7 Places Around The House To Stash Your Cash

Banks are great and all, but everyone should keep a little bit of emergency cash stashed somewhere at home. Frugal Dad offers up a list of seven hiding spots that should beat all but the most determined thieves.

1. The Freezer: Wrap your cash in aluminum foil and stick it in a ziplock bag.
2. Picture Frames: Slice apart the cardboard backing and insert the cash.
3. Under Heavy Things: Place the cash in an envelope and slide it under the corner of something heavy, like a piano or entertainment center.
4. Soup Cans: Why buy one of those fake-bottom cans when you just re-use one of your own?
5. Fake Plants: Put the cash in a ziplock bag and bury it in the fake soil of one of your fake plants.
6. Books: Improve the worst book in your collection with a knife. Hollow out the core and hide the cash inside.
7. Toys: Hide the cash in an old toy your kids don’t use anymore, and bury the toy at the bottom of the toy chest.

Of course, any household location can work just fine. The real trick is remembering which hiding place you chose. Send yourself an email with the location—if the thieves have broken into both your email accounts and your home, then really, all is lost.

Seven Secret Places To Hide Cash In Your Home [Frugal Dad]
(Photo: fazen)

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  1. wrjohnston19283 says:

    Just be careful not to place a “fake item” in an obvious place. My grandparents have one of those fake lettuce containers in a fridge in their inlaw apartment – problem in, the only other items in the fridge are drinks – nothing perishable. The lettuce looks INCREDIBLY out of place. Also, they keep the lettuce empty.

  2. azntg says:

    Just remember that trash cans are usually not a good place to stash cash because even if YOU remember the location, someone else taking out the trash may not know (especially if you have one of them neat freak friends coming over and all that)

    • OprahBabb says:

      @azntg: Yeeeeaaaaa…..somehow I don’t think this will become an issue. Thanks.

      • Anonymous says:

        @OprahBabb: You’d THINK it wouldn’t be an issue, but my wife used to work in IT. She’d have to fix a computer that was running slow, and one of the first things she’d do was empty the computer’s trash can as well as the trash folder in Outlook.

        And that’s how she found out that some people actually do store important files and emails in the trash.

        They’re idiots, yes, but the warning not to do it with a real garbage can is a fair one.

      • TheWillow says:

        @OprahBabb: I was staying at my aunt’s when I was between apartments and her housekeeper threw out the bag I left in what I thought was just a wicker basket – containing my passport, birth certificate, etc.

        So… it happens.

  3. MedicallyNeedy says:

    What cash?

  4. crabbygeek says:

    I hide my cash in a… Wait for it… A bank!

    But seriously I use one of the suggestions above (i’d tell you but then… well you know)

    I like the freezer and fake plant idea’s, and will have to give them a try as I have two freezers and lots of fake plants.

    But I’m thinking the best way is to use a safe that is bolted down to the floor. Because if a thief finds a stash odds are they will trash your house (more than they would have normally) looking for more. (I used to watch “To Catch a Thief” on Discovery, loved that show)

    • The Black Bird says:

      @crabbygeek: I was also thinking about a bolted-down safe. It should be one that would be extremely difficult for a thief to open plus have the ability to protect whatever is in it from heat and fire.

      I’d have one if I had something to put in it. :)

    • P_Smith says:

      @crabbygeek: And what if a “Katrina” situation happens and all the ATMs are down and the banks closed in the vicinity? What if you need a small amount of cash to get to the next town where you can get more later?

      • crabbygeek says:

        @P_Smith: I said I used one of those solutions listed… for my emergency cash.

        • DaveDidNotPay says:

          @crabbygeek:

          If it’s just a small amount of emergency cash is there really a need to hide it?

          I can see if you live in an area where you get robbed on a regular basis but most insurances will cover a small amount of cash. I imagine chances are the thief would take something else as well, justifying an insurance claim.

      • ShadowFalls says:

        @P_Smith:

        Hurricanes don’t just pop out of nowhere, you have advance notice. When one is coming, you go to the bank and make a withdraw?

        • HiPwr says:

          @ShadowFalls: You also flee the area, but how many idiots in New Orleans didn’t even do that.

          • P_Smith says:

            @HiPwr: Is that you, Newt Gingrich?

            What’s next out of your mouth? “It was a failure of citizenship” or “the poor’s own fault they don’t own cars”?

            Nice to know you’re a civilized human being. 9_9

            • HiPwr says:

              @P_Smith: There were ways out despite their mayor’s moronic decision to let all those school busses get water-logged in the parking lot. I’m betting that the hurricane wasn’t a surprise to the majority of them. They only had like seven days warning.

            • HiPwr says:

              @P_Smith: Also – did you see the pictures of the destruction in NO? Did you happen to notice all of those metal things on the streets? They call those “cars”. Cars ruined by the water that EVERYONE knew was coming.

              • sinfonian94 says:

                @HiPwr: Actually…. Katrina itself wasn’t the problem in New Orleans. It was the levees. They didn’t break the night of Katrina. They broke the next day. And it WAS a sudden surprise.
                Brought to you by History. Get to know it.

                • HiPwr says:

                  @sinfonian94: It may have been a surprise to you and maybe even to the city of New Orleans. However, I don’t think it was much of a surprise because the city urged people to evacuate. Why would they do that if no one suspected that the levees would have problems? There has been discussion of the inadequacy of those levees for literaly decades.

                • HiPwr says:

                  @sinfonian94: That may have been a little history you missed out on.

                • stopNgoBeau says:

                  @sinfonian94: It wasn’t a surprise. We’ve been talking about possible levee breeches for years. When it finally happened, the only ones who were surprised were the ones who refused to listen to common sense.

                • Andrew Farris says:

                  @sinfonian94: You make it sound as if that is the first time a levee has ever broken in New Orleans. The fact is the city lies beneath sea level, and is CONTINUALLY pumped to maintain seepage… we all know if a hurricane lands anywhere near New Orleans then people are getting wet. The question is how wet, not if. The extent of levee damage was a surprise, not whether there would likely be some.

          • Trai_Dep says:

            @HiPwr: Sigh. Trolling on the weekends, Brutus?

            • HiPwr says:

              @Trai_Dep: You and I know that there is at least one of your personalities that agrees with everything I say.

              The sane ones.

            • Corporate_guy says:

              @Trai_Dep: Why are you calling the person speaking common sense the troll?

              P_Smith is the one who hijacked the thread and is the one speaking garbage.

              • Trai_Dep says:

                @Corporate_guy: Using Katrina as an example of an unexpected (in scope, severity, preparedness) catastrophe seems to be a fair rationale for keeping cash at hand, no?

                • bwcbwc says:

                  @Trai_Dep: Actually, for any hurricane, it’s recommended to have a week’s supply of cash (including stuff you’d normally buy with a CC). After a hurricane, cash is king even if you don’t evacuate.

          • snowburnt says:

            @HiPwr: going along with that, if you don’t flee, what if your house…and your stash get washed away?

        • snowburnt says:

          @ShadowFalls: Tornados and flash floods can hurt too, but then it’ll probably only hit your house…and wash or blow away your hidden stash in the process.

        • stuny says:

          Tell that to all the people hit by the blackout in the Northeast a few years ago…@ShadowFalls:

    • Kevin Kelly says:

      @crabbygeek: kinda obvious but…. doesn’t anyone think thieves will read the article and now look in those places for the extra cash?

    • Jeremiah Hendon says:

      @crabbygeek: I occassionally watch this tv show called “It takes a thief,” in which some ex-housebreakers break into people’s homes to show them just how insecure they really are, then fit the whole place with security. Two common themes:

      1- They always check the freezer, and usually come away with bundles of cash. I don’t know why this is supposed to be a good hiding place, but odds are that it’s just as common with thieves as it is with people suggesting good places to hide them.

      2- They always give the people a safe, bolted to the floor of a closet, and then chastise them about not leaving the combination on the safe.

  5. maruawe42 says:

    well you just named the most places where a thief would look……There are places in an apartment or house that
    would be better Like maybe a hollow flash drive or an old hard disk , old mouse … I don’t keep money at the house except for what’s in my wallet(usu. less than fifty) That’s what a safety deposit box is for. I have two and the cost is less than $100.00 per year. And I carry a debit card. Safety is the best policy…. PS my house is protected by Smith and Wesson I practice twice a week and have a 99+% shooting score… Ok I’m older and have the time now but I have been shooting since I was 5 or 6 (60+ years)been in the military where I was a sniper. If you don’t have these skills get a safety deposit box….protect your family and yourself…….

    • Julia789 says:

      @maruawe42: I recommend a dog with a nice bark, in addition to other measures. All but the most professional thieves will skip a house with a dog in favor of the one down the street with no dog to bite them or draw attention to them. A dog will hear someone breaking in long before a person does, and alert the homeowner. This will give you precious minutes of time to call police and prepare to defend yourself.

      However, I would note that a good majority of thefts are not the breaking and entering kind. Many thefts are done by visiting nurses aides, cleaning companies, service tech people, maintenance workers, landlords, etc. The key here is being around when people are in your home.

      For me this is hard. I live in condominiums that are undergoing major interior and exterior renovations. Our super has a key to every unit and various workman are coming and going as they please. During this construction, I’ve also had to keep my dog locked up in a bedroom so he doesn’t go after the workmen. When I do so, I put all the valuables in the same room as the dog, with a large warning sign on the door. “Do not open, dog will bite!”

      • BustangBetty says:

        @Julia789: Unless you have insurance for your dog, having a sign up stating your dog will bite only ensures that if your house does get broken into and the jerk isn’t bright enough to stay away then you may be liable for whatever the dog does to said jerk. Do you remember the guy who broke into a lady’s apartment, she stabbed him with a knife and he sued her and won! Well the same might happen to you.

        “Nice bark” most dogs all they have is their bark. It really isn’t a deterrent as much as you think it is. I have been around some really big and barky dogs (junk yard and warehouse dogs) and most people are fearful of them yes… but the bigger pictures is one knee will take them down in an instant. There are more ways to protect oneself from an angry dog and I bet that some thieves know the tricks of the trade.

        • HogwartsAlum says:

          @BustangBetty: “Do you remember the guy who broke into a lady’s apartment, she stabbed him with a knife and he sued her and won! Well the same might happen to you.”

          Not if I kill him.

        • CumaeanSibyl says:

          @BustangBetty: I don’t think the point of the dog is to actually attack, the point of the dog is to make a whole bunch of noise. The intruder won’t be scared off as in “oh no, dog’s gonna bite me,” but he’ll probably be uncomfortable trying to break into a house when there’s a dog waking up the neighborhood.

      • usa_gatekeeper says:

        @Julia789: The warning sign is only in English?

        • Julia789 says:

          @usa_gatekeeper: Yes, the construction workers our property manager hired to renovate the building all speak English, they are all local union guys. Why do you ask?

      • realserendipity says:

        @Julia789:
        Your sign saying that your dog will bite could in the end cause more trouble than it solves. From a liability viewpoint that sign says that you know your dog is dangerous so when it bites law enforcement, insurance companies, and lawyers will use it to say that you knowingly owned a vicious animal and endangered lives. I see it far too often in my work as insurance agent.

        • Julia789 says:

          @realserendipity: That is very helpful, thanks. Maybe I’ll just change the sign to “Do not open door – dog will get out” to keep the construction workers out of the bedroom without inviting a lawsuit. The dog escaping is a worry of mine, with workman coming in and out of the condo, so it is a legitimate concern.

          • outoftheblew says:

            @Julia789: In my area, when a dog is known to bite (has done it before, but not enough to be required to get put down), a homeowner is required to put up a “Beware Of Dog” sign. Might be good in your case. It’s not admitting any knowledge of danger … just that there’s a dog and one should be aware of it. *shrug*

            • Julia789 says:

              @outoftheblew: Another good point, thanks. Yes, I’m torn between the potential liability of having a “beware of dog” sign that could make me appear to harbor a “dangerous dog” (in my case, to warn workman who are in my house where the dog is locked up) and the liability of NOT warning them.

              I suppose the loud dog barking behind a closed door would be warning enough that it would be pretty stupid to open that door! Perhaps a sign is redundant. Of course, if I’m not home, they could always say “there was no warning the dog came out of nowhere.” I’ve asked the superintendent, who accompanies the workers in, to be careful not to let the dog out.

              My dog has not bitten anyone before, but he is very protective of the house (barking, growling, etc.) and I think he would if I was not there to tell him to back off. That is why I keep him locked in one bedroom during this construction renovation when workmen are coming in.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      @maruawe42: but when, say, a major hurricane comes and you have to evacuate – there’s no time for a safety deposit box.

    • thaShady says:

      @maruawe42: I have a Pit Bill/German Shepard mix. He’s a beast. I don’t expect him to stop any intruders, just give me enough notice to switch off the safety…

  6. EllenRose says:

    Well, the freezer didn’t work for Jefferson…

  7. sponica says:

    I have an elephant, a bear, and bart simpson to protect my random money. I figure when they are full of spare change, it will be time to cash them in. But you know, robbers would have to get past the scary looking hound/shepard/rottweiler mix. I know he’s harmless, but most other people don’t.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @sponica: That’s why I keep a Bengal Tiger in my flat. Although I have to rub under his ear for damned near an hour before he’s calm enough for me to perform deposits/withdrawals.

    • trunkwontopen says:

      @sponica: I would just hide the money in your dog :) No one would ever think to look there.

  8. Vengefultacos says:

    Is it only me who can think of scenarios where each of these things could be tossed out by someone trying to clean house (ala the woman who tossed her mom’s cash-filled mattress)? Well, picture frames, maybe not… unless someone breaks the frame and tosses it without rescuing the photo (“oh, it’s a digital print… I’ll just print a new one…”). “Unlabeled thing in the fridge/freezer? Who knows how long that’s been there… toss it, whatever it is…” “Say, that soup is waaay past expiration…”

    • BustangBetty says:

      @Vengefultacos: I could see my husband trying to open the can of soup (even if it is past the expiration date) and realizing that it really is just a place to hide money.

      I did try the toy idea once… my son found the money and came to me and said “Look mum, the Easter bunny left me lots of dollars!!!” Yea, never doing that one again. Old or not kids like their toys.

      I hide my money in the garage, in my husband’s tool chest of all places. Since I am the only one with a key to that particular drawer no one but me can access it.

      • bbb111 says:

        @BustangBetty:
        I hide my money in the garage, in my husband’s tool chest of all places. Since I am the only one with a key to that particular drawer no one but me can access it.

        Not a good idea because tool chests are often taken when someone breaks into the garage. Tools are easy to fence or sell at flea markets. If it is a big one and/or bolted down, it might be harder to steal, but that also indicates that it has good stuff in it. The locked drawer will deter the opportunist thief that just runs in and quickly grabs a few tempting items, but the experienced house burglar knows what is valuable (and easily sellable) plus most work when you are away, so they have time to pry open locked drawers and dump out freezers, underwear drawers, and whatever “hiding places” are being sold in the magazines lately.

    • ajlei says:

      @Vengefultacos: The mattress incident immediately came to mind for me.

    • ajlei says:

      @Vengefultacos: Not to mention the fact that I could probably hide money on the kitchen counter and robbers would steal my tv/xbox/computer first :/

      • aliasmisskat says:

        @ajlei: True fact. When I was a kid, my family came back from vacation to find the back door ajar, and our tv, cable box, and VCR gone. What was left? The hundred dollar bill on the desk in the living room, just a few feet away from the TV.

        • AppleAlex says:

          @aliasmisskat:
          about 2 months ago I found my MacBook, iPod, and game systems missing. what didn’t the thief take?, the charger for the MacBook

          • NatalieErin says:

            @AppleAlex: In college someone got into my dorm room and took my boyfriend’s PSP, but ignored the cord for the PSP and the two laptops sitting about 6 feet away.

    • Kevin L. Hudson says:

      @Vengefultacos: I had the same concern, so I was liking the soup can idea because of the weight difference. Someone cleaning up would notice, but I doubt most thieves are checking all non-perishables (except the ones reading this thread. LOL A couple of other ideas I have heard of: If you have a file cabinet, cut and staple some hanging folders so they only hang down about 2″, then fill them with 2″ strips of paper to look full. The space below these is a good place for valuables you need to keep at home. Think of places you would look before throwing something out such as bottoms of dining chairs/tables, bottom of a lamp, or back of a curtain where is only faces the wall. Things to keep in these places include checkbooks, passports, credit cards you don’t carry but keep, medicines, etc. How many of these are in plain sight in a desk drawer right now?

  9. Radi0logy says:

    Number 7 sounds chancy… but I guess if your kids all of a sudden buy an expensive new bike you know where they got the money for it

  10. Craysh says:

    All the places mentioned are places that burglars check in passing, they don’t even think about it. Watch a couple episodes of “It Takes a Thief.”
    The best place to stash money in your house is in a place where you can’t get to it easily.
    If it’s a large amount of cash, pull down a wall, put the money behind it, and dry wall it. If you need the money in a hurry you can always break it down. (yes I’m serious)
    If you have a small amount of money, put it in your freaking wallet.
    If you want to add to the money on a regular basis, go to a bank.
    If you want to add to the money from questionable sources, go to a Swiss bank.

    • Coles_Law says:

      @Craysh: It Takes a Thief was a great show. I know as soon as I own anything worth protecting, I’m getting a bolted-down floor safe.

    • kenboy says:

      @Craysh: The in the wall idea isn’t bad and gives me an idea. In my house, I have a bunch of old telephone jacks that I long ago (before wi-fi) ran ethernet cables to — so the jacks have no voltage at all in them. It would be pretty easy to hide wads of cash, pieces of jewelery, etc in one or more of them. When you need it, just a couple of quick turns with a screwdriver and you’re in.

      Actually, a couple of rooms have double jacks (the size of two side-by-side electrical outlets) in them, with two network and two phone jacks in them, but nothing plugged into them anymore — it’d be really easy to take out all the wires (freeing up even more space) and you could put whatever you needed in there.

    • lockdog says:

      @Craysh: If you don’t want to tear down the wall, just work loose some baseboard. Especially if you are in an old house with tall baseboards. Cut out the drywall behind the baseboard to access the stud cavity (you’ll lose 2 inches due to the thickness of the bottom plate). Replace the baseboard with a thin line of latex caulk, or even several strong magnets mounted in the wall and baseboard.

    • Joey_Brill says:

      @Craysh:

      If you have a large amount of money, you gently pry away the baseboard from an interior wall, keyhole a two inch by six inch slot in the drywall, throw money in slot, and replace the baseboard.

      Another good one is under carpet in an unused corner of a common area.

      Hiding things from myself and others was an art I picked up years ago when I smoked the doobage.

      • Shadowfire says:

        @Joey_Brill: Also, remove a door hinge from the frame and cut a small slit in that area. Stick some cash in there.

        Got a light fixture? Pull it down, and hide cash up inside of it.

        Seriously, the ideas stated in the linked article are terrible. A good thief knows where to look for hides. If you want to really make it difficult to steal, you need to make it a pain in the ass for you to get it too.

        • Englishee Teacher says:

          @Shadowfire: The light fixture thing worked pretty damn well for Karla Holmolka… if the cops had found those videotapes when they originally searched the place she’d still be in jail.

    • BadHairLife says:

      @Craysh: This is correct. Our neighbours had a break-in that took place over less than 20 minutes. The thieves demolished the fridge, freezer, pantry and plants, and knocked over all of the larger furniture.

      The cops said that it was because these are places that people commonly hide money.

      They had even gutted the baby’s room.

      It was horrifying. They had to sleep at our place that night because their house was too wrecked.

    • EllaMcWho says:

      @Craysh: put what ever you put in the wall within a thick tupperware box – making it easy to retrieve. My husband’s favorite critter story involves a nest made of shredded 20′s.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Craysh: I second. All of these places are pretty obvious for even non-experienced thieves. Especially the freezer. I’m not really sure why anyone would ever want/need to keep more than $500 cash at any given time. There’s banks, investments (if the Stock Market is too risk, get a CD (Certificate of Deposit) or an IRA), etc.

    • jswilson64 says:

      @Craysh: When we remodeled a bathroom a couple years ago, I had to move an electrical outlet that was behind the tub in my son’s room. Rather than patch the now-empty hole in the wall, he and I made a “safe” in the now-empty electrical box. He can hide his spare cash, and just needs a screwdriver to remove the cover.

    • jswilson64 says:

      @Craysh: p.s. – get into Geocaching for a few months, and you’ll figure out all kinds of non-obvious hides…

  11. Tvhargon says:

    I hide my cash in a… Wait for it… The Stock Market!

    it’s much safer than all of your archaic money hiding locations.

    Wasn’t there a story about this lady that hid her money in a box of crackers, and then took the box back to the store because the crackers were stail, but she forgot that the money was there. She did end up getting the money back. I did a quick google, and couldn’t find the link.

    • David Eckert says:

      @Tvhargon:

      Well, the point is, what if you need it quickly? Like, in minutes? What if something happens at the bank (like a fraud hold on your debit card or something) and you don’t have access to your checking account? This isn’t for storing a million dollars of retirement like that lady and her mattress in Israel. This is emergency cash for people that don’t have credit cards or multiple bank accounts.

      • allthoseships says:

        @David Eckert:
        that’s why you have your emergency fund at a different financial institution. don’t put all your eggs in one basket! look at the people that invested ALL their money with Madoff…

    • outlulz says:

      @Tvhargon: You’re probably the only one in this economic climate saying the safest place for their money is in the stock market.

  12. McGilli says:

    I have some removable hard drive bays in an old desktop pc in a storage room – the kind that you need a special key to remove the trays from. I just keep the trays for the hard drive empty, put cash in there – and then lock them into the computer. Usually computers are the first to get stolen – but this is like a 486dx with parts missing so i’m not too worried!

  13. JuliB says:

    My book shelves are overflowing (with more than just books, but still there are a lot of books). I hide cash in a couple of “random” books that have meaning to me.

    Even though I know where the money is, just looking at the bookshelves overwhelms me. Yes, I follow some organizing and clutter blogs.

    • EllaMcWho says:

      @JuliB: yeah, don’t do that – i work at a used book store & you know how many people we give their secret stashes back to? All of them, when I’m on shift – and it’s between 10 and 15 instances a month. When I’m not on shift, who knows…

  14. Skaperen says:

    I have no idea where my emergency cash is. I just let Kitty keep it somewhere for me. Then if I need cash, I just tell him we’re out of Fancy Feast.

  15. B1663R says:

    ummm… let’s see…

    - toilet tank (ziplock and tape either right behind it or on the lid after you lift it up)
    - cold air return vent
    - dummy electrical socket
    - inside a pot light (slide it out and toss cash behind it, put back light)

    and that is about all i can come up with

    • krista says:

      @B1663R: If by pot light you mean a recessed can light, that could be a fire hazard. And I think even opportunistic thieves know about the toilet tank trick – any visitor to your home can go in there and be undisturbed for several minutes. I have opened up the toilet tank in other people’s homes before when they didn’t flush properly.

  16. JulesNoctambule says:

    I find a box of tampons makes a great hiding place. Most people won’t touch it, and since I don’t actually use them, only I know the box is out of place!

    • Erin Cummins says:

      @JulesNoctambule: Until a female friend comes over and needs one… or worse! One of your male friend’s girlfriends! then they have no emotional ties to you and don’t mind stealing from you!

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        @Erin Cummins: . . .except for the fact that the box isn’t kept where people can easily access it, and the products I actually use are. What kind of people do you keep company with, anyway?

  17. temporaryerror says:

    They forgot “in a coffee can in the back yard”!

  18. ovalseven says:

    Does anyone have Frugal Dad’s address?

  19. Ed Greenberg says:

    It’s probably not a good idea to hide your valuables in any place that was recently publicised on a popular blog.

    • chocolate1234 says:

      @Ed Greenberg:
      I was thinking the same thing.

    • crunchberries says:

      @Ed Greenberg: Ahh, a fresh breath of common sense. Thanks, Ed.

    • krista says:

      @Ed Greenberg: Most people already know about the fake outlet, soda can or hollowed out book hiding places, but I doubt many thieves take the time to unscrew every outlet, shake every can or flip through every book to see if you’ve hidden something there, not to mention all of your CD or DVD cases, etc.

      • Wombatish says:

        @krista: They steal the DVDs to hawk them and they knock the bookcase over to see if you taped anything on the back, and money comes tumbling out.

        Hide stuff in uncommon and un-noticeable places, if you’re going to hide it at all and not get a good safe. And not something that will be tossed out or destroyed on accident, either.

        (Hint: A lot of lamp bases unscrew, etc. The thief may knock the lamp off the table, but I would be surprised if they took the time to unscrew the base, especially since the big screen TV, computers, etc are all sitting out in plain view. But that’s what renters insurance is for.)

  20. azzie says:

    Be extremely careful if you have grown-up children or close relatives… who might care enough for you to through away a soup can past expiration day, give their old toys to salvation army, or make a birthday present in a form of updated home library…

    It would be painfully disappointing to repeat the experience of this woman:

    [Woman mistakenly junks $1 million mattress]

    [www.msnbc.msn.com]

    And again, a bank or US treasures makes a decent choice unless you have problems with IRS.

  21. Bob Lu says:

    3.

    What if the piano get stolen?

    “Hey, this piano comes with extra cash!”

    • satoru says:

      @Bob Lu: Have you ever tried to move a piano? I’m assuming he’s talking about a real one and not an electric Yamaha or something (even though those are still kinda expensive). It’s not easy to move a baby-grand piano, and even harder to fence the thing, since I don’t know too many petty thieves that are into Bach.

      The idea with 3 is to put it under or inside something that is heavy and undesirable for thieves. Most thieves want to be in and out very quickly so will look for easy to access, light, and expensive objects to maximize their profits.

    • GreatWhiteNorth says:

      @Bob Lu: Does the piano also come with a hernia truss? The thief is going to need it.

  22. KCChiefsFan says:

    Hiding cash is a bad idea. Why? You’ll forget where it is, and years later you’ll discover the money you had hidden, and could probably have used at some point over the past years. This happened to a relative of mine (it was a sizable sum, I don’t remember it exactly, but it was multiple thousands) and I’m sure it has happened to many, many more people.

    The best place to hide money is in a safe. Period. The overhead cost of a safe that bolts to the floor will easily be made up for by the decades of use you’ll get out of it for everything from financial documents to birth certificates, and everything in between. What I wouldn’t suggest is a non-bolted safe, since it could easily be picked up and carted off (unless it’s enormous; think gun safe enormous).

    • Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

      @KCChiefsFan: I’m sure my landlord would love it if I bolted a safe to their concreet slab.

      I keep my money in the bank.

  23. FriarJohn says:

    Yeah, the trick is definitely remembering where you put it all and maybe documenting it somewhere in case you die. When my parents were newlyweds in ’63 they bought a little house, semi-furnished. My mother pulled a framed picture off the wall to replace the photo, only to find a stash of cash inside. They promptly tore everything apart and gathered up hundreds of dollars. Nice little extra wedding present. IIRC, the PO died but didn’t tell anyone about their “emergency fund” and didn’t have a will.

  24. balthisar says:

    Black facemask? Check.
    Bolt cutters? Check.
    Non-fingerprint-leaving gloves? Check.
    My checklist from the Consumerist? Check ;-P

  25. Swearengen says:

    Yeah, and how many people forget that they stashed cash somewhere in the house? You hear stories all the time about people finding cash in homes, because the people died and no one else knew about it or because they completely forgot about it themselves and sold the house. Here’s a tip, keep it in the bank, and you can get it by going to the ATM, and you might even get some interest on it while it is there. If the zombie apocalypse happens, that cash you have stashed in your fake can of beans is going to be worth less than an actual can of beans.

    • MagicJewball says:

      @TancredoHelmer:

      Tell me about it. I hid my jewelry during recent renovations and I still haven’t found it. I fear the workers did but until I really remember where I put it, I can’t accuse anyone and now they are long gone.

      It makes me sick but I may have lost all my jewelry.

    • knackeredmom says:

      @TancredoHelmer:
      My mother died of cancer several years ago. She had hiding places throughout the house, so she left notes for me when she realized the end was coming. In some of her personal effects she left a list a potential places. In some of those places were other notes leading to yet more cash and jewelry. Though she was pretty thorough, I still don’t know whether we found it all or not. Had she died suddenly, rather than from a long illness, we might not have found as much as we did. If you hide stuff, leave a detailed note with documents your successors can find, preferably with the legal documents you’ve drawn up.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @TancredoHelmer:
      Why can’t this happen in MY house? I have an old Fifties bungalow, belonged to a little old lady. It’s a cheap tract house and is beginning to fall apart, and hasn’t been redecorated since the 60s (I did rip up the turquoise carpet when I moved in).

      I’m going home and pulling all the baseboards off!

  26. Spaceboy says:

    I have a Husky and a German Shepherd/Beagle mix. Most people are intimidated by the Husky, even though’s he’s friend. The German Shepherd mix is the tough one, but she’s tiny. Either way, they unconsciously guard the house when we’re not home. As others mentioned, a have protection for when I’m home in the form of a handgun. Also, plenty of locks on the door, beware of dog signs, keeping reachable windows locked and not being too flashy make my home pretty safe. They’d have to pretty determined to enter through the back – they won’t reach anything valuable until passing through 2 locked doors. Once they pass the doors, there’s a dog waiting for them. The barks would probably stop them before they get further. Best bet would be the front windows but then there are 2 dogs that would hear the burglar and quickly make him doubt that it’s worth it.

    I like the freezer idea. I was planning on keeping about $100 on hand in case of a natural/man-made disaster.

  27. P_Smith says:

    I keep $500 in emergency money as travellers’ cheques in my bedroom desk. I can get the money back if they’re stolen, so I don’t worry about thieves.

    My more immediate concern is keeping my ATM card, ID and passport safe for everyday use. I can always access more money as long as I have those.

    • BrazDane says:

      @P_Smith: You may want to reconsider that. As one who has tried to use traveller’s cheques here in the US in several places, most attendants have no clue about them and prefer to refuse them just because it is easier. Considering what you would need in an emergency is likely to be stuff like gas and other stuff from small stores, you could easily see your cheques refused – especially if they are $100 ones – it would require you to get back so much change in some cases that they could refuse you on those grounds. Besides, most places they will want to see some form of ID with the cheques, which renders them useless w/o it – not so with cash.
      On the other hand, traveller’s cheques are great for the built-in protection – i.e. if they burn with your house or get stolen in a burglary/robbery, you don’t even need to fight the insurance company, just call up AMEX and get new ones.

      • P_Smith says:

        Ah, but I’m also the sort who has emergency supplies ready year round: canned food, bottled water, radio, batteries, a gas stove, a packed “go bag”, etc.

        @BrazDane: Besides, most places they will want to see some form of ID with the cheques, which renders them useless w/o it – not so with cash.

        Hence why I said I’m more protective of my ATM card, passport and ID. And as for TC denominations, it’s mostly $50s, but $20s and $100s as well. They’re leftovers from previous holidays, and since TCs don’t have an expiration date, why not use them this way?

        I’ve never seen a hotel or motel turn its nose at TCs when I pay for multiple nights. On top of that, I’ve usually got $50-100 in bills in my wallet at any time.

  28. twophrasebark says:

    Sorry to be mean, but this is the worst list I have ever read of places to hide money.

    Has Frugal Dad ever watched television? He made a list of all the places the thieves look!

  29. Tijil says:

    Down in the laundry room I have a section of drain pipe in the wall, capped top and bottom with one of those clean-out plugs sticking out of the wall.

    Quick and easy to access.

    Amazing how much stuff one can keep in there, and people generally don’t open what they think are sewer pipes…

    • econobiker says:

      @Tijil: I will remember that one. Just make sure the plumbers know where the real clean out is or you risk giving them a large tip…

  30. Tim says:

    There’s always money in the banana stand …

  31. Dilbitz says:

    Number one is just a bad idea unless you let EVERYONE in the household know it is there. My dad did that with $8,000, and didn’t tell anyone and then my mom decided to clean out the freezer. Bye-bye….

  32. jp says:

    I’m too broke to keep extra cash around.

  33. metaslugx says:

    Note to self, check these locations when stealing…

  34. ShadowWylde says:

    I guess people are missing the point of having emergency cash. In the event of a disaster, i.e. hurricane, tornado, or earthquake where there will likely be no electricity to power ATMs, debit card readers, etc. you should have cash in order to acquire necessities.

    A market arises of those who have for a price in cash things you want, like water, firewood, rice, and other staples. Having money in your bank isn’t going to do any good when you can’t withdraw.

    As for stashing my emergency funds I have found using an empty tampon box in the bathroom works pretty well.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @ShadowWylde:

      Walgreens took a check in the ice storm in January 2007. They were open and checking people out with flashlights and calculators. I can’t speak for other stores, however, who might not be open in the middle of a disaster.

  35. Paul Keleher says:

    I didn’t rtfa, but are they saying in my cat’s ass?

  36. pollyannacowgirl says:

    Hide it in a Bible.

    The people who open a Bible won’t steal.

    And the people who would steal won’t think to open a Bible.

    (Read this in Reader’s Digest a billion years ago)

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @pollyannacowgirl: Reader;s Digest would say so. Clueless.

      Next time you have a spare minute, check the proportion of Christians to atheists in jails, why don’t you.

  37. NewsMuncher says:

    The #1 thing that keeps going through my mind is how vulnerable cash is to fire. If I was stashing metals, jewels, maybe, but I would want my cash in something that I knew would not burn. I could see putting one of the small fire safes behind a wall – then you would know that you stuff would be hidden, as well as fully bug, water, and fireproof. I agree with the ‘bolted down safe’. And training my kids to stay far far far away from the b*gg**.
    Plastic bags eventually break down, and can expose your goods to air and other biological/chemical agents that can eat them. Regular plastic bags are not that robust, and things can leech through them. When I do henna, I put the newest mix in a plastic bag to keep it from drying out, then put it on a paper towel. When the paper towel turns orange, I know the dye is being released. There are plastic bags that are sold at camping stores that are “guaranteed” waterproof and such, but if the goods are vulnerable to being forgotten, I’m not sure I would trust even those.
    I find that homeowners/renters insurance to be very important, and to keep a record of my goods in a place that is safe from fire/water damage.

  38. MooseOfReason says:

    Or you could try fake wall outlet:

    [www.thinkgeek.com]

    It looks exactly like a regular outlet.

  39. StanTheManDean says:

    Fake electrical outlets.

    Bought up bunch of the Fake electrical outlets at one of the home improvement stores. Installs in the sheetrock just like a regular electrical outlet. Looks just like a regular electrical outlet. But there is a metal box on the backside to hold the goodies. The “lock” is the set screw which would normally hold the outlet cover in place. Opens easily with a regular flat blade screw driver.

    Installed the outlets on short walls (where the architect and building codes did not intend an outlet to exist). Looks just like a regular household outlet in a less than desirable location. A couple of them I “covered” the location with real bookcases, potted plants etc.

  40. Felix the Cat says:

    Send all the money you want to hide to me: Occupant, POB 18031, PCB, FL 32407. I will hide it extremely well and only I will be able to find it.

  41. Haggie1 says:

    These are all great ways to accidentally throw away your money like the Italian woman who recently threw away her mattress forgetting about the thousands of dollars she had stuffed in it…

  42. mariospants says:

    I would also recommend a “decoy” money stash somewhere more easily located. Now, besides the fact that you’ve given out a grocery list of “must-search” areas in a home (guaranteed to create a lot of mess, destruction to artwork, etc.):

    1. The Freezer: let’s hope some nosey relative doesn’t throw it out while “cleaning up your mess of a freezer”.

    2. Picture Frames: unfortunately, that limits how much cash you can stash and runs the risk of damaging your art.

    3. Under Heavy Things: this I like.

    4. Soup Cans: not bad, but they do look there now.

    5. Fake Plants: may not work if you have a cat (“what the hell? Get out of there!”) and if there’s a leak in the bag, you’ll be watering your money in the worst way possible.

    6. Books: an old stand-by but difficult to do and one friend sliced her thigh with a box cutter trying to do this at home.

    7. Toys: yeah. All I’m saying is “yard sale find of the century”.

    Good food for thought, though!

  43. Anonymous says:

    I do the same thing I used to do with my stash of pot when I was growing up. I cut a smallish hole, about the size of a playing card, in the inside wall of my closet — floor level, on the same wall as the door. Tie a string to it, and pull the string through the drywall piece I cut out. I covered up with some random closet trash, and no one (suspicious parents and pot-stealing siblings) ever found it. Simple, probably won’t be found, and won’t accidently be thrown away.

    BTW, I use a similar tactic to hide a backup of my data. I have an outlet wired into a closet, and my Time Capsule (wifi hotspot with HD attached) is plugged into it, and stuffed in a shoebox. Works fine, and I doubt a thief will take the time to dig through a closed of old computer HW, shoeboxes and gift wrap.

  44. gman863 says:

    Depending how much you want to hide, stashing spare change efficiently is an option:

    Buy a coin bank that sorts pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters (about $10-$15 at Wal-Mart or OfficeMax). Don’t pay for coin wrappers, you can score these free at your bank just by asking a teller.

    Dump your pocket change in it every night. It may add up to $100 or more per year. By sorting and rolling them, you won’t get ripped off on CoinStar fees (.18 cents per dollar) and you can have some fun.

    Have a small bill or fine you owe a douchebag? Rolled pennies show how much you care and – being Legal Tender – can’t be refused. Larger coin rolls can be hidden. Too many coin rolls? Most banks will accept rolled coins for deposit with no complaints.

    And my favorite: “Is that a roll of quarters in your pants or are you just happy to see me?”

    • onereeves says:

      “Dump your pocket change in it every night. It may add up to $100 or more per year. By sorting and rolling them, you won’t get ripped off on CoinStar fees (.18 cents per dollar) and you can have some fun.”

      I dump my change everynight. Usually end up with a 100-150 twice a year.

      However my bank counts my change for me for FREE. I don’t get the draw of Coinstar.

  45. Anonymous says:

    One place a thief will never look is in the cat litter supples, and cat food bag/ box. Small valuables in a couple doubled up zip lock bags or if its small enough, in a metal cigar tube.

  46. Anonymous says:

    The thing this doesn’t address, which is a horrible scenario.. is what happens to this cash that you have “hidden” in the event of a house fire. I don’t want it in a wall, behind a frame ( though in the freezer might not be too awful.

    As for that guy who is saying he is a sniper and protects his home with Smith and Wesson.. buddy.. you aren’t always home. Real thieves know that and know your patterns.
    But worse is the fact that it’s easier to steal get your debit card information from a skimmer than it is to break in your house and rummage around.. Debit card fraud is one of the highest increases of all non violent crime… it’s relatively easy compared to other things and will give them cash…
    Debit is a direct link to your money… period…

  47. maztec says:

    All but determined thieves .. or thieves reading this blog. Now I have to move all my cash. You suck! ;)

  48. Anonymous says:

    Any experienced thief with enough time in your house is going to check the freezer, toilet tank, wall outlets, the underside of drawers, planters, drop ceiling panels, air ducts, etc.. Also, why do you think burglars trash the place- pull out drawers, overturn everything- it’s to uncover stashes.

  49. burnedout says:

    Can I just add that if you’re stashing your cash in moveable objects (furniture, pictures, etc) that you should TELL someone in your family so they don’t give / sell those items with the money still in it? I hear stories all the time – daughter wanted to help mom out, so bought her a new mattress (and threw out the old one) to surprise her. Big surprise was that mom had thousands stashed in her mattress!

  50. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    I like the idea of a moderately priced safe bolted to the floor with a “token” amount of semi-valuables in it. If you have a home invasion or robbery the safe is found, opened and the bad guys leave… especially if you can put something in the safe to indicate that Bernie Madoff beat them to it.

    Then somewhere else in the house have your real stash… or better still put it in the bank.

  51. madanthony says:

    my cash is sitting in an envelope on my desk.

    Given the amount of crap on my desk, there is a pretty good chance a thief wouldn’t notice it.

  52. econobiker says:

    To really hide your valuables you need to get into “hidden places” construction versus this run of the mill list.

    There are various books on amazon about this. Alot of them use magnet catches or nail catches which require a magnet to remove the nail

    One quick one is to cut out a section of the top of a hollow core interior door and hang or drop a bag with a recovery string down there…

  53. richcreamerybutter says:

    I recently found five hundred dollar bills in the freezer I’d forgotten about from two years ago!

  54. stuny says:

    Yes, many of these places (especially the freezer) are common places for thieves to look. Also, the risk of something being thrown out or forgotten is huge. Don’t hide in any place that is disposable, like soup cans, even table lamps. If you bury a can in the back yard, write a note in your safe deposit box or something to remind you.

    To all the Katrina references, not all disasters are warned in advance and it is a good idea to have cash on hand. Remember the Northeast blackout!?

  55. DrRonster says:

    Ive hidden stuff inside my PC. You can tape all sorts of stuff in an empty drive bay or any empty space inside a case, theres lots of room. And if your afraid of having the PC box stolen you can store your cash in a spare power supply. All that will be seen is wires sticking out like they should be. All sorts of computer components will work, just need to know how to take them apart. An external Hard drive enclosure is good but easily removable (stolen). How about underneath a stand alone freezer, not in it.

  56. Anonymous says:

    when we were broken into by teenage gangster wannabe thugs, they went straight for the laptops, flat-screen tv (which we don’t have), and trashed our bedroom, flipping the mattress and pulling out the top drawers looking for guns. they left the jewelry, the digital camera and other low $ electronics. it’s all about what they can grab in the 20-30 seconds after they kick in your door before the house alarm starts blaring and the cops auto-called.

  57. HIcycles says:

    Dang it! now everyone knows where I keep my cash. Bad Consumerist! Bad!

  58. sasha27 says:

    My mother in law stuck $100 bills in all her window blinds which she kept rolled up. We could never understand why she had roll up blinds under louvered blinds and curtains till we were cleaning up after she died.My husband pulled down a blind and thousands of dollars started raining down. She never told a soul.

  59. TheAlarmist says:

    Um, is this really a good idea anymore? Considering the woman in Israel who threw out her mother’s mattress, that her mother had hidden $1,000,000 inside?

  60. whuffo says:

    Use some common sense when hiding valuables in your home. A hollow book only works well if you have a large number of books. Same with soup cans – only useful if it’s one of a cupboard full.

    What people searching for things tend to watch for is the thing out of place. The shelf with only one book, the cupboard with only one can of soup, etc. Make your stash look like part of the normal clutter and it’ll be much safer. Watch out for places that leave traces when you access them – the drive bay cover with much less dust than the others or the TV stand with scratches where the TV has been moved frequently will attract attention. Skip those “fake cans” that are sold as secret safes – the thieves have seen those too and recognize them on sight: they’re not identical to the real product.

    And don’t think that the common places will be ignored. The toilet tank WILL be checked, as will “under the mattress”. Dresser drawers and closets will also be checked. Plants too – especially if there’s just one. The freezer always gets checked so this isn’t a very safe place to hide things unless your cash packet looks just like fifty other packages in there.

    The best places will almost always be in plain sight and absolutely normal looking. If you’ve got a file cabinet full of files, an envelope with cash inside can sit in the bottom of one of the folders. If you have a large CD collection, a surprising amount of cash can hide in a CD case.

    Remember that your thief is thorough, but he’s also in a hurry. This is where hiding things in collections works in your favor. He’ll probably check the one or two CDs you have out – but the 300 in the rack would take more time to go through than he can afford to spend.

    And you might find it useful to put a small (but not tiny) amount of cash under the mattress or in the toilet tank. It’s entirely possible that when the thief finds it he’ll figure he’s got your hidden stash and get out of there before he gets caught.

    Remember, it doesn’t have to be hard to get to or super well hidden – it just needs to be somewhere that prevents it from being located quickly. Professional thieves know how long it will take the police to arrive after the neighbors call in or they set off the alarm and they’re done and out of there in less time than that. If you’ve got some tweaker coming that doesn’t care if he gets caught or not then all bets are off.

  61. gman863 says:

    This discussion is starting to go off the deep end.

    I think the initial topic dealt with storing small amounts of money to be used in case of an emergency – not what to do in the event the FDIC shuts down.

    Homeowners’ insurance may cover small amounts of cash (typically $500) in the event of burgularly, subject to your deductible. In contrast, money in a bank or Credit Union is insured up to $250,000.

    $100 or so laying around is enough for gas and food for a few days. If I sense a greater risk (such as a hurricane watch being issued), I’ll grab a few extra hundred from the ATM.

  62. fatetwister64 says:

    Damn if only there was a building with trained professionals, electronic records and a big vault. Where you could put your money and basically no cost to you.

    Anyone know something like this?

  63. painfullyblunt says:

    While hoarding thousands of dollars in your home (ala the woman whose daughter threw out her millino dollar magttress) is a bad idea, it is definitely a good idea to keep emergency cash on hand. The northeast has seen numerous ice storms that left people without powers for days or even weeks. Any hurricane could do the same, and we all remember the power outage that left the entire northeast without power for several days a few years back.

    I mention this because without electricity an ATM is not going to give you any cash.

    Not to mention that in a true emergency it’s possible the atm will be emptied by hoardes of people desperate for cash.

    I have a nice safe hiding spot for $400 just in case.

    and I’m not telling you where that is.

    Mainly because I don’t remember where that spot is.

    /s

  64. Anonymous says:

    Our house was broken into, and those places were the first they looked. They also ripped open seat cushions and emptied all my canisters full of flour, etc. The only safe thing was that I put a fake wall outlet in our bedroom, and they didn’t look there. We got a floor safe (a man had to come out and put a hole in our slab foundation for it – it was worth it) and a burglar alarm. My sister has a dark curtain in her bedroom that she sewed cash into the hem of.

  65. Bobbie Evans says:

    When I used to have a cat. I’d put money in 2 ziplock bags and then slide it under the plastc liner in the litterbox. A great hiding place!

  66. Bobbie Evans says:

    When I used to have a cat, I would put money in a ziplock baggie and slide it under the plastic liner in the litterbox.

  67. UniComp says:

    I bet drug dealers really appreciate this post.

  68. Juliedr says:

    My grandma’s friend hid money throughout her house. After this lady passed away, her kids had a garage sale to get rid of her stuff. A very honest person who purchased a vacuum cleaner came back and returned over $5,000.00 their mother had stashed inside the vacuum canister. They started going through items and found cash everywhere, particularly in books. By then they had sold many items. Who knows how much money they lost that day.

  69. BearTack says:

    Unless there are extremely large cash needs, a non obvious cache is usually sufficient. Of import is considering your risk. Burglary, employees, children, relatives, guests, or DEA agents? How often have you had cash stolen? What else has been stolen or damaged — the cash might be the least significant issue.

  70. Tonguetied says:

    What was the name of that congressman who was found with $90K wrapped in tin foil in his freezer? That made headlines so I imagine a lot of thieves will be looking there if they break into your house…

  71. boxjockey68 says:

    I hide my cash in a safety deposit box, but I don’t have alot of it…

  72. jesusofcool says:

    Growing up, I can remember one of my older relatives hid all her jewelry in the way back of her kitchen cupboard under the flour and sugar. I always thought that was so odd, but it makes more sense than hiding cash.
    Is hiding large amounts of cash in your house for emergencies or is it some sort of anti-bank thing?