I had a lot of fun trolling the net reading people’s ideas about where to hide big money. Of them, the clear winner is the mason jar in the back yard. Unfortunately, according to most stories, it also usually ends in the money being lost because the person can’t remember where it is, or never tells anyone else.
We all would like to have some ways of keeping cash secure enough so a casual stranger won’t find it in five minutes of unsupervised snooping or outright burglary. Making the cash difficult to find is the aim. A safe bolted to the floor would outwit most short-time burglars, but here are some other ideas:
1. Books. Burglars do check bookcases if they have the time. They throw books on the floor to look behind them, and they will open some books looking for book safes. But if you own many, many books, chances are the burglar will give up the book-by-book search long before the money is found. Most burglars want to get in and out in five to ten minutes. Trouble is, a casual visitor to your home might pull out just the one book you’ve hidden the money in. Safe, or not so safe?
2. Clutter. Got clutter? Serious clutter? If you can’t find your valuable stuff, neither can a burglar. You’ve got bigger problems than burglary, though. Safe.
3. On your person, in a money belt or wallet. These are completely secure and invisible. Even if you are mugged, a mugger is not looking for big money, just whatever is in your regular wallet or purse. Very safe.
4. A bank account. It’s your money and they keep it for you. Simple. The down sides are: now the world knows you have this money, and possibly the account could be used by the bank to pay some other account or debt of yours or even frozen by some government entity. This can happen, but most people don’t have to worry about it. Very, very safe.
5. A bank vault. Unlike a bank account, the contents are not insured, not even by your home insurance policy. But you can put anything that fits into your bank safe deposit box and no one gets to know about it or have access. Choose a freestanding bank in a corner of a busy shopping center, or similar. With no contiguous building to tunnel from, and people always around, that vault is likely to stay safe. In a bank robbery, the bank employees would not have access to your box, so the robbers would have to blast. For various security reasons, they are unlikely to have the time to do so, or to rip through every safe deposit box, regardless of what you’ve seen in the movies. Safest of all, unless your bank is run by thieves who have duplicate keys.
If you truly do not trust banks and have significant money to hide, then the jar in the yard is your answer. Burglars who have unlimited time and aren’t just looking for $50 to $200 to fuel a drug habit will eventually find all your most cunning hiding places inside and around your home, but they don't usually arrive with metal detectors. You hope. On the other hand, are you really going to remember where you buried the jar? Of course using a mayonnaise jar with a plastic lid will make metal detecting useless, but then you still have the issue of remembering where the money is. Hmm...