House Burglar's Advice For Hiding Money

A former burglar chatted with the Personal Finance Advice blog and gave some good tips on how to hide your money at home.

The best place is, of course, the bank. Second best, a professionally bolted safe. If you don’t have one, the burglar suggests leaving “token money” in an envelope for the thief to find.

You can hide the other money in false packaging, as long as you place the object in an appropriate environment. “When you find a Campbell’s soup can in the bedroom, you have a pretty good idea there is money inside,” quipped the burglar.

His best recommendation? Hide the dough in the children’s toy room. — BEN POPKEN

The Best Place To Hide Money: Conversation With A Burglar [Personal Finance Advice] (Thanks to Toland!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Do people really keep wads of cash at home?

  2. simmo says:

    Maybe not wads but I have a rather large amount of coin in a poster tube (thanks to this previous post )

  3. guroth says:

    I don’t think it is uncommon for a family to have a couple hundred dollars in “emergency money” cash hidden somewhere in the house.

  4. Scazza says:

    We actually use the “Plug Safe”. Really cool little safe box in the wall that looks like an electrical outlet, we keep a couple of hundreds in there for pure emergency.

  5. dayjayvw says:

    Do you folks live in bad areas? I’ve never thought twice about keeping cash in the house (alarmed).

  6. Kornkob says:

    We have a wall safe in a closet near our main entry point that we keep the spare car keys, spare ID (like passports and old licenses), checkbooks and the like in. Then we also have a fire wall safe in another location, as well as a ‘loose’ fireproof file box that we keep things like deeds, registrations, birth certs and other hard to replace items in.

    If we build our next home (which we’ve been saying we shoudl do for years) I’m hoping to build in a fireproof safe to keep our network attached storage in as more and more of our records are digital now and I’d like to be able to secure them better. Right now the fact is our NAS is just sitting out in the office.

  7. Jesse McBesse says:

    If you hide stuff, just make sure you remember where (duh)! Years ago, my sister (who was about eight at the time) took all of my mom’s heirloom jewelry and hid it in an old report card envelope and stashed it away in her closet. I think they must have talked about burglars that day at school. Anyway, for about five(!) years, we had no idea where the jewelry was… until my mom did some serious closet cleaning and found it. At least it wasn’t stolen!

  8. WindowSeat says:

    I have one of those suitcase firesafes that I keep passports, some cash, important documents and a portable hard drive that I’ve backed up all my pictures and data on. It’s “hidden”, but easily accessed.

    Jesse McBesse Your story reminds me of a house a friend worked on about twenty years ago, the family was quite wealthy and the grandmother had Alzheimers. She had hidden her jewelry and he found her triple-strand Opera length pearls, which were natural, not cultured and perfectly matched (how many millions something like that is worth now I can only imagine) under the water heater. The rest of the jewelry was found in similar spots and the family was understandably relieved when it was all found.

  9. Kornkob says:

    Incidentally, the wall safe we bought for the front closet was all of $100, shipped and took 15 minutes to install (cut the drywall, slap it in screw it to the studs).

    The fire safe was more expeinsive and, because of the added size and weight took more effort to install but, frankly, it wasn’t all that daunting a task. The hardest part, really, was deciding if we were willing to give up some of our closet space to accomodate it in a convienent location or if we were willing to have it be less convienent but not lose any space in the closet.

    The lack of convienence is actually why we ended up getting a safe for the front closet: we didn’t use it for things like the checkbooks and spare keys cause it was a PITA to get to the fire safe. Thus we got a cheaper safe (electronic keypad) that we could put in a more convienent place to keep frequently used/accessed items.

  10. Musician78 says:

    I have about 60 or so bucks in the house. That really isn’t what I am worried too much about. Perhaps my 15,000 dollars worth of music equipment is more of a concern. Obviously not too much though; I don’t have an alarm. But I do lock up everytime I leave and my two viscious kitties (I’m in ur studio, eatin ur wires) protect the domicile whilst I am away.

  11. My mother used to hide the silver in the dryer when we went on vacation. Do people still do that?

    A drop ceiling is an good place to hide things — or to have a safe installed between the floor joists of the floor above.

    I worry more about our art than our money, though. We ain’t got no money, but I married into a family of artists. We have an awful lot of art. (But probably art crooks don’t hit small urban starter homes in old neighborhoods.) I guess all you can really do with the art is insure it and hope for the best; that’d have to be one humongous fire safe.

  12. acambras says:

    He probably has a good point about hiding stuff in the kids’ room(s). When I was a little kid, our home was burglarized. They hit the living room, dining room, master bedroom, and my older sister’s bedroom. They did not go near the bedroom that I shared with my younger sister — they probably figured they’d find nothing of value. Also, it was like a warzone it was so messy — they probably would have risked life and limb getting in and out of that room.

  13. Matthew says:

    I love this kind of stuff. If you’re like me — halfway paranoid about burglary and halfway just fascinated with stashes — get Michael Connor’s book “How To Hide Anything.” Warning: it seems to be geared toward drug dealers.

  14. etinterrapax says:

    Eyebrows, my MIL hides her silver when they go on vacation too. Since I grew up in a house without any, it didn’t really occur to me that it was valuable, which just shows what a bunch of rubes we all are. But I admit to having a faint enough sense of what is liquid enough for a thief to want. My car’s been broken into twice, and both times all they got was a few dollars that I kept for tolls, and once, an iPod that needed a battery replacement. I didn’t like the intrusion at all, and I certainly wouldn’t like to have our house burglarized, but we have so little that’s of any real value. I lock up for us, not our stuff.

  15. B says:

    Hiding money with the kid’s toys will work till they’re about 11, then they will find the money and spend it on candy.