Do you have an annoyingly large wallet? Well if it’s full of money, you don’t have much of a problem, but most people can say that money is not an issue. In this technologically advanced world, our currency is mainly in the form of plastic (credit/debit cards); adding all of these cards can result into a massive wallet.
An average wallet generally contains money, cards (financial, business and memberships/ ids) and receipts. Recently, I have been tackling the problem of the ‘fat wallet’ and have been looking for some form of remedy to counter this. Through my research I have come up with a few solutions that should help a lot.
Let’s take care of the cards first. In a modern wallet they cause the largest problems. Wallets come with many little slots for credit cards, identity cards and rewards/membership cards. The problem with this design is that the slots separate cards by putting a piece of leather or cloth in between each card, effectively doubling the thickness of your cards. What I have done to combat this problem, is to sort cards into groups.
Groups ( In my case - yours may differ):
- Loyalty cards
- Identity cards
Each of these groups were then sorted into piles of commonly used and periodically used cards. During this, I also found a few that I no longer used (remember Blockbuster?) or did not need to have always.
I found that there were only two Bank cards that I used regularly. Others were "just in case" access cards. I put the two into the slots and made a pile of the others.
I found three loyalty cards, one air miles and the other two were for gas stations. All of the rest were stores that I rarely visit or services that I barely use. For example, I have a loyalty card for my local movie theatre. I do not go there often and even when I do, I plan ahead of time, or buy tickets online. So there is no need to carry around a card, when I can just take it with me when I have plans to go.
The cards that I used on a regular basis were placed back into a slot. Others that I was not able to part with, were put into a pile and put into the large slot, usually located behind each of the slotted sections. All that I did not need on a regular basis were removed into a safe location at home. I could already see a big difference with the size of my wallet. Now I move onto the next stage.
The next most important thing in your wallet is physical currency. I took all of the money (bills and coins) out of my wallet. The bills were then separated from the coins. I ordered the bills by value and put them back into the wallet. I generally keep very little currency in my wallet. It will ensure minimal loss, in case the wallet is lost. -- More on this later.
I rarely use coins, so they piled up on my table. I sorted the coins into two piles. One pile containing coins worth 25 cents and more. The other with coins that were less. I took the pile with less coins and put them into my piggy bank ( yeah I still have one ;) ). I took a few of each from the other pile and also put the rest into the piggy bank.
I, however, did not put those coins back into the wallet because they are too bulky. Instead, I keep them separately in my side pockets incase I need them. Keeping coins in the wallet is not a good idea. They make the wallet much larger and can damage the magnetic strip on the cards, due to constant pressure and side-to-side movement. Many banks also provide the service of coin to bill exchange, free for their clients. Coins should not be a big problem anymore.
The Business Cards
If you are like me and do a lot of networking, you will have a lot of business cards. In some cases, you may not ever need them again, but you never know, so you hold on to them. Not only do they take a lot of room, but they are also hard to organize and find when you need one.
It's time to take a step into the modern age. I have decided that these cards take too much room. So I took each of them and added the details to a contact on my phone. Modern phones allow you to create groups and sort your contacts, so I made a group for "Business Cards", I set this group to not show up along my regular contacts. If I ever need them, I can easily search for the contact, using the name or other details like tags. I can now safely leave those pesky cards at home, or recycle them (if not needed). As with all my other contacts, the details will also be backed up to the cloud by my mobile device for safe keeping.
Finally, let's address those pesky receipts. Receipts are a great record of a financial transaction but, those pieces of paper are sure good at piling up. Receipts are important, if you ever need proof of a transaction for the purpose of returns/refunds , taxes or even just as a personal reference. In any case, a wallet should not be a permanent place for your receipts, since they tend to fade overtime.
I have found a good solution for this problem. In many cases, a photocopy or image of the original receipt is just as acceptable as the original. So you can take out your phone, snap a picture of the receipts (or use a scanner for higher resolution) and dispose of them or keep them at home in a safe location (use your judgment on disposal or keeping them). Modern phones also have the capability to tag and sort images, so it can easily be searched for later, of you ever need them. Services like Dropbox and Google Drive will also automatically sync them with the cloud so you will never lose them.
As I mentioned earlier, I have also taken some precautions. When you carry around something every day, there is a greater chance of misplacing it, or having it stolen. So I urge you to take some or all of these precautions that I usually take:
Make a list of all items that are regularly in your wallet. If it is lost, you will know what items you need to replace and what accounts you need to inform of loss.
Try to use different PIN numbers for all cards. It will prevent a lot of loss, if even one PIN is compromised.
Do not carry a lot of cash on hand. If the wallet is lost, you will not lose much and cards by themselves are much more secure and will provide you enough time to inform them of loss.
Having backups of Receipts and Business cards will make sure you do not lose them for good, and also backup your backups!
Optionally, have photocopies of all items so you have them for reference (Card Numbers for when you are calling to report of stolen material).
Warning! Some modern copiers keep images in memory for convenience. Make sure you erase the memory if that is the case or use an other device.
I hope this has helped you make some positive changes to your wallet, both in size and security. It has sure helped me. If there is anything else that you think would be beneficial, please leave them in the comments and I will add them.