How to Safely Hide Cash in Your Home

by Kevin Mercadante

There are any number of reasons why you may want to hide cash in your home. Banking developments in Cyprus and in other European countries might make you concerned about potential bank closings, and the need to have at least some cash on hand in the event that were to happen. You may also worry that some computer bug might infect ATM machines, making it impossible to withdraw money for a time. If you are concerned by these or other possibilities, you’ll need a plan to safely hide cash in your home.

Let’s consider some of the risks of hiding cash in your home, and how they can be reduced or even eliminated.

1. Protect Against Theft


You may not want to hide this much cash, but hiding some can be helpful when you need quick access to money.

This is probably the single biggest risk people consider when storing cash at home, and probably one of the major reasons why the banking system exists. The risk of theft of cash should always be a concern. While there is no foolproof way to completely protect from theft, there are certain steps you can take to minimize the risk.

Keep it quiet.

The less people who know you have cash in your house, the less likely it is that it will be stolen. If you let anyone know you have it – even casually to someone who you’re sure would never take it – you have effectively created a target. If somebody knows you have cash in your house, even though they may not ever try to steal it themselves, they can disclose it to a third party who would be less hesitant to try. The fewer people who know that you have cash in your house, the safer your money will be.

Hide it in a place no one else would think to look.

A wall safe, in a dresser drawer, in a jewelry box, or even in your freezer are all too cliché to be used as a storage place for cash. As a rule, if you have heard of a hiding place, you should cross it off your list. Thieves know all of the usual spots, so concentrate hard to discover the place that no one else would think of.

Never keep it where you have other valuables stored.

Cash should never be stored where you have jewelry, family heirlooms, or even important papers. The last one is really important – identity theft is a major problem today, and the last thing you want to do is leave a tip in cash for a thief who is looking to steal your identity.

2. Protect Against Discovery

If you have children, extended family members or others living with you, you’ll want to make sure that your cash is stored someplace where they won’t be tempted to take it. Let’s re-emphasize that you should not share details of your stash with anyone that you don’t want to have it, and that includes family and household members.

Beyond this advice, you should never store cash in common areas of the home that are accessed by other members of the household. Make sure that the cash is hidden out of the way, in places others have no reason to go. Not only will that prevent theft from within, but it will also go a long way toward preventing trust violations in the home.

3. Protect Against Fire

Next to theft, fire is probably the biggest threat to cash stored at home. At a minimum, you should want to keep your cash in a fireproof safe. But just understand that nothing is completely fireproof, and make sure that the allegedly fireproof container is also stored someplace that is not likely to catch fire in the first place.

4. Protect Against Disasters

This is a tough risk factor to overcome. An earthquake, hurricane, or major flooding could destroy your home and your cash along with it. There is no way to completely eliminate this risk – the best you can hope to do is to minimize it.

You can do this by hiding your cash in several places in your home. This will help protect your cash from a complete loss in the event that your home is only partially destroyed by the disaster. Beyond this, consider saving at least some of your cash off-site, such as a safe deposit box at the bank or other trusted location.

5. Protect Against Inflation

One of the biggest risks to cash is a silent one, and that is a lack of investment return. Here’s the problem . . . there is a thief known politely as inflation that steals the value of your assets even when you’re not aware that it is happening. Since cash provides no investment return, you are completely exposed to inflation risk.

There are a couple of ways you can minimize this risk, even if you can’t totally eliminate it. First, keep cash hidden at home to a minimum. Determine what is the least amount of cash you need to have in your possession to accomplish your stated goal – and keep no more than that at home. The less cash that you have a home, the less inflation risk you have.

Second, understand that return isn’t the motivation for hiding cash. Be clear of the reasons why you want to hide cash, and consider if they outweigh the risk of inflation eating up the value. In addition, you may want to make periodic increases in your cash to accommodate inflation. While you might be able to add some precious metals to your cash horde, they are not guaranteed to keep your cash safe from inflation.

Where would you recommend storing cash in your home, and how would you address the risks above? Leave a comment!

Photo Credit: noahwesley

Published or updated April 16, 2013.
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