What’s in your wallet?

Your wallet (or purse) is likely one of the items that you probably use on a regular basis. Can you name all the things that are inside of it? How long does it take you to find what you’re looking for? If it’s bursting at the seams or you’re keeping it together with a rubberband, try …

Purging your receipts

…along with the other pieces of paper (post-it notes, business cards, movie stubs). Why overload it with things that you probably won’t remember are in there? If you need to reconcile the receipts before you discard them or remember that phone number you wrote down, take a photo of those items and let go of the paper. And, if you really need that business card, enter it directly in your contacts or save it in your online notebook.

Use digital coupons

If you’re still carrying around store loyalty cards (or paper coupons), they could be taking up much needed space in your wallet. Try using digital coupons or a smart phone app, Passbook (for iPhone), instead. They’re attached to your phone and loyalty number, so you really won’t need those cards (which means you can also let go of the ones for your key chain, too).

Figure out your must-haves

Everyone’s wallet will hold different items based on their unique situation and routines. There’s no right or wrong way to organize your wallet. The right way is the way that works best for you. But, that doesn’t mean that it needs to be stuffed and stretched beyond its limit. Take a minute to figure out what you really need to have in your wallet on a regular basis. For me, one of those things is a book of stamps. It’s probably not typical wallet fare, but I really like having quick access to stamps when I’m running errands (I’ve been known to mail cards when the mood strikes). As you sort through your things, consider how many credit cards you really need to carry and be sure remove your social security card.

Decide if you need a new wallet

Once you’ve decided which things you must always have with you, figure out if you need a new (larger or smaller) wallet that will suit your needs. Instead of forcing many items into a too-small wallet, use one that will comfortably fit everything. The reverse is true, too. If things keep slipping out of your larger wallet or you find you’re not using all the compartments, consider getting a smaller one.

And, before you put everything neatly back in place, make a copy of each item first (remember to update it when you add/remove something). Hopefully, you will never need to refer to it, but it is helpful to have if you lose your wallet or if it is stolen.

Have a spot for an emergency money

Along with your driver’s license or state ID and health insurance card, it’s a great idea to have emergency money in your wallet (a small sum will suffice). If you’ve ever been caught off guard when you realize (too late) a restaurant only accepts cash or your debit card is expired, it’s nice to have that extra money.

What do you have in your wallet that you could remove?

18 Comments for “What’s in your wallet?”

  1. posted by J.P. on

    One non-wallet idea for that emergency money is to keep a tightly folded bill hidden inside your phone’s case. When I had a dumb phone (no case), I kept a $20 under the battery compartment door.

  2. posted by Amy on

    I need to convert my reward cards to be digital. I have a big keyring of them. I have an Android so I looked up the 2 most popular apps for Android – Key Ring and Find Me.

  3. posted by peachfront on

    As a frequent traveler, I can assure you that cluttering your phone or your digital camera’s memory card is IN NO WAY an improvement on cluttering your wallet.

    Emergency cash should not be in frequently pickpocketed items like your phone/phone case or wallet. It defeats the entire purpose.

  4. posted by Dusty @ Wine Logic on

    I put most of my cash in my front pocket, folded to not show if you were looking at my jeans. My wallet only ever has 1’s in it.

  5. posted by bradw on

    I decluttered my wallet a few years ago and couldn’t be happier. Using a Rogue Wallet, I carry a few bills of cash, drivers license, work ID, one credit and one debit card. Rogue Wallets rock!

    * http://www.roguewallet.com/wk.html

  6. posted by Chris on

    Simple. My wallet contains nothing.

    Because I don’t carry a wallet. I got tired of too much crap and minimized.

    Front left pocket gets Driver’s License, a single debit card and my work ID (required). Yes, loose. It has never been an issue and they’re always in there nicely stacked.

    Front right pocket gets my caseless iphone 4S, screen towards my leg.

    My keys are now down to my apartment key and, since I hated the giant key fob Honda provides, the valet key to my CRV on a small ring. That goes in front left with the cards.

    That’s it.

    I never carry cash and it have never missed it.

    My desk at work contains tools, a knife, screwdriver, etc. My car is parked a 50 foot walk from my desk and holds my insurance cards.

    All my loyalty cards are tied to phone number and used trivially. Sam’s Club card is in the glove box, though I spent a year once just getting a temp card at the front desk each time.

    Evernote, fed by a Scansnap, holds copies of absolutely every document I need. This means that I can get to copies of my birth certificate, drivers license, passport, etc. from any browser, or the iPhone app. Currently 744 documents covering about 4000 pages.

    If I didn’t rent I’d get a keypad deadbolt on my door and stop carrying the house key.

    I have done all of the above for more than 18 months and at no point have I ever missed anything. I even used the iPhone to print a scan of my divorce decree out of Evernote on my ex-wife’s Airprint capable printer because she had lost her copy.

    Don’t get more uncluttered than that.

  7. posted by Dave on

    Much like Chris, in his earlier comment, I have about the same: Left front pocket gets my caseless Android phone, right front pocket gets my keys (literally just for my car and front door) and ‘wallet’ which is at the moment a tiny rubber band around my driver’s license, work badge and a single bank card. When I have cash it goes into my left back pocket, change in my right back pocket to be jarred when I get home. Loyalty cards tied to phone number, and my health insurance card lives in a photo on my phone.

    Mine actually came about after accidentally leaving my wallet in my pocket while swimming. While the leather was drying I just decided to minimize, and just never picked it up again.

    I so want to do the scan/evernote thing, but I do not have the time or energy, nor a working scanner. =0(

  8. posted by susan on

    My zip wallet has my DL, debit card, AMEX card and usually $20 or less. A lot of times I don’t even carry a purse. If I need a purse then I use the zip wallet, phone, car key and house key.

    I like the idea of keypad deadbolt. Is there a back up key just in case of failure or any reason not to change over to that?

    I like scanning in loyalty cards as well.

  9. posted by DawnF on

    Amy ~ Key Ring is GREAT for storing all of the rewards cards/info. I use it quite often. Oh, and you can easily share the info with another person (spouse?).

  10. posted by Henave on

    Unfortunately, I have been robbed multiple times over the years in different ways so I am a safety fanatic. Before our last big trip,I bought a travel-oriented “purse” (it looks more like a really small travel bag, but has a strap you can wear over across your body). It doesn’t hold too much more than a small, flat wallet (I used a flat RFID blocking card case), phone,maps and a small snack. The safety features were great- both of the zippers had a locking clip they attached to that prevented pick-pocketing and the strap would be difficult for someone to rip or slash. Of course, if someone really wanted my bag I’ll let them have it, but I don’t want them to sneak off with it!

  11. posted by infmom on

    My wallet has money (paper and coin), my bus card, a photo of my kids taken 15 years ago and a photo of my grandmother. That’s it.

    I carry my driver’s license, library card, debit card and one or two others in a metal cigarette case. RFID protection and a built-in guarantee I’ll never stuff it too full, all in one.

  12. posted by Shelby on

    I recently joined simple.com … with their credit/debit card, they sent my favorite wallet ever. It’s a piece of cardboard, lazer cut slightly larger than a credit card, with a rubberband around it. One side says CARDS and the other CASH. I’ve been using it for more than 4 months already and it’s barely showing any signs of wear. Previously I used a small binder clip, but it was more uncomfortable to sit on.

  13. posted by GadgetBoy on

    +1 on KeyRing for Android. My wife and I are able to share rewards cards easily across our phones.

    +++1 on Evernote. My life is slowly transitioning to Evernote and I love it. Having everything sortable is awesome.

    While researching “Go Bags” recently I found a great idea – print a small page (possibly laminate it) containing important phones numbers and keep it in your wallet. Who remembers phones numbers any more? Everything is stored on your phone. What happens if you lose your phone and have to use a PAYPHONE?

    I haven’t done it yet, but I plan on it soon.

    Other than that, my wallet is simple. Metro Cards (NYC), Driver’s license, couple of credit/debit cards – that’s about it. My wallet also has a money clip on the side. I have had a wallet like this for a while and like it alot.

  14. posted by dovk0802 on

    For extra cash, I don’t worry about high drama of being robbed. I’m more concerned with the article issues of the card/system failure or a business that only takes cash & similarly vending machines, and the opportunity to give someone else money; where I’ve worked there have been collections taken up for births, funerals, etc. So, I carry four bills: $100 $20 $5 & a $1 together all folded in thirds tucked behind an ID. I’ve used each & appreciated the convenience insurance.

    For wallets, the three I rotate between depending on what I’m wearing/doing are from: http://www.bigskinny.net

  15. posted by Gypsy Packer on

    I use a wallet case for an iPod Touch. I carry a prepaid debit card, tyrant-state docs in slots, and emergency money in the back. In theory, I could scan the ID and debit card into an app. In practice, one prepaid was hacked and cleaned out so I just keep the card. Phone is an employer phone so I have to carry it. This keeps boundaries between work and personal data very clear. Personal docs are scanned to computer only; I had my identity stolen in childhood and the thieves are still alive.
    I have to carry medications and have my own shopping bags (Reuseit.com, check out their Workhorse line!) so the purse, with keychain and Leatherman multi-tool, is essential.

  16. posted by Rae Tardif on

    I just absolutely love this blog. Wonderful!

    Men – the one thing you all have on us ladies is pockets. All your pants have pockets. Many of our pants and most of our skirts don’t have pockets.

    Also, I am absolutely miserable unless I have cherry chap stick available to me at all times.

  17. posted by Lewis Walsh on

    I use a Jimi wallet which forces me to be selective in what I carry. I carry an Oyster card (London public transport), my drivers license, my NHS (health) card, one debit card and one credit card.

  18. posted by ASL on

    Thanks for the tips, I used some of them when I stripped my wallet recently 🙂


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