Personal Finance 

Best Places to Hide Money At Home

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Ceramic Piggy BankI had a conversation over the weekend with a friend of mine who likes to keep a little bit of cash at home in the event of a zombie apocalypse. As I reminded him that zombies don’t take US dollars, I thought a little to how we like to keep some cash on hand at home too. My friend was talking a thousand dollars or two, we keep maybe a hundred bucks. While he was trying to up his chances of survival, we do it to avoid an unnecessary trip to the ATM if we find our wallet or purse a little light one day.

That led me to wonder where the best places to hide you rmoney at home was and fortunately the web did not disappoint.

First, there’s is no limit to human ingenuity. Just spend a few minutes looking through the slideshow WalletPop put together on the craziest places people hide their money and you’ll see things like inside a fake i-beam, the cookie jar, their attic, a fake roll of toilet paper, under the litter box, mason jar buried in the garden, and my favorite, an empty can hidden in the pantry. Hopefully all those people can get to their cash when the zombies start rolling in.

Now that you have a list of potential places, you need a strategy. Putting all of your cash in one secret spot works as long as the thief doesn’t find it. If they find it, then they have all of your money. Why not spread your loot over several secret hiding spots? If a thief is short on time and starts flipping over everything, they may quit after finding one stash. Thieves don’t have a ton of time so giving them a little offering like that may stop them from finding all the pieces.

Next, remember why you’re keeping the money at home and be smart about how much. We want to avoid the ATM so we keep less than $100 at home. We could keep $1,000 but that would be way more than we need, plus it’s interest we’re not earning by not having it in a savings account. So keep the amount logical, how much cash do you really need at home? Probably not as much as you think. Remember that in the event of a fire, you don’t want to feel compelled to save your money.

I feel obligated to point out this story of a woman throwing away a mattress that, unknown to her, held a million dollars of her mother’s savings. Saving money is good, saving a million dollars is great, but saving it in your mattress is a horrible idea.

Lastly, don’t be so creative that you forget where you hid it. 🙂

(Photo: alancleaver)

{ 101 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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101 Responses to “Best Places to Hide Money At Home”

  1. Shirley says:

    “…don’t be so creative that you forget where you hid it.”

    Did that once with a $50 bill… never again! Donated the whole set of books to the library before we remembered it. Aack!

    • Hey, at least you can write off the $50 as a charitable contribution 🙂

      • Mark Gervais says:

        You can’t actually deduct the $50 as a charitable contribution because you did’nt get a receipt for it and whether or not the library is a designated approved charity needs to be answered.

        • David says:

          I absolutely hate informing someone they are wrong but in this case I feel compelled as your information is partially incorrect. The IRS allows cash donations without a receipt. There is a limit on how much and I believe that is now $500 total. The receiving entity MUST be qualified as you state.

    • Anonymous says:

      ok dont go crazy its not like they stole your home.

  2. Shirley says:

    My parents used to hide it in a squashed down empty cake mix box under the plastic bag liner in the garbage pail under the kitchen sink. They did have a break-in once and thieves took the TV, but didn’t find the cash.

  3. Maddhatter says:

    Burying the money in your backyard might not help in the event of a zombie attack. The last thing you want is to be digging up your yard in a panic state while zombies are trying to eat your brains. Of course the positive is that you have a shovel ready if they stop by sooner than expected. Splitting it up and burying multiple pots just makes me think of Vegas Vacation.

  4. Traciatim says:

    I’ve always thought that it would be better to have a little bit of spending cash (say 100 bucks of smaller bills) and then also have some small gold and some silver coins so that in the event of the apocalypse you can use these as currency will pretty much be useless.

    I’ve never actually acted on the theory, but it is an interesting concept to think about. You’d be surprised what a gold coin could get you out of. 🙂

    • Daniel says:

      You could also convert an unused electrical outlet. But be careful or your money may start the fire.

  5. I’ve never obsessed over the need to keep extra cash on hand. But, I do feel a little more “secure” when I do.

    I suppose if there were a local or national emergency, no power (anywhere), no access to atms, etc. then it may make sense to have extra cash on hand, but then again, would cash even have any value at this point?


  6. cubiclegeoff says:

    I always like the idea of keeping some in a “hidden” but pretty obvious spot so if you do get robbed, they find that rather than your real stash. We used to save $500 or so, mostly because my wife babysat and received cash, and it wasn’t worth going to the bank to deposit. Now, I don’t think we have any cash around.

    If zombies do come, no cash, or probably even gold will be worth much, if anything. You’re better off with a stash of water or ammunition. On more normal natural disasters though, cash will still probably work out.

    • ziglet19 says:

      I always figured enough cash to get some gas, ice, and water if we needed to in the event of a natural disaster would be helpful to have around the house.

  7. Safeway_Sage says:

    I bought and installed a wall safe. They are not really expensive at all. They get bolted into the studs of the wall and are insanely difficult to remove. I think that we all have valuable things we want to keep aside from cash. Personally I keep all my important documents in there as well.


    • jsbrendog says:

      plus having your own safe totally makes you a badass no matter how old you are. you can pretend you’re a bond villain and the crux to the plot of the whole movie resides behind that combo lock

      • Soccer9040 says:

        HAHA about the badass thing. I got a safe when I was younger and I loved putting things in there. In high school I started cashing checks and getting one dollar bills wrapped up. They looked pretty sweet all stacked up in there. I thought I was living large with all 3 or 400 bucks in there.

    • jp says:

      30 seconds with a cordless sawzall, and that wall safe is gone.

  8. I haven’t tried this, but what about behind the picture in a framed photo? Or is that too obvious (or mentioned in the WalletPop feature).

    • saladdin says:

      As long as it’s not “Dogs Playing Poker.” No way a thief wouldn’t take that picture for his hideout.


    • jim54 says:

      This works. I got raided by the IRS and had some cash in pic frame and they never found it. Also had some in shirt pocket in closet also not found. Bad place is deep-freezer – first place they look.

  9. I do like keeping a little cash at home, but I usually never have more than a $100. I really should start to keep a little more to avoid trips to the ATM. Right now, I keep that cash in a pretty obvious place and always get grief from my wife to move it.

  10. lostAnnfound says:

    Sealed in a bag and taped to the bottom of the plastic trash can that holds 45 pounds of dog food.

  11. Mark says:

    When the Zombies attack, 9mm shells will be a great currency to have….but for the mundane emegency, I keep a couple of hundred dollars in fives in a safe. Most people think safes are unpractical, but for less than $200 you can get a nice safe that will hold your important papers, some silver and gold, cash, your back-up USB drive and a loaded gun, you know, for the zombies. You need to make sure that its heavy enough to prevent a thief from running off with but small enough so that you can move it on a furniture dolly when it comes time to move. Put it in a closet on the floor and put a sheet over it. It will protect you from fire and theft. Well worth the investment.

    • Jim says:

      While we’re on the subject of currency zombies would accept, I would think shotgun shells would be better than 9mm. Shooting a shotgun (rather, hitting a target with a shotgun) is much easier than shooting a handgun… especially if it moves are erratically as a zombie does (in the movies anyway).

      • lostAnnfound says:

        And that is why I keep a 12 gauge Mossberg in the closet 🙂

      • Mark says:

        Ahhhh Jim, you have obviously not read the Zombie Survival guide, Shotguns are too loud and messy, they attract other Zombies with the noise and are not reliable enough to dispatch a zombie except at very close range. A shotgun is also a bit awkward in a close quarters urban environment. The 9mm is compact, accurate, reliable and easy to find. Plus, I am an excellent shot. 😉

        • daenyll says:

          you’d prolly want a sawed off shotgun for area effect and a 9mm for accuracy, never know when you’ll run into a whole pack of zombies at a time

  12. Dave says:

    I keep my money hidden in my 800lb safe that’s bolted to the garage floor. No thief could ever run away with the thing, even if it wasn’t bolted down. Oh, and I also keep a few (many) handguns and shotguns in it… and enough ammo to fend off at least the first wave of zombie attackers…

    • Martha says:

      I just hope we live close enough to one of you when the zombies attack since we’ll need some protection 🙂

  13. MichaelM says:

    We keep some emergency cash under the spare in our trunk in the car. If we have to flee the house (eg. fire, earthquake) the money comes with us!

    If you’re keeping $100 or less, why not just keep it in your wallet? I guess maybe if you live somewhere where muggings are common.

    • lostAnnfound says:

      Great idea about hiding it under the spare tire. For that matter, keeping some ER cash in the car at all (maybe locked in the glovebox) is something to think about.

    • ziglet19 says:

      I never thought about keeping it in my car – I could just put it in the bag in my trunk with my other emergency supplies (water, flashlight, blanket, etc).

      Keep an extra $100 in my wallet? That’a little too tempting for me…

  14. jsbrendog says:

    when i moved into my current apt i found a $50 bill in the cabinet above the fridge. awesome.

    i do not hide money at home but if i did it would probably be like in something no one would ever need/touch//use. maybe in the pocket of my graduation gown that sits collecting sdust in the closet? or in the spool of blank cd-rs under them at the bottom i dunno

  15. Ballast says:

    Keeping valuables and some cash in a safe seems like a good solution. Hiding it doesn’t make sense to me. At least a safe provides some recognized level of security.
    I guess I would put mine upstairs somewhere. I’ve seen zombies walk through walls, but never climb stairs. As long as you, your cash, or your safe are upstairs you should be okay if the zombies attack.

    • ziglet19 says:

      The only problem with having it in a safe (assuming it’s a small safe, like I have, not an 800 lb one like one of the other commenters) is that if someone breaks in, they may walk away with it and all your stashed cash. If you hide it in your freezer (or toilet) burglars may not find it.

      • Safeway_Sage says:

        That is not true Z. The safe that I have is small, but since it is bolted into the wall studs, the thief would need to have to expend a significant amount of energy to even get at the bolts. I think its the most sane solution for any homeowner. Not expensive, secure, and out of sight.


        • ziglet19 says:

          It hadn’t occurred to me to bolt my little safe in, since we used to live in apartments. But since we bought a house last year and don’t plan on moving anytime soon, that’s a good idea.

          • Soccer9040 says:

            If someone wants to steal something they will. Bolting your safe down will keep the casual theif from walking away with it. They would have to come prepared with tools if they wanted my bolted down 100lb safe. At that point, fine take it.

  16. hoht says:

    Always hid a $20 in the toilet just in case. 😀

  17. K-me says:

    Don’t like guns so I have a bowie knife for close in Zombie action. Don’t mind wrestling for my honor or a hunske whichever.

    • David says:

      Isn’t that hard to do without getting bit? Seems you run the risk of becoming a zombie yourself. Do you think you will remember where you stashed your cash if you turn into a zombie?

  18. aua868s says:

    salt jar….as long as it is not transparent!

  19. Guy in San Antonio says:

    Thieves generally do not search to hard in the kids rooms, but a suggestion i got from a police detective is to install some fake electrical outlets in your walls. Very few burglars carry a current tester with them to see if all your outlets are real.

  20. thomas says:

    I have a trash can with used kleenex that houses a few bucks. If someone is that desperate – more power to them.

  21. stocktonian says:

    In 2009 I was a victim of a residential burglary. I had currency hidden inside an old binder between sheets of paper. Drug addict burglars never did take to the trappings of education. They got my Garmin, but not the cash. As for zombies – when your gat jams, you want a good battle axe handy. Die like a viking.

  22. Kate says:

    I don’t really hide large amounts of cash around my house, but do like to have at least $40 in my wallet at all time. However, years ago a friend of mine suggested keeping all of the $1 bills I got as change in a “savings’ account, much like a piggy bank, which I did in my room during my tenure with roommates. It is still a practice I keep and it is always a nice way to have some extra cash for vacations.

  23. The fake electrical outlet is a cool idea. I’ve never heard of that one. I’ve seen people wrap a brick of money in aluminum foil and then put that in a freezer bag and put it in the back of the freezer. I also used to keep some bucks under the spare tire as mentioned. Only scary part of that is the possibility of a stolen car. If your going to keep a larger amount of cash I prefer to spread things around in a couple of stash spots. If one is found at least you have the others.

  24. saladdin says:

    Guy (one of the smartest people I have ever met)I know got into the silver in the 80’s. He had it hid under his bed. He said it hit him how silly it was to physically have silver if the “end of the world” hit since you can’t carry it around and nobody would really want it in exchange for food etc… So he sold it.


    • David says:

      True, if it is the end of the world, it might not be worth much, but it keeps longer than food, and is a better store of value than currencies, especially if part of the emergency is the government failing. I still think holding a small amount of silver is not a bad idea.

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