Carrying cash as part of your EDC: How to carry it and where to hide it (Part 3 of 3)

cash in edc organizer

Money is a key component of everyday carry (EDC). It’s a necessary part of life as we have to pay for goods, food, services and even help when we need it. Technology has created a heavy dependence on electronic payments via debit and credit cards and app-based payments like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, but cash talks when nothing else will.

If you haven’t been following along, catch up on our 3-part series as we cover why you should be intentional about carrying cash as part of your EDC:

  1. Part 1: Six reasons why you should carry cash
  2. Part 2: How much cash you should carry
  3. Part 3: How to carry cash (current article)

Ensuring that you have some amount of cash on your person is a critical component of EDC. We go into depth in part 1 about why it’s so important to ensure you are intentional about always having cash on your person, as well as how much cash you should carry in your Primary, Secondary and Extended EDC

cash and wallet in hand

Factors to Consider

With an emphasis on redundancy, as you want to carry cash in a minimum of two places, think about a variety of factors before you walk out the door:

  1. Where are you going?
    • Running a short errand to the grocery store is different than an all-day outing at an amusement park or even going to work
  2. How will you get to and move about while at your destination?
    • Driving? Taking public transportation? Walking? Having access to a vehicle makes planning your Extended EDC easier, but there are dependencies like ensuring your car keys are not lost. If you’re taking public transportation, ensuring enough cash in a secondary location to get yourself and anyone else in your party home is critical
  3. How long will you be there?
    • 30 minutes? All-day? Through mealtimes?
  4. Will you have your family, specifically your kids, with you?
    • Being responsible for your spouse and children makes preparedness even more important
  5. How many people are you with?
    • If you’re headed to work and only responsible for yourself, versus going somewhere with a large group, makes a difference in your planning
  6. What clothing are you wearing?
    • Wintertime clothing offers many more options than summer

So, how do you carry cash? Let’s break down the three tiers of EDC and how you can practically carry money as you move through day-to-day life. 

Primary EDC

In your wallet

Cash in Maxpedition Spartan Wallet
The Maxpedition Spartan Wallet, shown here in black, is a good mid-size EDC wallet.

If you carry cash on your person as part of your Primary EDC (and we hope you do!), you likely carry it in your wallet. Pulling money out of your wallet and paying for goods or services is a normal function of modern-day life.

Carrying cash in your wallet just makes sense. If you’re following a gray man lifestyle, where you have the ability to carry yourself in a state of vagueness or in a condition that draws little to no attention to yourself, you don’t want to be grabbing a burger and have to access your cash anywhere that makes you stand out. Carry a mix of bills, so you can pay for lunch or give a good tip quickly.

Another advantage of having cash in your wallet is theft. The thief will see that you have money and will hopefully take off with it, leaving you and your family unscathed. There are countless stories of immature criminals who not only prey on other people but then get mad when their target doesn’t have what they wanted easily accessible. In their world, debit cards are normally not used. They are (usually) looking for a quick way to get money and the easier you can make it for them to grab and go, the higher the likelihood you can get away with your life.

In your pocket(s)

cash in pants pocket
Keep a folded up bill as part of your EDC, dumping it with the rest of your gear on your nightstand, so the next morning you can remember to put it in your pants pocket.

Having an extra $20 bill (or more, depending on your situation) in your pants pocket gives you backup in case your wallet is lost or stolen. You can use the cash to get home (i.e. if you’ve been carjacked and are literally left with the clothes on your back), to get food/water or to motivate someone to help you out. A money clip, simple paper clip or just a folded up bill can give you the redundancy you need in case your wallet is lost or stolen.

Hidden on your person

Having extra or back-up cash stored throughout your person is something that people practice all over the world.  Google any traveling tips and you’ll find products designed to conceal money and a passport, whether in a waist belt or hidden around your neck. Although these are good options for short-term travel, they’re not as practical for everyday carry. You want a system that you will use in day-to-day life, like going to the grocery store, a sporting event or traveling domestically. 

Ideas to practically disperse cash around your body include:

$20 or $50 Bill on your keychain

cash carried on keychain
The Jepsen LeatherGoods Slim Pocket key ring, shown here in saddle tan, is designed to carry cash on your keychain.

Whether in a cache or keychain specifically designed for emergencies, like the Jepsen Leather Goods Keychain, having cash with your keys allows for good diversification in carrying money. Yes, you could lose your keys or have them stolen, but it’s an item our subconscious does a good job keeping track of.

If you can make sure that you always have back-up money with your car/house keys, then you will likely be able to count on it as a good and redundant option.

Behind your cell phone case

cash hidden behind iphone case
An iPhone case hides cash without any extra weight or bulk.

Similar to keys, our subconscious does a good job keeping up with our phone. Not surprisingly,  a 2015 study found that over 95% of American’s have their phone with them at all times (which is not necessarily a good thing). A folded up bill is not even noticeable when kept here. 

Under the insole of your shoe

cash hidden beneath insole of redwing boot
Not meant to be taken out and used often, but it’s a good way to hide money.

Going a little James Bond here, but this location works well if you find yourself wearing the same shoes every day (i.e. your work boots) because you can put it here and forget it. 

Make sure you keep your footwear dry, but if you can’t, cutting a Ziplock bag to size can give your money a bit of protection. If you do need to access the hidden money, make sure you find a safe place out of sight to take your shoes off.

Sweatband of your ball cap

cash hidden in sweat band of a ball cap
This Mountain Khaki’s ball cap makes a good summer hiding spot for your cash.

This is a great option for weekends or summer days where your clothing could be a little light. An extra bill tucked into the sweatband of your ball cap can come in handy.

Extra clothing pockets

Cash in a zippered front pocket of shirt.
Cash in a zippered front pocket.

We’re seeing more and more men’s casual clothing having additional pockets, which are all great places to stash a few bills. Sunglasses pockets, small side pockets, cargo pockets, etc. are all good options depending on the clothing you are wearing.

Secondary EDC

Your Secondary EDC is the gear you have with you and accessible, but not carried on your person. Your Secondary EDC is a critical part of your carry, as it extends out of your immediate pockets and goes into the stuff you take with you as you move about life.

In your car

cash hidden inside wet wipe container
An empty travel wipes container with some dried out wipes, to give it some heft, can be a good way to conceal your cash in your glove box.

A great back-up option if you lose your wallet, having some cash stored in your vehicle can come in handy to get food in a pinch or fill up on gas. Whether you just keep it in an extra wallet in your glove box or try to hide it, like the example we have here, your car is a great place to keep an extra set of

Backpack or briefcase

Maxpedition Fatty Organizer
The Maxpedition Fatty Organizer, shown here in black, holds a lot of “what if” gear. Cash shouldn’t be treated any differently.

If you have an organizer, briefcase, or backpack that you carry as part of your Secondary EDC, it’s a logical place to carry cash. A good back up in case your wallet is stolen or lost.

Extended EDC

Your Extended EDC is any gear you own, regardless of where it’s stored. If it’s not in your Primary or Secondary EDC, it’s in your Extended EDC.

We recommended $1,000 in mixed bills to be stored at home, so let’s figure out how to store that much money.


Cash is stored in an old flashlight in a storage shed.
Cash is stored in an old flashlight in a storage shed. With the flashlight top on and within the mix of miscellaneous lawn equipment, it’s not obvious that money is stored here.

The idea of keeping caches isn’t new, especially if you’re in the preparedness mindset, as they are a great way to diversify your gear. Whether theft, fire or a complete SHTF scenario, it can prevent you from losing everything at once.

Get in that mindset when you think about cash as part of your Extended EDC. Think beyond your home and consider caches on your property or maybe in storage with trusted family members (as long as you always have access to it). The possibilities are endless. 

Throughout your home

cash in a gun safe
Money kept in a gun safe.

There are some good ideas on the internet when it comes to storing cash in your home (here, which talks about 20 places to stash cash at home that is NOT under your mattress) and some really, really bad ideas. Do your research and invest in a quality safe that can withstand theft attempts and fire. But, diversify. If someone has you open up your safe at gunpoint, will you be left with no money?


The key things to keep in mind:

  1. Diversify: Do not store it all in one place. Regardless of if you are looking at your wallet in your Primary EDC, your pocket organizer that’s a part of your Secondary EDC, or your gun safe that is part of your Extended EDC, storing all of your cash in one place is never a good idea
  2. Be redundant: Have a backup or a back up to the backup
  3. Don’t use your cash stores: Unless it’s an emergency, try to keep the cash in your wallet stocked for daily use. If you do use it, make replacing it a priority. Keep the cash in your wallet separate from the minimum amount of emergency cash you try to carry. Pretend it’s not there 

That sums up our 3-part series on carrying cash in all three tiers of your EDC. 

Where do you carry your cash? How to do you change where you carry it, depending on where you’re going, who you’re going with and how long you’ll be gone?

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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