I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up with many survivors of the Great Depression in my life. So, I’ve seen some pretty interesting places to hide money around a house. Unfortunately, not all of them have been the safest place.
One precaution that people often overlook when deciding to stash their rainy day fund is water and fire. We get so focused on trying to hide our precious valuables from would-be intruders that we often forget that both fire and water can just as easily steal our nest egg.
When stashing your money, think in terms of protecting it from more than just thieves. Here are the 20 best ways and places to hide money in your home and protect your valuables from more than just criminals.
1. Bottom or Back of a Drawer
Thieves rummage through drawers, not under them or behind them. True story.
The first house I bought had some residual furniture in it from an elderly gentleman that had lived there before he died. One such item was an old-school six-drawer metal filing cabinet that had been left in the garage. Too heavy to move whole, I began removing the drawers to haul to the dump.
Lo and behold, taped to the bottom of one of those drawers was a zip-lock bag with some bills. Turned out to be five thousand dollars worth. Best house I ever bought!
I thought it was a great way to hide money, but having seen the devastation of fires more than once in my life, I felt it wasn’t the safest idea. With today’s technology, though, it’s the perfect hiding spot as long as you have the protection of a waterproof and fireproof bag.
2. Laundry Room
Whether you tape it to the back of your washing machine, stash it underneath the dryer, or drop it in the bottom of your laundry soap container, your treasures are sure to be safe amid your smelly drawers.
While it’s common for thieves to rummage through dirty laundry baskets, they generally won’t check all the nooks and crannies of your laundry room.
My great-grandmother used to keep all of her cash in a mason jar or coffee can at the top of her pantry. Today, there are all kinds of fake and phony diversion safes that can mix right in with all your canned goods and kitchen staples.
Of course, you’d need to add a layer of protection for water and fire damage. Bear in mind, pantry diversion safes are nothing new, so place them in a hard-to-see, hard-to-reach location in your pantry.
4. Curtain, Closet, or Shower Rods
Whether you’re looking to hide bills or stack coins, hollow curtain rods, shower rods, and closet rods make a good option. Just make sure you mount them securely enough to bear the weight of coins you might place inside.
Stainless steel works best since it’s highly resistant to heat and fairly lightweight. It’s also the perfect size for your silver quarters and dimes.
5. Buried in the Backyard
A common practice of Great Depression survivors was to bury their valuables somewhere on their property. Add a protective water and fire barrier before putting your bills in the ground, or you might just dig up a pile of rot.
Just make sure you remember where you bury it, and make sure your next of kin knows where it is too. Might I suggest underneath the dog house for an added layer of protection?
Sadly, my own grandpa left a bunch of money buried in his backyard, and while everyone knew it was there, no one really knew where it was after he died. While a metal detector was able to find some, he either grossly overexaggerated what he had buried, or the new owners of his property may just one day find where X marks the spot.
6. Over the Door Jamb
Thieves often rummage through your closets, and they even look on the top shelf. But it’s rather unnatural to look up and behind. Cut away a small piece of your drywall in between two studs above the head jamb on the inside of a small closet.
Place your valuables inside a fireproof box, and glue a piece of velcro to the outside of the box. Glue the other side of the velcro to the exterior drywall above the jamb, and then Velcro your box just above the door jamb so it stays in place.
7. Between the Studs
I’m sure you’ve seen lots of movies that have had stacks of bills inserted inside the walls of a house. It’s a great idea, but what do you do when your house catches fire or floods? A fire can annihilate both your dollars and your precious metals, while floods could render your dollars useless.
Right idea, wrong method. Try a wall safe instead. Find a discreet place within the walls of your house, preferably on an interior wall, and cut the drywall between two of the studs.
Remove the insulation if there is any (many interior walls don’t have insulation). Place your fire and waterproof lockbox with all your valuables in between the studs. Cover the safe with a wall hanging, bookshelf, or another piece of furniture to hide its location.
8. Bottom of a Planter
You can buy a premade planter with a built-in hiding spot or make your own. If you build your own, just make sure your valuables are well protected with a fireproof and waterproof document bag.
If you have a wall of books somewhere, book safes can be a good idea. They are much more inconspicuous and harder to find when surrounded by a bunch of books versus just a single book laying around somewhere. Placing them above or below eye level is a much better alternative to eye level itself.
Most thieves want to get in and out of your house as quickly as possible. It’s rare that they take the time to thoroughly search your home. If your attic entrance is someplace inconspicuous, then hiding your valuables in a fireproof safe in the attic is a good option.
Not my favorite of places, but people often suggest placing your valuables in the freezer. Of course, in today’s economy, a good steak is far more valuable than it used to be, so I wouldn’t put it past a thief to hijack your freezer.
Maybe this is why I don’t like the freezer option. Instead, I’d put it in the bottom of my deep freezer. To make it even more challenging, I’d wrap it in butcher paper to disguise it as meat.
Thieves would have to dedicate a substantial amount of time to removing all the food on top to get to your treasure. They’re likely not willing to sacrifice the amount of time it would take. Just don’t forget the container.
12. Storage Boxes
Everyone has that spot in their house where they keep things they rarely use but don’t want to get rid of. Some people have them in closets, while others keep them in the garage, but thieves rarely rummage through boxes of Christmas decorations or old clothes.
Stashing a wad of cash in your holiday storage boxes might just be the best Christmas present ever. Use your favorite lock box and add it to the rest of your Christmas decorations. You could even wrap it in Christmas paper to further conceal it.
13. Floor Safe
If you’re looking for something extremely secure and you have the cash to spare, floor safes are the perfect solution. Once installed, you can easily cover them with a bed or other piece of furniture, and crooks won’t even know it’s there.
This is the ideal storage option if you have large bars of gold and silver that are often too big for fireproof bags.
14. Board Games
Fill your Monopoly and Life games with real money instead. Most burglars won’t think to rummage through your games for some quick cash. Instead, they’ll be running for your jewelry boxes and electronics instead.
Find a fireproof bag with the right dimensions to fit in one of your favorite board games and slip it in.
15. Air Vents or Floor Vents
Remove the screws from your vents. Stash your bills and coins in this fireproof tube, roll it up, place it inside the vent shaft, and then replace the vent cover.
16. Wall Hangings
Framed pictures, grandfather clocks, and wall clocks come in all shapes and sizes. Secure your valuables in a fireproof container and place them inside.
17. Photo Boxes
Surround your most coveted treasures with your most prized possessions. Tuck your hidden nest egg with your family photos. Both are priceless, but thieves won’t be interested in your precious memories.
18. Storage Shelves
Certain shelving units have hollow legs that are the perfect diameter for stacking your precious metals and rolls of bills. You’ll just have to wrap them in a fireproof barrier first.
19. Can Your Cash
If you’ve already got the equipment and large amounts of cash you’re looking to store, can your cash in #10 cans. Whether you put them in your pantry, your root cellar, or your shop, only you know what’s inside.
While intruders might suspect a diversion safe, they’d be none the wiser to an unmarked, unlabeled, perfectly sealed can. These cans are durable enough to survive even the worst of hurricanes.
20. Behind the Sink
Most kitchen and bathroom sinks have a good-sized area on the backside that’s not visible to the naked eye. Pile your cash in your favorite fireproof bag and tape it to the backside.
While this is not an exhaustive list, these are some more unique ideas for hiding large sums of cash in your home.
We’ve omitted the more common hiding spots that modern-day criminals are likely to try, such as toilets and fish tanks, smaller cubby holes like false wall sockets, and other locations where fireproofing and waterproofing would prove difficult.