Author Topic: Storing Cash Safely  (Read 2363 times)

Offline Ken325

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Storing Cash Safely
« 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?

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #1 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://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/Waterproof-Case-Pelican-1060-Micro/dp/B001LZ5HDI

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #2 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.

Offline IKN

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #3 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.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #4 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.

Offline scoop

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2019, 07:31:02 PM »
Yep, I'd go with vacuum packing.

Offline slingblade

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #6 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


Offline Stwood

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #7 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

Offline King Hugh

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #8 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.  :)

Offline Stwood

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #9 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.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #10 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.

Offline The Professor

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #11 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



Offline slingblade

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #12 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.

Offline Stwood

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #13 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....

Offline Carver

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #14 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.

Offline Stwood

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #15 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)

Offline N8TV Whisker Biscuit

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #16 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?

Offline Gamer

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #17 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..:)


Offline ChEng

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #18 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!  :)

Offline Fyrediver

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #19 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. 

Offline DDJ

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #20 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.

Offline Fyrediver

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #21 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.

Offline Gamer

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #22 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?

Offline Stwood

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #23 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.

Offline Gamer

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #24 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?

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #25 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.

Offline Ken325

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #26 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. 

Offline Oakie

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #27 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.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #28 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.

Offline Stwood

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Re: Storing Cash Safely
« Reply #29 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