The Survival Podcast Forum

Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics => Emergency Preparations => Topic started by: Ken325 on January 26, 2019, 01:42:58 AM

Title: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Ken325 on January 26, 2019, 01:42:58 AM
OK, this is a topic I would be nervous talking about except in a place like this forum where we have some anonymity.  A fellow prepper friend of mine told me he opened his safe and found that the cash he put in it had gotten moldy.  I have a second safe in a hidden location that I don’t get into often.  I had put some desiccant into it when I sealed it, but I haven't gotten into it in about 2 years.  I just opened it to check it and I found the cash definitely has some minor mold and a musty smell.  I had small bills in $100 bundles held together with a paper binder and the money also had rust stains where bare metal touched it.  The money is still usable, but I am going to deposit most of it and get new to replace it.  The older more worn bills looked the worst, so I am wondering if the mold starts when people carry it in a wallet or pocket.  I am looking for recommendations.  If my friend and I have both had this problem then I am sure some of you have as well.  What is the answer?  Do I need to cycle the money periodically?  Probably a good idea as they change the bills occasionally, but it would be a real pain to do this on a regular basis.  Do I vacuum seal it in plastic bags?  What is the answer?
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: FreeLancer on January 26, 2019, 03:41:28 AM
Here in California I don't usually have to worry much about mold or rust.  For a long time I kept my cash stash inside a flimsy cardboard box in the cheap small fire safe I file my financial stuff in without any problems.  A few years ago I decided to up the security of the stash by putting it, along with some documents, video tapes and hard drives, inside a Honeywell fire box and then putting the Honeywell into my gun safe, sort of a double fire protection setup that's a lot harder for someone to haul away and break into. 

I've never had moisture issues with my gun safe, no rust, nothing.  So I was surprised when I went to get something out of the Honeywell and found that everything made out of paper was damp , smelly, and the bills were moldy.  The video tapes and drives were fine, but everything paper-based had absorbed a noticeable amount of moisture.  The guns were fine, so the moisture was confined inside the Honeywell.  After a little research I learned that the Honeywell fire box is surrounded by an insulation that contains a bunch of loosely bound water, which is why they're so heavy.  In a fire situation, the plastic of the box fuses the contents inside and the outer insulation vents evaporated water over a specific period of time in order to keep the contents cool and then once the box is recovered from the ashes you take a hacksaw and cut it open to get the contents out.  Although I could never find a defect in the plastic, I think that the inside storage compartment of the Honeywell was in contact with the wet insulation material and the increase in humidity was absorbed by the paper currency.  I've tried other Honeywell boxes since and haven't found the same problem, so that particular sample must have been defective.

I dried out by damp, moldy currency by clamping the stack at one end in front of a fan outside in the direct summer sun for several hours, then clamped the other end the same way in front of the fan for a few more hours.  What mold didn't blow away during the drying process was easily wiped off and in the end the bills looked pretty normal, so I didn't exchange them for new ones since the denominations were all of the most recent issue.  I got a new Honeywell for inside the gun safe, but to be safe I put the bills inside a small water proof Pelican Micro Case and haven't had a problem since.  I thought about vacuum sealing it, but it's a pain to reseal the bag when you pull a few bills off the stack for something, plus I've had seal failures on some of my vacuum bags, but the Pelican stuff has never failed me.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/819X8aLzg8L._SX425_.jpg)

https://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-Safes-Door-Locks-Waterproof/dp/B004FOTE1S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548498521&sr=8-1&keywords=honeywell%2Bfire%2Bbox&th=1 (https://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-Safes-Door-Locks-Waterproof/dp/B004FOTE1S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548498521&sr=8-1&keywords=honeywell%2Bfire%2Bbox&th=1)


(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41X1YlJhpfL._SX425_.jpg)

https://www.amazon.com/Waterproof-Case-Pelican-1060-Micro/dp/B001LZ5HDI (https://www.amazon.com/Waterproof-Case-Pelican-1060-Micro/dp/B001LZ5HDI)
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Alan Georges on January 26, 2019, 06:21:15 AM
Bills are going to pick up mold spores, bacteria, you name it.  As the Jurassic Park quote goes, "Life finds a way."  Spores plus food in the form of paper, that's needed is water.

Chemical dryers like Damp-Rid can help, but they're a salt.  Not table salt, I forget the exact chemical, but a salt nonetheless.  Salt's not going into my gun safe, but dryers are a help in keeping my truck's interior mold-free in damp weather.  If you have a separate, relatively air-tight container for non-coroding things like paper bills, it might work for you there.

Alternatively, you might gently warm the bills in an oven and then mylar seal them.  It'd be a little work and they wouldn't be as accessible (maybe a good thing).

My solution though is a whole-house dehumidifier, but that's probably overkill for you.  I was having problems with the whole house though, not just a few bills in the safe.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: IKN on January 26, 2019, 07:27:49 AM
Mine is in a small safe inside the big safe inside the house and I haven't had issue with mold. I think the reason for this is I open the safe from time to time (at least once a month or two) for other purposes. I have 2 external hard drives that I back up my computer data on, one is in the safe and the other in a handy grab and go location. At least once every couple months I update the grab and go hard drive and then swap it out with the one in the safe and update it as well.
This process makes me open up both safes to do, which allows new air and light to get inside and would show any early signs of damage due to mold or other issues. Short of installing a moisture control heating element in your safe, having a maintenance item like mine is your best option. This would be even more necessary and frequent if your safe isn't in an environmentally controlled structure where it would be possible for a high heat and/or humidity condition to exist inside.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: fritz_monroe on January 26, 2019, 04:12:26 PM
How about vacuum packing the cash with a desiccant packet?  I would think that the Pelican case would work fine with a desiccant packet also.  Maybe one of those Mason jars with the rubber seal and wire clamp thing.  But I think any solution needs to include desiccant. 

But cycling the cash out periodically would work great.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: scoop on January 26, 2019, 07:31:02 PM
Yep, I'd go with vacuum packing.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: slingblade on January 30, 2019, 10:03:10 AM
I had some stinky cash once.  Now I use one of these.  Recharge once a quarter or so.  Problem solved.

https://www.amazon.com/Pro-Breeze-Renewable-Cordless-Dehumidifier/dp/B01DCF0T1Y/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1548867685&sr=8-4&keywords=stack+on+dehumidifier

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41Hnc3ZTTYL.jpg)
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Stwood on January 30, 2019, 04:15:25 PM
Ours is just in a cabinet, wrapped in cloth.
Never noticed any moisture. We do rotate it. Use/replace
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: King Hugh on February 18, 2019, 05:33:29 PM
This brings to mind a question i hadnt thought much about. How much cash do you keep stored? Ive probably got a few hundred laying around at any one time but its not really stored...it just hasnt been spent yet.  :)
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Stwood on February 18, 2019, 06:06:05 PM
This brings to mind a question i hadnt thought much about. How much cash do you keep stored? Ive probably got a few hundred laying around at any one time but its not really stored...it just hasnt been spent yet.  :)

Not a whole lot, and like yours, unspent.  ;D

I lost a bunch of it when I had the boating accident.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: fritz_monroe on February 18, 2019, 06:13:34 PM
This brings to mind a question i hadnt thought much about. How much cash do you keep stored? Ive probably got a few hundred laying around at any one time but its not really stored...it just hasnt been spent yet.  :)
I don't have any set amount.  I tend to keep anywhere from $500 to $2500 in various places at any given time.

I know of some folks that keep several months worth of their bills in cash on hand.  I know that there's a possibility of a run on the banks, but I don't feel that's very likely.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: The Professor on February 18, 2019, 07:12:02 PM
I know it's probably not what you're looking for, but. . .have you considered converting it into gold or silver coin?

The Professor


Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: slingblade on February 19, 2019, 12:33:21 PM
Ours is just in a cabinet, wrapped in cloth.
Never noticed any moisture. We do rotate it. Use/replace

Probably the most likely threat is fire... I would look at some sort of fire proof (resistant?) safe/cabinet.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Stwood on February 19, 2019, 12:49:47 PM
Probably the most likely threat is fire... I would look at some sort of fire proof (resistant?) safe/cabinet.

I've often thought of that, but just haven't pulled the trigger on one.
Something small enough to embed in the floor, under something.
Bed...staircase....
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Carver on February 21, 2019, 09:15:16 AM
I know of somebody that vacuum sealed a stash of aper bills 5-7 years ago and still good. I forget who that was.
As long as there is no "use by" date on it, this should work.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Stwood on February 21, 2019, 09:34:25 AM
I know of somebody that vacuum sealed a stash of aper bills 5-7 years ago and still good. I forget who that was.
As long as there is no "use by" date on it, this should work.

 8)
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: N8TV Whisker Biscuit on April 15, 2019, 04:09:41 PM
Wouldn't of thought to worry about that before, good to know now. Perhaps moisture packets in sealable bags?
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Gamer on May 05, 2019, 10:55:08 AM
I bought this 8" cashbox off the internet a couple of years ago for peanuts but it's TOTAL JUNK because the lock is very loose and doesn't click shut, the key simply turns that hook over a latch, and vibration can easily unlock it!
To my horror I see it's on sale in big stores, so there are going to be a lot of people scrambling to pick up their money when it springs open.
The only good thing about it is that it's not tinny but is good solid steel, so hopefully it'll protect my banknotes if a fire starts in my home when I'm out..:)

(https://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g64/PoorOldSpike/sub4/sub4001/cashbx_zpsazf3ejjv.jpg~original)
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: ChEng on May 13, 2019, 07:23:29 PM
I know of somebody that vacuum sealed a stash of aper bills 5-7 years ago and still good. I forget who that was.
As long as there is no "use by" date on it, this should work.
This past Thursday evening, my wife asked if we had anything in the fire safe. I replied that I was pretty sure that there was nothing in there... You can probably guess where this is heading.
Any way, after a trip to the bank, with a bunch of moldy, stinky bills to be returned to the federal government (along with a pair of rubber gloves for the poor teller,) I returned to the house with two envelopes of bills. I went straight to the kitchen and turned on the oven - ah hour later I had some recharged desiccant packets, and (remembering this exact post from Carver) vacuum sealed the packets of bills with desiccant included. Any more money going into the fire safe will be likewise sealed.
Thank you Carver!  :)
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Fyrediver on May 15, 2019, 04:53:57 PM
I strongly encourage people to store their valuables in a fire resistant container.  Been to a lot of fires where people lost everything. 

A decent fire safe stored someplace out of a ventilation path, like a closet with the door kept closed, can protect contents for quite a while.  Even an un-insulated steel box stored in a sealed closet can buy quite a bit of time especially if there's a quick fire department response.  Add a layer of sheetrock or make it a solid core door and you've really bought some time. 
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: DDJ on May 16, 2019, 10:43:35 AM
When processing stored cash keep in mind the big brother effect.  If you have a bunch (5k or under) transactions have to be reported.  I know some one who was told by an "expert" to make sure his kids kept his cash out of site after he passed. Not only would the IRS get involved but other alphabet soup and then there were the cases of a pile of money was drug money seizers.  these were all over the news a few years back.  Things like someone caring cash to make a purchase (tractor I think) got pulled over and when the LEO saw the cash it was declared drug money and taken.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Fyrediver on May 16, 2019, 10:14:47 PM
  Things like someone caring cash to make a purchase (tractor I think) got pulled over and when the LEO saw the cash it was declared drug money and taken.

Civil forfeiture is the "name" of the asset seizure program and it's definitely a real thing.  All it takes is a police officer saying it may be drug proceeds and your car, your cash, guns etc are all gone and you have to prove that they weren't due to drug trade.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Gamer on June 07, 2019, 07:00:48 PM
Incidentally, what about funerals?
If somebody dies and his/her relatives say "Sorry, we can't afford a funeral director", will the government have to pay for the funeral?
And suppose the deceased has got cash in the bank, can the government seize it to cover funeral costs?
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Stwood on June 08, 2019, 06:41:20 PM
Pretty sure the state will cover the cost.
And I think the state can seize all accounts.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Gamer on June 09, 2019, 09:05:53 AM
Another thing- Here in Britain we've got the National Health Service where treatment is free, but what happens in America if somebody needs medical treatment but says "I can't pay" even though he might have cash in the bank?
Can the authorities raid his bank account?
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: iam4liberty on June 09, 2019, 10:21:42 AM
Another thing- Here in Britain we've got the National Health Service where treatment is free, but what happens in America if somebody needs medical treatment but says "I can't pay" even though he might have cash in the bank?
Can the authorities raid his bank account?

The US legal system is divided into civil and criminal court systems.  If a person buys any product or service and doesnt pay for it, they can be sued in civil court and have a judgement placed against them.  The court can then order payment be made from checking/savings accounts and your wages garnished.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Ken325 on June 10, 2019, 10:05:44 PM
Quote
The court can then order payment be made from checking/savings accounts and your wages garnished.
That is part of the reason for having some cash and other items that are off the books.  There are limits to what can be seized.  They can't take the home you live in, your only car, and I think some retirment accounts are protected from bankruptsy courts.  If you have a boat, rental houses, and other forms of wealth then you can lose all of that.

It is a real incentive to keep good health insurance.  I know a bunch of poeple who could retire in their 50s if they had a way of paying for health insurance. 
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Oakie on June 12, 2019, 11:12:19 AM
That is part of the reason for having some cash and other items that are off the books.  There are limits to what can be seized.  They can't take the home you live in, your only car, and I think some retirment accounts are protected from bankruptsy courts.  If you have a boat, rental houses, and other forms of wealth then you can lose all of that.

It is a real incentive to keep good health insurance.  I know a bunch of poeple who could retire in their 50s if they had a way of paying for health insurance.
They may not be able to take your home but in some states they can put a lien against it and will get their money if home is ever sold.
IRA's and life insurance is fairly well protected.



Another thought on stashing money, most homeowners insurance policies  has limits of $250 coverage total for cash, bonds, silver, gold etc.
I'd suggest a fire box inside another fire box at the very least. Some are merely 'fire resistant' not fire proof.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: FreeLancer on June 12, 2019, 01:51:05 PM
the Pelican stuff has never failed me.

Never say never.  I’m still not sure it’s a failure, but I rotated some cash from the Pelican case and it felt noticeably damp to the touch and the bills were sticking to each other.  I lubed the seals with silicone grease and dumped several desiccant packets in. Neither the Pelican nor the Honeywell cases felt damp inside. I’ll see how things are in a month or two.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Stwood on June 12, 2019, 02:34:40 PM





I'd suggest a fire box inside another fire box at the very least. Some are merely 'fire resistant' not fire proof.



We could go back to the mason jar buried out back.... ;D
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: David in MN on June 12, 2019, 03:32:20 PM
Not to be a jerk... but I think there is a lot of climate issue here.

I use a $2 bill to size things for client woodwork. Sometimes people need a reference and the $2 is the weirdo bill so I stand out a little. It's a marketing thing. It's sat in the office for many years (printed in 2003) and as crisp as the day I got it. Granted Minnesota has a mild summer and a bitterly cold dry winter. I know it sounds crazy that it's dry with 4 feet of snow pack but it's true. So cash doesn't seem to go bad here. At least not as quick.

Now in the case of storing cash... Get some kind of fire prevention. And if you transport cash lock it up to have at least a 4th Amendment case if there is a police issue.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: FreeLancer on June 12, 2019, 04:09:15 PM
In my case it certainly isn’t the climate, it’s the humidity that comes with storing paper in a firebox with the added humidity inherent to that type of insulation.  If anybody knows of a fire resistant box that doesn’t rely on a high humidity barrier, I’m all ears. 

In taking a second look at the fine print on the inside of the Honeywell lid, it says something to the effect of opening the box up every week to prevent dampness of the contents. Yeah, right.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: iam4liberty on June 12, 2019, 04:57:22 PM
Why not just rotate the money once a year?
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Ken325 on June 13, 2019, 02:57:05 PM
I think the best option for a fire proof safe would be a floor safe that is mounted in the slab of a home when it is built.  Something like this.  https://www.amazon.com/Protex-IF-1500C-Floor-Safe-Medium/dp/B01BXXK3HM/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=in+slab+safe&qid=1560458490&s=gateway&sr=8-1 (https://www.amazon.com/Protex-IF-1500C-Floor-Safe-Medium/dp/B01BXXK3HM/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=in+slab+safe&qid=1560458490&s=gateway&sr=8-1)

But that is not possible in all circumstances.  I live in a townhome and can't jackhammer a hole in the slab.  My original question was about mold forming on the cash and how to prevent it.  I had some cash in a airtight fireproof safe, in an alternate location, that I had not gotten into in over a year.  It had some mold on it.  The desicant I had in the safe was used up or didn't do enough.  A friend told me he had the same problem. 

I checked with my insurance company.  Gold, silver and cash are not insured in the event of a fire.  Use a fire safe.  Try to put it somewhere it won't be exposed to fire.  Tell no one to avoid robbery.  My own personal rule is don't keep enough cash that it will ruin you if you lose it and don't keep it all in one place.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: iam4liberty on June 13, 2019, 03:14:13 PM
But that is not possible in all circumstances.  I live in a townhome and can't jackhammer a hole in the slab.  My original question was about mold forming on the cash and how to prevent it.  I had some cash in a airtight fireproof safe, in an alternate location, that I had not gotten into in over a year.  It had some mold on it.  The desicant I had in the safe was used up or didn't do enough.  A friend told me he had the same problem. 

As mentioned above, most firesafes contain moisture in the walls. No amount of dessicant will absorb it and if it did it would make firesafe less effective.  If you want to keep cash in firesafe from gaining mold, dry them then seal in mylar bags with dessicant. 
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Gamer on June 14, 2019, 12:11:09 PM
Incidentally, country and western star David "Stringbean" Akeman kept his money at home but made the mistake of letting too many people know it, and he and his wife were murdered by two burglars in 1973, who never found the money and left empty-handed.
Another mistake was that he didn't tell at least one close friend or relative that his money was hidden up the chimney, so after he was killed it all went to waste because they never saw a penny of it..

"Depression-era bank failures caused Akeman not to trust banks with his money. Gossip around Nashville was that Akeman kept large amounts of cash on hand.."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_%22Stringbean%22_Akeman

"..a decomposed wad of about $20,000 in cash was discovered behind a brick in the cabin's chimney nearly a quarter century later.."
https://www.idolnetworth.com/stringbean-net-worth-62659
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Gamer on June 14, 2019, 07:11:16 PM
Another thing worth mentioning is that if we've got passwords to our bank accounts (and other sensitive stuff) stored on our computers, a burglar who pinches our computer will have a field day going through it to gain access to places we'd rather not have him gain access to..;)

PS- I don't know what the law allows in America, but here in Britain the police are apparently allowed to seize your computer if you've been arrested for anything, and I speak from personal experience (minor vigilante rap in 2001), they seized mine and kept it for 10 weeks before eventually returning it to me after going through it looking for "evidence", but they didn't find a sausage, hehe..:)

PPS- They also took a DNA sample from me (a small swab from my inner cheek) but apparently couldn't match it to any criminal.
The moral?- Don't commit an arrestable offence of any kind..;)
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Ken325 on June 16, 2019, 11:10:19 AM
Use a password manager.  I use ewallet and have since the palm pilot days.  It is synched to all my devices. My information  is not stored in the "cloud", it is stored on my computer, and it is encrypted so even the software manufacturer can not see it.  This also allows me to use long, complex passwords.   I cut and paste my passwords so keyloggers cannot see it.  I also use 2 factor authintication when I can on every account that is connected to money.  I use a VPN when using public wifi.  That may not be a perfect system but it is all that I can do.

In the US you can be required to give a fingeprint to the police, so passwords are more secure than using your fingerprint for a password on your phone.  You can't be forced to give up a password becasue that is protected by 5th ammendment.

I have system so close relatives can find my cash.  Well the larger chunks of it at least.  I have a bad habbit of hiding $20 dollar bills in various places and a lot of this will probably not be found. We are talking less than $500 total when talking about my emercency cash stashes.
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: FreeLancer on July 06, 2019, 05:45:02 PM
Never say never.  I’m still not sure it’s a failure, but I rotated some cash from the Pelican case and it felt noticeably damp to the touch and the bills were sticking to each other.  I lubed the seals with silicone grease and dumped several desiccant packets in. Neither the Pelican nor the Honeywell cases felt damp inside. I’ll see how things are in a month or two.


Last week I decided it was time to dry out the stash of cash in the oven, because it was still pretty damp, and was surprised how much steam was generated in the process.  I retired that particular Pelican Micro Case and started playing with some other Pelican alternatives.


So, in an effort to be a bit more scientific, the last few weeks I've been measuring the internal humidity of the Honeywell fire boxes, as well as that of the small Pelican Micro, Go, and Ruck cases that will fit inside them.

The humidity inside the Honeywell varies widely between my 4 examples, with some around 90% and others near 70%, and I haven't been able to figure out what contributes to this variability.

Measured humidity inside all the Pelican cases tend to stay at or slightly above my ambient inside humidity of 50% when locked inside the Honeywell.  But the Ruck series consistently shows lower humidity levels than the other two, probably due to its robust seal mechanism, with the Go series being worse than the Micro series, which is weird because the Go is rated to be submersible.  I wouldn't buy the Go again, better off saving money with a Micro (plus with the clear lids you can see what's inside without opening the lid) or get a much better box with the Ruck versions.  Either way, I think you need to test them before you commit your valuables.


(https://www.sohh.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Pelican-Products-759x500.jpg)
Title: Re: Storing Cash Safely
Post by: Gamer on August 31, 2019, 06:54:12 AM
I keep my cash in a small metal cashbox, but when I saw an advert for this fireproof/waterproof bag I just had to have one, it only cost peanuts (12 GB pounds/ 17 US dollars).
Now I keep my cash in the bag inside the cashbox for double-whammy protection..:)

(https://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g64/PoorOldSpike/sub4/sub4002/fireproof-bag_zpsfurl4i74.jpg~original)

PS- Regarding the danger that some members have mentioned about banknotes going mouldy, personally I'm always in and out of my cashbox and bag to take money out to spend, and put fresh money in, so a build-up of mould won't ever be a problem.