prompt a burglar or a looter to leave while the leaving is good with the decoy in hand.
The notion is that there is no use sticking around for small potatoes once you already have the golden egg!
You might consider using stacks of one dollar bills, fake gold coins, fake jewelry and similar items to give your decoy safe some heft, and also to sell the illusion to the crooks that break into it on the spot.
Properly selling the decoy takes some finesse, and this is best employed in conjunction with other hiding places and techniques for storing your cash safely.
Method #3 – Book “Safe”
The book safe is a time-honored and time-tested method of hiding small valuables, including cash, in plain sight within a traditional residential or office setting.
The book safe is exactly what you already think it is, being a hollowed-out book that contains a small hidden compartment created by cutting away the interior of its pages. Bibliophiles, look away now!
From the outside, on either end, the book appears completely normal sitting on a shelf especially when placed among other books. It is only when it is opened that its alternate nature is revealed.
Book safes work best in a setting that already has a lot of books in it, and furthermore the book safe must be blended with the other books, size, color and style.
The more conspicuous your book safe is, the more vulnerable it is to discovery and, it should be noted that seasoned crooks will be well aware of the trope that the book safe represents.
This means if they don’t have to waste too much time knocking over a few books looking for one they likely suspect is there they are liable to, but if they have to root through shelf after shelf of books looking for a book safe that might or might not be there they are not likely to take the time.
Method #4 – In a Fixture
The average house or apartment actually furnishes many hiding places that are ideal for secreting away small items, such as bundles of cash.
It is an easy matter to utilize the space behind an electrical outlet, vents, registers, light fixture, plumbing installation or some other utility in the home for securing a small quantity of cash.
One alternate method is the installation of a dummy fixture one that is not operational, or at least not obviously operational, and serves instead only as a hidden cubby-hole that no one would think to check.
This approach is limited only by your imagination, and depending on how much cash you need to store or how many locations you desire you might attempt it with light switches, electrical access panels, spaces beneath a shower or hot tub and behind wall mounted sconces.
Just make sure you take a little care to protect and preserve the money you’ll be hiding, and don’t forget where you have it hidden!
Method #5 – Hidden Compartment
One of the best and most quintessential methods of hiding your cash is inside a proper hidden compartment.
Whether it is installed inside a wall, beneath the floor or even behind on existing closet and typically opening via a highly specific method, a properly crafted hidden compartment is seamless and virtually undetectable, meaning your cash will stay totally safe.
More than the other methods featured on this list installing a hidden compartment requires a fair bit of DIY skill, and scrupulous attention to detail. Any scene, any paint or any trim that is out of place could catch the eye of an attentive burglar, and draw them inexorably towards discovering you’re hidden hideaway.
Equal parts art and science, installing a hidden compartment is one of the single, best ways to keep your cash safe, and is the perfect hiding place for a large chunk of change.
Method #6 – Plain Sight
Sometimes the best and most ingenious methods of hiding something are the simplest. You can hide cash inside an empty box or package that people would not otherwise think to take, something like an empty Pop-Tart box in your pantry, or even stashed in a Ziploc bag placed inside a half empty package of peas in your freezer.
Even assuming the people looking for it know several good hiding places, they will spend a long time looking everywhere else before getting around to literally “combing the desert” and investigating every potential hiding place in your home.
This method is often easy to install, easy to access, and surprisingly secure. In fact, there’s a greater risk of losing your cash due to family members or guests accidentally throwing it away!
This is one method where you can really let your creativity run wild, and you should not discount any method out of hand. If it is stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid! The article linked above has many clever “in plain sight” hiding spots to get you started.
Storing large amounts of cash safely in and around your home is dependent upon keeping it completely hidden and also on redundancy. You don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket where it can be lost in one fell swoop through theft or accident.
On the other hand, your cash must still be accessible when you need it in times of trouble so striking a balance between security and accessibility is a must. But with a little patience and DIY spirit, you can be certain that you will have a prepper certified hiding place in no time.