Throughout the ages, saving a portion of one’s income has been a solid financial strategy. Those who have prepared for the future through the consistent practice of saving are often the ones who are able to weather a personal financial crisis or a turndown in the general economy.
Today, however, the importance of saving money has become lost on a generation that has easy access to credit for virtually anything. Having such access to a line of credit for major purchases, and even sometimes for minor ones, can be a great blessing. However, in our current era of monetary deceit, it is very easy to become too dependent upon the use, and the expectancy, of lines of credit. In fact, access to credit is at its most deceptive when it allows us to consume far beyond our normal means. (Just ask the 1.5 million individuals who filed for bankruptcy, or the 2.9 million families who received foreclosure notices, in 2010.)
For those of you who are following our Five Levels of Financial Freedom, you know that in Level Three, I stress the need for you to develop a “diversified six-month liquid pool of savings.” I often refer to this as your “DSL” savings. Before continuing, allow me to briefly break down this concept of DSL savings.
D= Diversified… In Level Three, you are going to learn about the need to diversify your savings in order to protect its purchasing power over time. For example, after much research, I have chosen to diversify my own DSL pool of savings into three specific areas: one-third into U.S. Dollar-denominated assets, one-third stable foreign currencies, and one-third physical precious metals.
S= Six Months… In Level Three, you will build your pool of savings up to an amount that is equivalent to six months of your normal income. Example: If you earn $40,000 per year, you will build your DSL pool of savings to $20,000.
L= Liquid… In Level Three, your six-month pool of savings will be diversified among holdings that are highly liquid. Examples include: Money market funds, physical precious metals, cash-value life insurance, and stable foreign currencies, like the Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, and Swiss Franc.
In addition to what I have stated above, it is also important to have cash on hand at home in the rare event that you would need access to it. Some of our readers have reported that they have begun keeping around $500-$1000 cash in their homes. I believe this is a wise policy. A good rule is to have enough cash on hand to pay for a week or two of groceries. Obviously, you do not want to keep a large amount of cash in your home, as it could be subject to theft.
Naturally, the question arises: Where are some safe places to store your cash within your home? Experts say that most burglars spend six minutes or less in a home during a robbery. When hiding cash, and any other valuables for that matter, you should avoid the most obvious places, like under the mattress!
Here’s a sampling of some of the places that our readers tell us that they are hiding their cash.
1. In an “electrical outlet”
For $8 you can buy a hidden wall safe that looks exactly like a wall electrical outlet. Simply store your cash in this contraption, screw it to the wall, and you have an excellent place to hide your money from any would-be thieves. To find this product, simply google the phrase, “hidden wall safe.”
(My comments: The popularity of these devices now has some thieves catching on. If you are using one of these products, you may want to add an extra layer of precaution by installing it behind a large dresser or a heavy bookcase.)
2. In the attic
If your home has an attic, find an obscure area within it to hide your cash. Be sure to wrap it up well to prevent any insulation from getting on it.
(My comments: While this is certainly a good spot, I would personally want to have the cash in a fireproof encasing of some sort to protect it from a home fire.)
3. In a tennis ball
Buy a can of tennis balls and cut a large hole in one of the balls. Stuff your cash into the ball and place it back into the can, at or near the bottom.
(My comments: I think this could work for those who are highly organized. However, it could easily backfire if the tennis ball can was misplaced. Personally, I would prefer another option.)
4. In a purse
Stash the cash into a money wallet inside of a random purse deep within your closet. This works especially well if you have many purses.
(My comments: I like this idea. While anything is possible, it is hard to imagine a thief hunting through a bunch of old purses.)
5. In a fake plant
Take your cash and tape it to the side of an old vase and then stuff the vase with artificial flowers. Then place the vase in a normal place where it does not draw too much attention.
(My comments: I like this idea. While it may not be the best place for all of your cash, this idea could certainly be effective.)
6. Inside a old coat
Hide your cash in the most obscure pocket of an old winter coat that is hanging among many other clothes in your closet. Be sure that it appears worn and is not eye-catching or overly colorful as to draw attention.
(My comments: I like this idea and have personally used this one often over the years.)
7. Under the litter box
Hide your cash under your cat’s litter box. Need I say more?
(My comments: This could prove to be a very effective hiding place as most thieves would not think to look here. More importantly, nor would they want to.)
8. Inside a curtain rod
If your curtain rods have removable caps on the ends, this is a great hiding place. Simply roll up your cash and stuff it into the rods.
(My comments: I like this idea, especially if you have numerous curtain rods throughout your home as it would be overwhelming to a thief to spend time going through them all.)
9. In a can safe
For under $12 you can select from a large variety of average looking food and drink cans that are actually safes for holding valuables. Put your cash into an average-looking can safe disguised as a can of refried beans, or Campbell’s soup, and place it at the back of the cupboard. You can also buy these same types of safes in the form of household cleaners, like a can of Ajax or Comet. Hide these under your sink.
(My comments: You can also make your own with just a little bit of research online. However, know that thieves have become highly sophisticated over the years and are aware of these types of devices. While this idea has the potential to work, if you leave a can of soup under your bathroom sink, the thief will instantly know what it is. Be sure to store these can safes in their appropriate place.)
10. Inside of a book
For less than $15, you can purchase a safe that comes in the form of a regular looking book. From the outside, it will appear like a completely normal book. But once opened, a hollowed out section will provide room to store your cash. Place this book with your cash stuffed inside onto a bookshelf alongside other books. A book is usually a diversion to most thieves who are typically looking for jewelry, cash, and electronics.
(My comments: This is a good solution for those who have a bookshelf full of books. However, because crooks know about this trick, I would not advise it for those with just a few books on a shelf.)
11. In an old pair of shoes
Hide your cash under the inside sole of an old pair of sneakers and place them among many other shoes in your closet. Or better yet, put the money into an old pair of work shoes and place them in the garage or into a work shed.
(My comments: I am slightly uncomfortable with keeping your cash out in a garage or a work shed unless they are secured and locked up tight. But this could prove to be a very effective hiding place if done correctly.)
Here are a few final comments:
If you are married, always be sure to tell your spouse about the money. Otherwise, it is likely that it could be misplaced, given to Goodwill, or thrown away. (However, if the thief that you are worried about is your spouse, your problem is beyond the scope of this article.)
One final strategy would be to leave a couple of $20 bills in an obvious place, such as under the mattress or in the cookie jar. But make sure it looks like you attempted to hide it well. Studies have shown that some thieves will keep looking until they find something of value before leaving. Allowing them to find just a little bit of “properly hid” cash could satisfy the thief and will also keep him/her from thinking that there is much more somewhere else in the house. However, if you live in a very large home or in an upscale neighborhood, you may want to increase this amount to achieve the same effect.