What’s in Your Wallet?

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Are you one of those women who wish you could manage with a small purse as opposed to carrying around the handbag equivalent of a steamer trunk?  Could you possibly imagine walking out the door without your make-up, meds, snacks, glasses, writing journals and many other essentials available at your fingertips? A second bag that serves as a tote can offload some of the bulkier items like lunches and novels, but would you be comfortable stashing keys, wallets and mobile phones in a carry-all that you can’t securely close. If you are determined to downsize the size of your purse to something that won’t have you running to the chiropractor for treatments, we recommend that you do a critical inspection of your wallet.

Think back to a time, not so long ago, when you purchased your current wallet.  Do you remember what it looked like before it became the swollen article approximating the girth of a stuffed Cornish game hen? What became of that sleek leather rectangle? It helps to examine the contents.

There are three major categories of wallet CRUD responsible for the overload, none of  which unfortunately  is too much cash. Open the wallet and count the numbers of slots are allotted to plastic cards. Fifteen or more is not uncommon. Every financial institution, every retailer, health care provider and every airline wants its brand of plastic tucked inside your billfold.  Couple that with your various forms of identification proving who you are, your memberships and your loyalty/discount cards.  You could also be carrying a couple of the ubiquitous gift cards for dinners, movies or downloads available for purchase on check-out lines.

Not all of the cards are made of plastic.  Many organizations still use punch cards to track purchases from lattes to Pilates classes. Transit passes are often cardboard based.  Lottery, theater and raffle tickets are paper too. All of these slip into wallets, as well.

The third kind of wallet stuffer is the most unruly.  Receipts just happen to go anywhere there is room in a crowded wallet, including the change purse.  We are conditioned to accept receipts whether we need them or not.  For business people many receipts are reimbursable and thus represent future cash. Organized people save credit card receipts to match with their statements.  It always pays to save receipts for high-ticket items and those other warrantee.  Keeping dental and medical receipts should be kept for obvious reasons. But what about a good deal of the others?  Do you need to keep the receipts for ATM withdrawals, a diet Coke from a convenience store or a dry cleaning receipt for clothing you have already picked up?  In our book, you don’t.

CRUD Challenge

This exercise can be accomplished in no time flat.  Remove all the contents of your wallet and commence to categorize them. How many different supermarkets do you a visit in a week?  Is it necessary to have a card with you for every one?  The same applies to multiple department store cards. Have you checked the expiration dates on your health insurance or automobile club membership cards?  You may even have duplication there as well.  How many Starbucks cards can you find in your wallet that all have between 19 and 57 cents unredeemed on them? Do you have school photos of your kids from second grade?  Put the important cards and documents in a safe place that you can remember. Carry on with the rest making sure that the Costco card does not accidently fail to be returned to the wallet.

Then, turn your attention to those little, white, illegible strips with the faded writing.  Deciphering the receipts may require strong light or enlisting the assistance of person with young eyes.  If the receipts are important file and save them.  If they seem marginal to you, then shred or recycle. Now  you can start thinking about migrating to a smaller handbag, but not before you do some editing on the rest of the bulk.

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