What should be in your wallet?
I used to use my wallet as a mini financial (and life!) filing system. All of my credit cards, a stack of gift cards, and ID were jammed into one side and a month’s worth of receipts were stuffed into another side—with the intent of tracking my spending, yea right! Somewhere floating in the middle were tickets to shows I’d been to, business cards I’d collected and roughly $4 of tattered singles.
I only cleaned out my wallet when it no longer closed and things were flying out at the checkout counter or falling into the abyss I call my purse. When it came time to clean out my wallet, it was like going through a time capsule, reliving nights of dinner and drinks and the time I purchased my beloved riding boots on sale.
My terrible book-keeping and general frustration with an ever increasing messy wallet had me wondering, what should I keep in my wallet? Why is it that some men can carry only a money clip, what are they doing differently? I sat down to think about the necessities and applied some common sense. It wasn’t an easy transition but little by little I got into the habit of keeping my wallet organized. Here is my list of wallet must-haves and probably more importantly, the have-nots.
All you need is enough for a necessary purchase; filling up the car with gas, or a few daily purchases; lunch and a few groceries for tonight’s dinner. Somewhere between $40 and $80 should be all you need. Chances are you will lose your wallet at some point in your life. The cash will be the first thing to go, so don’t carry around an amount of cash that will make or break your monthly budget.
Listen ladies, I know how it is. You have to have choices and the bonus points on this card are doubled on shoe purchases while the points on that card are tripled when you buy groceries. But in the event you lose your wallet, how many cards are in jeopardy? And what funds will you use while you don’t have your lost or stolen credit cards? Two, I repeat, TWO credit cards are all you need to have in your wallet at any given time. Choose two cards from different vendors (for that place that still doesn’t accept American Express) that give you the best rewards. Keep the others at home—you’ll have access to spending in case of an emergency.
Gift cards are great! Like the cell phone, I can’t remember my life before them. But these nifty little cards are essentially cash. They carry no identifying information so if you lose one, you’ve basically given it away to the lucky finder. Only carry a gift card if you know you’re going to use it that day or week. It’s a hard habit to get into—remembering to grab your Target gift card before you head off to the store. But a habit well worth getting into. And one more thing on gift cards, if there is $0 on it or just a few cents, toss it! You don’t need it, you’re not going to reload it, so don’t fool yourself.
While I’m fairly certain that everyone is guilty of carrying receipts around in their wallet (what else do you do with those little scraps of paper besides put old gum in them?) but not only is it not good for your organization but those little pieces of paper carry a lot of identifying information on them; the last four digits of your credit card and often your signature, making it easy for someone to utilize this information to make purchases as you. Don’t throw out your receipts, but have a designated, safe place at home to put them at the end of the day.
These are just a few basics to a skinnier wallet (in a good way!) and peace of mind if ever you should lose it.
How is the state of your wallet? What are your wallet must-haves and what are you guilty of hoarding in your wallet?
Photo Credit: allyou.com