Monday, November 18, 2013

Bulging Wallet?

Bulging Wallet Cure

Who doesn't love a bit of Seinfeld?!

If your wallet is anything like George Costanza's wallet, then this post is for you. And don't lie, you know your wallet looks like that, if not worse! Funny thing about wallets is, they symbolically represent our finances yet they are often the most disorganized items that we own. Is this is hint at a bigger problem? Maybe, or maybe not. One thing I know for sure is, that you want to be organized when it comes to your wallet. I have a friend (sorry for using you as an example, buddy) who has the funniest habits when it comes to wallets. She simply stuffs everything in and often has a hard time finding what she is looking for, or worse, loses or misplaces cards and important financial information. She is my inspiration for this post and I hope others who suffer from the same messy wallet syndrome are able to find this post useful. 

Let us take a look at what a conventional wallet might contain. People keep bank cards, credit cards, rewards cards, library card,  gift cards, IDs, (car and health) insurance information, cheques, receipts, money (bills and coins), coupons, stamps, movie tickets, passport, pictures, city transportation cards, business cards (personal and ones they have received), and other miscellaneous items that might fit into a wallet (I used to carry toothpicks and bandaids at one point). Now, this seems a bit much to me. I was always under the impression that wallets were for money and plastic cards, not for your medical, cosmetic, etc emergencies. If you are ever bored, do an Internet search of "what's in my wallet" and you'd be surprised at the stuff people carry around with them. Wallets have a simple purpose and we are overburdening them with our inability to control and organize ourselves. Let's change this!

I find it useful to keep only a few items in my wallet- my state ID, bank card, credit card (if you have one), money (bills and coins), health insurance card, and library card. That's it. That is all I carry in my wallet. If I receive a receipt I will keep it there until I can get home and then put it into my receipt file (I confirm that my bank statements are correct online). It wasn't always like this...oh no... I used to carry EVERYTHING in my wallet. It was pretty ridiculous but I am glad I took control. Now some of you are probably confused and think this is a joke but it isn't and here's why.

Things you don't need in your wallet and why:
1. Too many credit cards: too many credit cards mean you are more likely to be irresponsible with money. I personally believe 2 credit cards is the maximum someone should have. If you don't have the money for it, then don't buy it. :)
2. Rewards cards: almost all rewards cards can be looked up through the company's cash register system. All large or national stores/pharmacies/etc. have this information stored in their system. All you need to provide is a phone number or an email address. This means, you don't need to carry your rewards cards with you. There are some exceptions to this rule (e.g. some supermarkets or stores require to see your card) but in general this rule applies. 
3. Gift cards: they are like money, but in electronic form. I believe you should carry gift cards in a separate pouch with coupons on specific days that you dedicate to shopping. This way you don't lose them or don't unnecessarily spend money. If you must carry them, then leave them in your purse or your car. Don't clutter your wallet. 
4. Car insurance information: I don't own a car, but I think it would be a good idea to leave this is your car. 
5. Cheques: I don't know anyone who pays with cheques anymore, but in the case you do, you should have a separate checkbook to house your cheques. Most people do not use them, but if you want to have your bank/account information on hand I suggest getting the business card of the personal banker who helped you open your account and writing your bank's routing number and account number on the back of the card for reference and keeping that in your wallet instead of keeping cheques. Just make sure not to lose that because it's very sensitive information. 
6. Receipts: Don't hoard all your receipts in your wallet. Dedicate a compartment to receipts and empty every now and again. This will help eliminate bulk.
7. All the coins you have: Coins are SO bulky. Only keep a few at hand. I have a coin jar and every now and again pick up a few to have in my wallet. 
8. Coupons: again, these add bulk to your wallet. You don't even use them on a regular basis. I suggest a different pouch for these and to use them on dedicated shopping days. If you shop a lot, leave it in your car or in your purse.  
9. Stamps: I can see why people keep stamps in their wallet, but unless you send off letters often, there is no need. Plus, they get damaged in wallets. 
10. Movie tickets: If you are going to a movie today then by all means toss your ticket in your wallet, but don't keep pre-bought tickets for any event in your wallet all the time. You will lose them. 
11. Passport: Unless you are an foreigner who needs a passport on hand at all times to establish your identity, there is no need to have this in your wallet or purse. You will lose it or damage it. 
12. Numerous pictures: A picture here or there is fine, but if you have your whole family tree in there, it's time to downsize. 
13. City transportation cards: You know, it would make sense to keep these in your wallet, but I have a better suggestion. I don't like the idea of having to reach into my wallet to grab my transpiration card. What if something else falls out and I don't notice? What if someone runs up to me and steals my wallet while I am trying to pass through the turn stall? There are a ton of what ifs! I suggest using a clear case to keep and preserve your card. Place this somewhere accessible so when you reach into your pocket or purse you can quickly access it. 
14. Business cards: If you carry personal business cards, keep them in a business card holder. Nothing is more unprofessional than someone fumbling through their over stuffed wallet to hand you a bent business card. If you received someone else's card, it's ok to temporarily house it in your wallet but make sure to take it out when you get home and place it somewhere safe where you can access it if you need it. 
15. Miscellaneous items: don't carry pens, bandaids, etc in your wallet. Those have to have a home outside of the wallet. 

Additional tip: Your wallet choice significantly impacts the organization of your wallet. Try to choose something with card slots and at least 3 compartments- one for case, one for receipts, and one zippered compartment for coins.

Sort through your wallet! It'll do wonders for you. Next time you are at Target you won't be fumbling through hoards of receipts, credit cards, bandaids, tickets, and other unnecessary wallet parasites to complete your purchase. :) Good luck!


  1. "Next time you are at Target you won't be fumbling through hoards of receipts, credit cards, bandaids, tickets, and other unnecessary wallet parasites to complete your purchase. :) Good luck!"

    And what if you have the Target Debit Card, which saves you 5% on your purchases there? Only care it when going to Target or carry it all the time? It's not like a rewards card that they can look up. The same goes for many store charge cards. Leave at home unless shopping there?

    1. That's a fair question to ask. If you are an avid Target shopper then by all means keep your card on you. I would however suggest keeping it in a separate pouch in your car (if you drive one) or in your wallet on designated shopping days. You wouldn't believe how much money we spend during unplanned shopping sprees. Every time I walk into Rite Aid, with the purpose of getting one item, I walk out with 7 things! If I have a list and just one shopping day (obviously this can be flexible now and again) I am less likely to spend so much money. So I would defly suggest leaving your card at home, unless you've looked at the online circulars and made up a shopping list and are ready to go to a store and use that card. This goes for store credit cards and debit cards!