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Best places to hide money at home

Everyone should have a disaster fund. Here are some tips for choosing the perfect secret spot to stash your cash.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 4, 2012 9:49AM

This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.


Most people who have emergency and rainy-day funds use banks to keep their cash safe.


Image: Woman and refrigerator (©, it's also wise to keep a home-based readily accessible disaster fund in the event a situation arises that makes it impossible to withdraw cash from those accounts -- especially if merchants become unable or unwilling to conduct credit card transactions too.


The trick is in finding the perfect secret place for hiding your cash from burglars and, sadly, even dishonest friends or relatives.


Of course, some places are more secure than others. For example, workmen fixing a broken water pipe in an El Paso, Texas, home last year were more than a bit surprised to find almost $1 million stashed inside a wall. (While nobody needs a million bucks to tide them over in the event of a local disaster, everybody should have enough cash on hand to cover at least a week or two of living expenses.)


Burying your cash outside is never recommended because it's not only easy to forget exactly where you buried it, but it's also prone to decomposition over time.


Inside the house you can always "hide" your money in a fire-resistant safe along with your other important papers and documents. But those safes are fairly easy for a burglar to find and, unless they're bolted to the floor, the smaller ones can often be carried off with minimal effort.

Post continues below.

A few years ago my pal Linsey Knerl proposed several good -- and not so good -- unconventional locations to stash your cash. Some of the better ones included:

  • Fake return air vents.
  • Fake drains.
  • Fake electrical outlets.
  • An empty box of frozen food.
I particularly like the idea of hiding money in the freezer because it reduces the risk of losing your disaster fund in a fire. But if you're not impressed with any of those, there are other options.


For instance, a website called Brickhouse Security offers a panoply of products that allow you to hide your money in plain sight of would-be thieves, including safes that look like cans of soda and shaving cream, peanut butter jars, hollowed-out books and CD cases, landscape rocks, sprinkler heads and even scented candles.


No matter where you keep your disaster fund, just make sure it is made up of mostly small bills because merchants may be unable to make change in a crisis situation. The majority of my fund consists of $5 and $1 bills.


Now I know what the cynics out there are thinking: Why bother? A determined thief is going to find your money anyway!


True. But that logic still doesn't justify making the job easier for them. I mean, if that's how you really feel, why bother putting locks on your doors?


Besides, I'm not advocating that anyone should be hiding their entire life savings at home -- just enough cash to get through a natural disaster or other adverse situations where, say, the power is out for a relatively long period.

Anyway, if you have a favorite hiding place for your disaster fund, I'd love to hear about it.


Then again, I guess the burglars would, too. Never mind.


More on Len Penzo dot Com and MSN Money

Jun 5, 2012 12:25PM
Jun 5, 2012 12:20PM
The only way to keep a secret location don't tell it!
    I agree with putting some money in a secret place in your house.   If anthing would ever happen and the banks would not allow us to get our money we would be up a creek.  And don't think that could never happen.  Before the depression people thought their money was safe in the bank.  My grandmother told me too  many stories about that time. How you couldn't buy or get banannas, chocolate, even shoes were rationed ect.  I could never understand why she kept so many supplies on hand.Until we have to live through something like that then we'll realize.I hope and pray this never happens to us.     The way things are going I think that it may be possible.  It's better to be safe than sorry.   In this time it is hard for any of us to save extra cash.  Let alone put it away in hiding places. All we can do is try to save. 15 years ago it seemed alot of us were doing o.k. finanially.  I hope we  as America get back to the way it used to be . It seems we should be so much further than this.  But..  All  we can do is do our best.  Especially for the next generation.   
Jun 5, 2012 1:47PM
In an envelope under the Kitty Litter Pan.  If the theif is that desperate to look there, hes welcome to the money
Jun 5, 2012 2:43PM
Jun 4, 2012 6:48PM
Like your investments, your squirrel money should be comprised of many different ones.   A combination of interior and exterior locations in and around your location makes sense.   Be careful of storing away coins and precious metals as they could be picked up by a metal detector.

As far as the amount to squirrel away, it should be at least 60 days worth  which could be fairly unpredictable in a massive disaster.
Jun 5, 2012 6:46AM
I would hide my cash on my own, but Obama and big government know how to hide cash better than the average tax payer so they hide it for me.
Jun 5, 2012 2:11PM

What good is A LOT of extra money if the stores arent open or they have sold out??

Keep at least 4 weeks of food, water and supplies on hand at all times

I have enough for the two of us for at LEAST a month and i keep enough medication on hand for 6-9 months each

You never know when you might lose your insurance

i do keep $40 in each car and $200 at home  and we both usually have between 40-80 bucks a piece on us

Jun 5, 2012 1:46PM
This might work for money too, but I cemented in the ground a fake sewer clean out trap, a 4 inch tube about 12 inches long, to hide an extra pair of house keys.  I figure nobody will stick their arm down a sewer drain.
Jun 5, 2012 2:00PM
i'm sure any thief reading these comments really appreciates all you revealing other idea's for places to look that they would not even have thought about while they're out robbing people.
just cause they're a thief don't mean they cant read or use the computer they stole, kinda ignorant ya think...
Jun 5, 2012 7:48AM
Over 25 years ago, my mother's house was burglarized while she was out of town.  The thieves ransacked everything, including the freezer.  They pulled out everything, and left it on the kitchen floor to go bad.  They left a stinky mess after taking the the only thing of value, an old bank full of pennies.

Jun 5, 2012 1:03PM
DO NOT put money in CD or DVD cases Druggie Theives pawn those items and so NOT a good idea Tampon box or Monostate is the best place ....
Jun 5, 2012 10:14AM
best place to hide your money ! don't  stick your money , in the big banks

Jun 5, 2012 2:51PM

Others have commented, so I'll add my "ditto" to this ...  Great article, but just like those articles that talk about shortcuts around my morning commute -- it ruins the secret !!  *taking my stash out of that electrical outlet* as we speak.   LOL

Jun 5, 2012 4:22PM

Well, I have a secret place but  I can't tell you.  Heh!


Should the Zombie Apocalpse happen and I think it will, plastic will be worthess.  Cash, bullets and toilet paper will be the mediums of exchange.

Jun 5, 2012 4:21PM

If things get so bad that you can't get your money out of the bank then your money will probably be next to worthless at that point as well. Our fiat currency is just paper and a promise so I would recommend stocking up on dry goods and ammunition more than anything. I never get these gold and silver nuts as I would never trade anything of value for precious metals. You can't eat gold and you can't defend your home with it either. Just think about a scenario where everything is gone to hell and I am trying to talk you out of a bit of your family's dwindling food supply with gold coins in my hand. If you were smart you would realize that there is no intrinsic value in gold and silver either. Metal is metal is metal.

Jun 5, 2012 11:47AM
For Wayne, actually you SHOULD hide some metals, coins and such, around your property. The more you hide that intruders can hunt for, the more you are keeping them from finding your real stash. Personally, I am in the process of getting rid of as much things as possible, so if ever the shtf, there will be little of value for anyone to take. I don't NEED expensive things that I would feel compelled to endanger my life protecting. I plan to keep some supplies, not a lot as in hoarding them, for possibly a month of disaster, plus if possible some for neighbors and passersby. Hard because we keep using it all, and average maybe 2 weeks food and water. I'll keep trying.
Jun 5, 2012 12:25PM
Safe Deposit box at a bank! Banks do not monitor what you put into them. They are not insurred either- but neither is putting it in a hole outside.
Jun 5, 2012 3:33PM

If you own your home, have a fireproof safe installed in the wall of your closet  or behind that picture frame in the livingroom (sometimes the obvious is overlooked. Or heck you can even have one in your concrete floor in the basement.  This way weather they find the safe or not, they cant get to your stash (wether gold or money or whatever).  Chances are if you have an alarm on your house they dont have time to fuss with a safe so they wont even stay long enough to try.


But my best advise is to put the safe where NO ONE would find it (like in the boiler room..LOL)

Jun 4, 2012 6:43PM

Somewhere in the attic hidden in a fire proof and water proof safe, hidden in the "stuff" that seems to gather up there anyway. 

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