If you would rather store your own money than entrust them to a bank, burying your money is an easy option. Further in this article, I’ll talk in detail about the various ways to bury money as well as important aspects of this money storage method to help you get started.
To bury money without it rotting, you can either put it in an airtight plastic bag or a stainless steel safe. Bury your money five feet underground in a dry location with a low temperature so there’s less chance of the paper bills deteriorating, especially if you’re planning to store money long-term.
For more details, please keep reading.
Methods of Burying Money Without It Deteriorating
If you’re the unconventional type who prefers burying your money instead of keeping it in the bank, doing so properly is key. Not only do you need to make sure that you’ll be able to retrieve your money in the future, but you also need to make sure that it remains intact.
Since paper bills are made of biodegradable materials–mostly cotton and linen–that are prone to degradation with moisture, humidity, and even time, you have to be meticulous about how you bury them.
Here are two different ways you can safely store your money five feet under.
Keep Bills in an Airtight Plastic Bag
One of the biggest enemies of your stash of money is moisture. The moment that moisture, however little, gets in contact with your paper bills, they’ll be covered by mold and mildew in no time. And once your bills get moldy, you can kiss your money’s value goodbye.
For this method, you’ll need the following materials:
- Rubber bands.
- Vacuum sealer.
- Ziploc or freezer bags (smaller ones for the paper bills and a larger one for double bagging).
- Silica gel.
To bury your money in an airtight plastic bag, follow these steps:
- Clean your money. If your paper bills have any signs of mildew or mold, you can gently wipe the paper bills with rubbing alcohol. However, don’t soak the bills in alcohol, as this will damage the material and weaken the ink.
- Dry your money thoroughly. The best way to dry bills is to simply let them soak up some sunlight. Exposure to the sun also kills any germs and bacteria that may be on your paper bills. Make sure that each one is completely dry before proceeding to the next step.
- Arrange your paper bills in even stacks. Using rubber bands, arrange the paper bills according to value and stack them up evenly.
- Seal individual stacks in an airtight plastic bag. Now that the bills are organized, place each stack in a plastic bag of just the right size. Using the vacuum sealer, squeeze out the air from the bags before sealing.
- Double bag the money. Place the bags of money in a larger airtight bag for added protection against the elements. Put in a bag of silica gel inside the larger plastic bag to keep moisture out. Vacuum out the air from the bag and then seal.
- Place the money bag inside a deep hole. Make sure to dig a five-foot-deep pit and place the money bag securely inside. Cover up the hole once finished.
- Put a marker on the location. You can’t risk forgetting where you buried your money, so make sure you place a marker on the site (if it doesn’t already have a natural marker. Be creative about the marker so it doesn’t pique the curiosity of other people.
This method is best for short-term to mid-range storage. If you want to add protection, use a hard, airtight PVC container to double bag your money instead of a freezer or Ziploc bag. Alternatively, you can put salt inside your second plastic bag as an added layer of protection against natural decomposers.
Stash Money in a Steel Safe
For those looking to bury their money long-term–say, more than 10 years–you can up the protection by using a steel safe instead of a plastic bag or container. This method is great especially if you live in more temperate areas, as it can better protect your paper bills from the elements.
Here’s what you need to prepare:
- Rubber bands.
- Vacuum sealer.
- Ziploc bags.
- Silica gel.
- Airtight steel safe.
If you’re ready to store your money using this method, you can follow these steps:
- Clean and dry your money. Just as with the previous method, it’s important to store clean and thoroughly dry paper bills.
- Organize your paper bills. Organize your money according to value and stack them evenly using rubber bands.
- Seal money in airtight plastic bags. Once your paper bills are organized, place them inside airtight plastic bags. Vacuum out the air inside the bags before sealing.
- Double bag the money. Place the smaller plastic bags in one larger airtight plastic bag. Place a bag of silica gel inside the bag before vacuuming the air out. Once done, seal the bag.
- Put the plastic bag in a steel safe. Choose a safe that’s airtight and resistant to corrosion, as the safe will be your first line of defense against the elements.
- Seal the safe with plumbing adhesive. To keep moisture and air out long-term, seal your steel safe with a plumbing adhesive. Try this Amazing GOOP plumbing adhesive (available on Amazon), as it sets quickly and lasts long.
- Set the safe in a deep pit. Dig a hole with a depth of at least five feet and set your safe securely in the pit. If you have a relatively large safe, you may want to dig a deeper hole.
- Place a marker on the site. To make sure you remember where you buried your money, place a marker on the spot that’s easily recognizable to you but will not attract the curiosity of others. Better yet, choose a location that already has a natural landmark, such as a tree.
How Do You Stop Rotting Money?
Any biodegradable material will naturally decompose if left exposed to natural elements like air, water, heat, and bacteria. So since money is made of biodegradable materials, it’s prone to rotting and will rot unless something is done to keep it from happening.
To keep your money from rotting, you have to prevent exposure to moisture, keep air out of storage containers, and repel natural decomposers. Using airtight bgs or steel vaults is the best way to protect your money from rotting.
Let’s look at these in more detail.
Prevent Exposure to Moisture
When you’re burying paper bills, arguably your biggest enemy is the moisture underground. No matter where you are–whether you have a warm or cool climate–moisture is pretty high underneath the ground. And moisture is the perfect breeding ground for natural decomposers as well as for mold and mildew that can take over your paper bills.
To keep this from happening, use storage bags that can withstand underground pressure without allowing moisture to seep in. Airtight containers are usually pretty good at keeping moisture out, so Ziploc or freezer bags can do the trick just fine. Airtight PVC containers are also useful in this regard.
You can also use silica gel bags to absorb what moisture may be present inside your storage container. If you are double-bagging, you can put the silica gel in the second or outer bag to keep moisture from seeping into your main bag.
Keep Air Out
Hand-in-hand with keeping moisture out is preventing air from going into your storage containers. Decomposition can happen without the presence of oxygen. However, the process can be very slow. With oxygen, the decomposition happens faster, damaging the material in paper bills and making them unusable.
Take note that damaged bills lose their value because they are no longer acceptable in banks and other financial institutions.
To keep air out, use airtight containers when storing your money. Vacuuming air from inside the storage bags is also vital, so if you have a vacuum seal at home, you can put that to good use if you’re looking to bury your money.
Repel Natural Decomposers
Natural decomposers can be invisible to the naked eye, such as bacteria, or large enough to be observable, like insects. These decomposers thrive in damp underground environments, which makes money prone to rotting if left unprotected.
To decrease the likelihood of your money deteriorating, you may fill your storage container with salt. You will then be essentially preserving your bills by repelling bacteria and other decomposers that could break it down.
However, you’ll still need to keep your money dry and your storage airtight throughout its storage period if you want paper bills in pristine condition. So don’t just rely on adding salt!
Store in a Cool, Dry Place
It’s common to read storage instructions that say “Store in a cool, dry place,” regardless if it’s food, medicine, or other materials that may break down with exposure. And the same is true with storing money underground!
The underground is, unfortunately, usually a damp environment, so taking precautions to make sure that your storage container is dry is essential. To achieve this, you can make use of a stainless steel safe or a thick concrete vault that is airtight and resistant to corrosion.
For added protection, you can also use plumbing adhesive or epoxy to seal the vault off in order to make sure that no air or moisture gets through however long you keep it buried.
How Long Can Money Be Buried?
If stored properly, money can be buried for decades and remain in pristine condition. However, if the paper bills are not properly dried before storage, the moisture will quickly cause the bills to degrade, causing them to be unusable in only a few years’ time.
Another important consideration is the time it takes before paper bills expire. This varies depending on the value of the money, which can be anywhere from 7 to 22 years. The higher the value, the longer the paper bill’s lifespan.
So if you’re thinking of burying cash for a decade or more, you may want to bury 100-dollar bills. Otherwise, you may end up with cash that you can no longer use.
Is It Illegal To Bury Cash at Home?
It’s perfectly legal to bury cash at home. In fact, it’s a great option for those who need to hide their money in special circumstances. When doing so, however, make sure that you don’t damage your cash, as doing so is against the law.
According to the United States Code, anything that is done to currency that renders it unfit for circulation is a crime. So make sure that you don’t cut, perforate, or do any other damage to your bills as you are storing them!
Best Way To Bury Coins
Just as you can bury paper bills, you can also bury coins underground. However, your biggest concern will then be corrosion. Metals like silver, which is commonly used in coins, are prone to damage from corrosion. And when that happens, the coin loses its value.
To keep that from happening, here are ways you can safely bury coins.
Store Coins in an Airtight Plastic Bag
One of the simplest ways to bury coins is by storing them in an airtight plastic bag. To make sure the coins remain in good condition, wipe them down with a microfiber cloth before stacking them in plastic bags. Also, you may double bag your coins to keep moisture and air out better.
Hide Your Coins in a Glass Jar
Another option is hiding your coins in a glass or mason jar. When choosing a glass jar, make sure that it’s airtight and can handle pressure. You don’t want something that will break into pieces underground. You may also seal the jar with epoxy or plumbing adhesive.
Keep Coins in a Metal Container
Lastly, you can store your coins in a metal container, such as a stainless steel box or safe. You’ll want something that’s sturdy, resistant to corrosion, and airtight. For your peace of mind, you may also seal your container with plumbing adhesive as well as add in silica gel to absorb any moisture.
You can bury your money in your backyard or somewhere easily accessible to you if using a bank isn’t an option you like taking. We hope that by following our recommendations above, you’ll be able to keep your cash in great shape, despite the risks of storing it underground.
For more, check out How to Store Large Amounts of Cash (With Locations to Avoid).
Disclaimer: The suggestions in this article are based on research and opinion only. Survivalfreedom.com nor it's writers will be held responsible for any loss incurred from using the methods outlined here. A bank or safe deposit box is the best way to store valuables over the long term. Bury your money at your own risk.
Hey, I’m Jim, and I’m the author of this website. I have been teaching people a wide variety of survivalism topics for over five years and have a lifetime of experience fishing, camping, general survivalism, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!