The Ultimate Guide to Physically Stashing Your Money (Including Gold, Silver, and Barter Items)

How to safely store your money for a variety of circumstances. How to store it in your bug out bag so it doesn’t get lost or stolen the moment you’re on the move. How to store it physically in your home where thieves and (if push comes to shove) the government won’t be able to find it. If you’re lucky enough to live on enough land where making a cache makes sense, how to do that effectively, mostly so you don’t forget about it.

The first rule to storing valuables is to not tell anyone where you put them. Your spouse, adult children, and closest friends are pretty much the only exceptions to this. Young children might tell someone if pressured but, you know best how your child would handle such a secret.

The more people who know where your money is the bigger chance they tell someone they shouldn’t. You also, ideally, shouldn’t be seen by anyone adding to or taking from the storage, so they can’t put two and two together.

While you might trust your neighbors and friends right now, when SHTF they may attempt to steal from you. In the meantime, they could gossip about your stash with unsavory characters, not realizing that their distant nephew, for example, may take advantage of that knowledge. Prepping for theft is just as important as prepping for any other unfortunate circumstance.

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Keeping a wad of cash in your bug-out-bagemergency car kit, or get-home bag is a smart idea. If the power goes out cash will still be accepted and that can get you anything you need, from supplies to bribes. Even if civilization is collapsing, most people won’t think of the disaster as long term and will still be moved by a flash of a hundred dollar bill.

Ideally, you would have both small bills and large bills. Don’t carry coins—they make noise and are heavier. Just have a few fives instead, some vending machines these days even take cash. Still, the cash is no good to you if they get stolen, so where do you stash them?

First, place the cash in a water-proof bag, a generic Ziploc bag will do. Then you want to place the bag inside of an unassuming container within your bag—a place a thief would never think you would hide money, that ideally takes some time to open. Ideally, if someone decides to dump out your bag, or if you take a tumble, the cash won’t be visible when it falls out. Possibilities include:

  • inside a flashlight
  • inside an empty water bottle
  • among bandages/gauze pads in your first aid kit
  • taped beneath the sole in your extra hiking boots
  • inside your water filter, if it fits
  • in the center of your toilet paper roll (which is also in a water proof bag)
  • taped and folded into your poncho, raincoat or emergency blanket
  • inside the radio (if you have space for a screwdriver in your kit)
  • wrapped up in your map
  • in the cap on your fire extinguisher (if it has a cap)
  • in your ammo case
  • taped into the inside of your spare clothes (so the money won’t fall if someone shakes the clothes)

It might be tight to get all of your cash in some of these spots. That’s no problem, just split the stack and place it in two spots. It is safer that way anyway.

The longer it takes you to get at your cash the better, because when you’re buying something you’ll have all the time in the world, but a thief only has as much time as it takes for you to notice them. Besides, once you have a moment when you’re bugging out or getting home, you’ll transfer the cash to a separate container that you can keep directly on your body. This is like a cash belt people use while traveling. It should have your cash and perhaps one or two more of your most essential items.

You can find cash belts that go around your waist, neck, or leg. Ladies can find little wallets that fit in their bra. Or, you can look into little wallets to put into the bottom of your shoe, unless you would find that too uncomfortable (for example, if this is for your get-home bag, you could be walking for a long time, so that would be way too uncomfortable). Stack-On PFS-1608 Pers... Best Price: null Buy New $149.99 (as of 01:15 EST - Details)

If you don’t want to use a cash belt or don’t have room for one in your bag, I suggest you keep most of your cash in the hiding spot you picked earlier, and put a bit of it in a more accessible location. That way you don’t have to reveal the location of the rest of your cash when paying for something, and if someone steals that cash you still have most of it.

Precious Metals in Your Bug-Out-Bag

There are a select few circumstances where you might have precious metals in your bug out bag. If you’re fleeing your home because an earthquake, volcanic eruption, or war-time explosion might destroy it, you’ll want to have as much wealth on you as you can carry.

If you’re bugging out during a financial crisis (whether or not you’re bugging out because of the financial crisis) you can bet your home will be ransacked, so you’ll probably want to carry at least some of your precious metals with you.

Precious metals are lightweight considering their value. But they still add serious weight, and they have a few special storage needs.

  • Precious metals need to be stored in absolutely water proof containers
  • Precious metals need to be stored in a special non-abrasive plastic that feels hard, not soft. The soft plastics will wear down the surface of the metal, reducing its value and making it harder to verify over the long-term. Paper and other materials have a similar effect.
  • Precious metals can jingle and make you louder, which could destroy your gray man efforts. All the more reason to put in into hard plastic containers, with perhaps your clothing or other cloth layered between so nothing clangs as you walk.

Otherwise you should try to store your precious metals like your cash, in a way that’s hard for a thief to access.

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