The money game is more than earning, saving, or spending. And whether you seek stable income or freedom, you’ll need financial control. The question is: How safe is your money?
Most of us never make this question, because we’re too busy managing our money. Then one day, the unexpected happens:
a. The bank is unavailable. You cannot operate online, visit a branch, nor use an ATM. Your only choice is to use the cash you have
b. Something terrible happens to the economy (e.g., a flash crash). All financial companies shut down for that week
c. A burglar broke into your house and took your valuables. Or perhaps a family member relocated them without telling you
None of this would be a problem if you had extra cash in a secret spot. During uncertainty, it can be safer than trusting a bank. But where do you hide a lot of money?
- Hiding A Lot Of Money: Worth It?
- Where NOT To Hide A Lot Of Money?
- 10 Best Places Where To Hide A Lot Of Money
- Hiding Anything Anywhere
Hiding A Lot Of Money: Worth It?
Hiding money often brings an illegal connotation. And while it’s not recommended, there’s nothing wrong with hiding for the right reasons:
- You may want to hide cash as an emergency fund, in case the economic system falls down
- You like the feeling of security. You want your money to be physically safe, and only you know how to access it
- You spend more cash than virtual money. You’d rather keep stacks of dollar bills than have them go through your bank
- You’re less likely to overspend when your money is harder to access
- You protect your valuables from anyone trying to steal them
Disclaimer: It’s okay to hide reported money. If you want to hide cash for a tax discount, make sure you first know the difference between tax avoidance and evasion. The penalties may not be worth the risk.
Where NOT To Hide A Lot Of Money?
Dollar bills are thin, small, easy to hide. There are hundreds of places where to hide them, even in a small apartment. Yet, that doesn’t mean your money will be safe.
Burglars aren’t the only threat. The environment can deteriorate the cash if you don’t store it properly (e.g., floods, fires, rain). And if you hide in multiple locations, there’s a higher risk of losing it.
If you’re hiding money for a long time, you could also forget about your secret. You need a way to remember without giving clues to potential thieves.
If you’re looking for hiding spot ideas, remember that burglars can also find this information. That’s why the first step is to learn what not to do. Here are five general rules:
#1 Avoid Containers
If you’re looking for something valuable, that’s the first place where you would look. Think about the last time you lost something and started looking around the house. You probably started by looking at every drawer, box, and shelf.
These places are for storage/organization, not for hiding.
Yet, when hiding lots of items (or stacks of cash), containers are useful. If you’re going to use containers, at least think outside the box:
- If the container is small, hide it as well
- Use a container that doesn’t look like a box
- Put your cash in the inaccessible part of the container (e.g., stuck behind a drawer)
If you think a container would be safer with a lock, read #2:
#2 Avoid Anything With Locks
Anything with a key lock probably has something valuable inside. It doesn’t matter if no one can open it. Burglars will steal it anyway, including movable safe boxes.
If a box has a lock, there must be a key nearby, usually in the room. You wouldn’t carry it with you because it may get lost. And if you keep it in plain sight, that defeats the security purpose.
If you use locks, you could instead:
- Install a number pad or fingerprint reader
- Fix the locked container to a wall
- Hide it with a frame or some furniture
- Avoid obvious locations (your bedroom)
#3 Avoid Printed Media
This includes books, CD cases, and picture frames. It’s such a classic that it’s no longer a secret. While it’s better than nothing, it shouldn’t be your only trick.
For example, you could hide cash inside a frame that’s locked in a hidden container. That sounds more secure than if it were behind a picture in the main hall.
If you’re going to use these, make sure that:
- You have LOTS of books/cases/pictures
- You don’t have them all in the same place (hide a few)
- You don’t put all your cash inside just one item
#4 Don’t Forget About Documents
While hiding cash at home feels like a smart idea, it’s not that useful when you keep most of your money in the bank. All you need to access is a password and maybe some documents for verification.
If someone gets these, they can wipe out thousands of dollars, or whatever amount you keep. You’re far more likely to be a victim of identity theft than burglary. For a scammer, the former is easier, safer, and more profitable.
Imagine a thief breaks into your house. You’re smart enough to hide the cash in all kinds of secret spots, and they can’t find anything. When checking the drawers, however, they could find all your notes, receipts, and passwords.
If you write down sensitive information, treat it like cash, or a credit card. It’s not going to lay around the house. It’s either in your wallet or in a hidden safe.
Note: If someone breaks into your home, they will likely find your contact information. After a burglary, it’s not rare that scammers start reaching out with business opportunities.
The same applies to devices. Someone may break into your computer (physically or remotely) and find those codes. If you write your passwords, at least hide them where they won’t look.
For example, there’s a “read me” file (that no one reads) with almost anything you install. Write there.
#5 Don’t Take Things Literally
If everyone agrees that hiding cash in your mattress is a good idea, it’s probably not a well-kept secret. Remember that thieves can learn the same tricks you do. And as experienced burglars, they probably know about your secret spot already.
Don’t go with the most popular advice. Instead, find your own spot by exploring ideas (more on this later) and combining them.
Protecting your cash has more to do with creativity/disguise than your security system.
As a burglar, you don’t have time for a full inspection. You also need to be silent, preferably close the exit. To compensate for the risk, you’ll go for the most valuable item first.
Which one? Typically whatever has the most protection. If your property has safe boxes, cameras, or alarms, it’s going to attract thieves. The best security system is the one they can’t see.
10 Best Places Where To Hide A Lot Of Money
It doesn’t take much creativity to find the right hiding spot. You just need to apply any of these ten “rules.” The more of these you stack, the harder it will be to find.
We could give you a list of specific spots, but then burglars would know it too. Instead, we’ll show 10 ways to hide anything, so you can apply it to your own situation.
#1 Bury it
Often the best hiding place is the most inaccessible. It’s the most common, effective, and probably oldest trick. Pirates kept their treasure this way, and so did mobsters.
Why does it work if it’s no longer a secret?
Well, a burglar doesn’t know where (nor how deep) your treasure is. The bigger the yard, the harder it is to find. Thieves need to be quick, and there’s no time for digging.
It’s not that they can’t or don’t know where it is. They’ll just go for whatever is easier to steal and flee immediately.
You don’t need to own land to do it, by the way. Any similar surface does the trick, including dirt (flowerpots), sandbags, even grains.
If you have some DIY skills, you could also bury them inside a wall or the floor. So you need tools to break/open it.
#2 Have multiple identical items
If instead of burying you want something more accessible, try disguising tactics. This way, your valuables can be safe in plain sight, because only you can recognize the real one:
- Do you have hundreds of books? Use them to hide stuff
- Are you using a can to hide cash? Make sure you have dozens of them on a shelf.
- Have lots of apparel? Use that to your advantage
The only places we don’t recommend are folders/ file organizers. Thieves expect to find money where you manage your work (or some information for identity theft).
#3 “Diversion” Items
When desperate, burglars could break into your property. But this doesn’t mean they’ll take reckless risks. They’ll rather leave as soon as they find something valuable.
Use this to your advantage with diversion items. Make them think that they “won,” so they leave and don’t even know about your actual valuables. For example:
- Have an empty safe in plain sight that’s not bolted down
- Have your wallet nearby with ~$20-$50 (or a fake locked wallet)
- Get some fake jewelry as home decoration (rings, gold ingots, necklaces)
It works with anything that you don’t mind losing. Just don’t make it too obvious/public, as it may attract more thieves. Now you may wonder: where to hide the real valuables?
#4 Hide In Front Of Their Noses
When looking for small valuables, you would expect to find them in some safe or locked drawer. Nobody would leave them at the entrance, let alone outside the house.
While risky, the easiest way to hide something is in the last place they would check. Instead of hiding in your bedroom or living room, try the kitchen, yard, or balcony.
Whatever room you choose, see if you can hide as close as possible to the door. Burglars will pass it to inspect the room itself. If there’s a window, you can place a flowerpot and hide there too.
Hiding outside can be a good idea when there’s enough space to hide. Many homeowners use plants and rocks to hide emergency keys, maybe cash. First, make sure you have enough decoration, and you hide somewhere where others can’t see you access it.
Try enough ideas before you choose a spot. It needs to be safe enough so that no one finds it by accident.
#5 Fake Installations
Fake installations do well because they blend with the environment. You could have a room with no furniture and still have hidden cash in it. Because air vents, power outlets, and tiles are considered as part of the room.
The next time you do home renovations, consider these ideas:
- Install fake, removable power outlets (or light switches) as a storage
- In the bathroom/kitchen, make a hole in the wall of the size of a tile. Use it as a box
- Install fake air vents and removable pipes
- Turn your shelves into drawers
- Create a wall compartment behind a loose baseboard
It doesn’t take much skill as it’s only about creating storage space.
#6 Under anything
The bottom of most items is almost always out of sight, which makes it the best place to hide (except your mattress). If it’s an item you rarely move, it’s even better:
- Under-drawer compartment
- Under the trash bin
- Attached under a chair or couch
- Under the bottom edge of a door
- Under any furniture
Most thieves won’t look under furniture because it’s noisy, it takes time, and there’s no guarantee of a reward. No chance they look there unless they know you’re gone for a while.
#7 Anything that needs a screwdriver
Same logic as with buried items. If it’s inaccessible for you, so is for burglars. The police will be on their way before they find it.
If burying doesn’t work for you, bolts make a good alternative. Most electronics are empty metal cases, so you can hide objects inside (air vents work too).
So how hard is it to steal it?
- First, the burglar needs to figure out that there’s cash inside the bolted-down item. If this object is fixed to a wall, they won’t know and probably never find it.
- If they do, they need to bring tools or steal a screwdriver that you might have. They could also break it, as long as…
- You’re not at home. And if you hide it outside (e.g., some bolted trapdoor), they will drive public attention by breaking it.
#8 Inside old electronics
While many thieves resell stolen devices, old electronics aren’t easy to steal. If you have broken appliances, CRT TVs, or old speakers, they might still have some use. It’s the last thing a burglar would steal (unless they come prepared to move all that junk).
As seen in #7, most electronics can store other items inside. And since old devices no longer work, it’s safe to use them as boxes. Still, you want to treat them as old, abandoned objects, as they’re supposed to be.
Nothing suggests “low value” better than a dusty cassette player in a messy garage. Or whatever you’ve been holding on the attic. If you have children, they probably have some electronic toys they no longer play with.
#9 Use safes (the right way)
Yes, safe boxes appeared as one of the places to avoid. If you wonder what makes them a good idea at the same time, the key is how you install them.
As mentioned before, the best security is the one the intruder can’t see. Instead of relying on the safe’s security, you should hide the box too (e.g., pictures).
Another plus is installing it in the most inconvenient place, such as:
- Behind furniture
- On the wall under your bed
- Behind a tall frame that’s too high to reach
#10 Add security stressors
It’s not the same to rob an empty house that robbing when the owner is at home. With a bit of responsibility, you can prevent all threats when at home. But what do you do when you’re out of town?
You could scare them away with some tricks (light switches, noises, programmed TVs, beware-of-dogs signs). But let’s assume they’re inside and see you’re not around. Ideally, you’d have a security system to detect them and call the police immediately.
If you don’t, fake security is better than nothing. If burglars see you have (fake) cameras pointing at them, they expect to be watched, so they need to work fast before someone comes.
Because you can’t waste any time, they’ll miss a lot of details when looting your room. They can’t be creative and focused enough to find your secret stash. For better results, combine it with the “fake loot” trick.
Hiding Anything Anywhere
It’s not hard to find places where to hide money. If you’re reading this, you know enough to protect against burglars. And while they may know most of your tricks, they won’t waste time, as they are looking for easy victims.
While these tricks make a good start, the best way to protect your money is:
- Not letting burglars enter in the first place
- Respond as early as possible to incidents (invest in your security system)
- Keep most of your money digitally
And if you plan to hide big bucks at home, remember to be original and don’t rely on a single spot. Preferably, your spot is inaccessible so you don’t visit it often. If you do, others may find it suspicious.
The best time to prevent burglary is before it happens. And if it ever happens to you, learn what you can do to avoid further threats.
Also, write it down somewhere, so you don’t forget about your secret as time goes on. And next time you move to a new place, try checking these places. You may find a pleasant surprise.